New Year means new beginnings, and another year of resolutions that (if you’re anything like me), you will mostly forget for the year and complete them as a happy accident (I’m looking at you 2018 resolutions).
This year, I did many of my standard resolutions like how many countries I want to see, the language course I want to complete (and have been saying I’d complete for 5 years), SKYDIVING (another one I’ve been saying I’d complete forever), and overall just being happy and learning to be more accepting of myself, my circumstances, and anything that comes my way.
But here’s where I decided to switch it up: I decided that in addition to a resolution, I wanted to challenge myself in this new year. I’m sure I’m not the only human being that has woken up on New Year’s day cringing over the snapchat/insta story of you screaming the lyrics to Piano Man on a stage at a pub. No? Just me? In any case, this caused me to begin to reflect on how much I use social media.
Given that I am trying to be more mindful this year as well, I asked myself why it is that this was such a large part of my day. My routine was wake up, check the likes on my last post, check who viewed my story, watch other people’s stories. Public Transport? Oh well, time to scroll through twitter. Sight seeing? Have to snapchat that. Feeling awkward? Let’s see who else got engaged over the holidays on Facebook.
I came to the conclusion that what I’m trying to do through my social media usage is involuntarily compare myself to others, and then consistently post and check who saw it for validation. When you’re that brutally honest with yourself, you know it’s time for a change. What better time to do that than the first month of 2019, while I’m living and exploring a beautiful city that deserves my full attention.
I’ve highlighted a few key moments for you guys below of how this experience felt for me.
Day 1: The morning was great considering I felt like I had so much time in the morning to get shit done now that I wasn’t spending an hour on my phone. I used that time to actually put on some make-up (I KNOW. SHOCK HORROR.), and was immediately hit with the reality that I couldn’t snapchat my make-up guru sister for her approval. Here we go.
Day 2: I was hit with the urge to check who had replied to my story announcing my disappearance from all forms of social media. (VALIDATION HOW ARE YOU!) Thank goodness I FaceTimed my sister so she could talk me down from it.
Day 3: Realized that I need to promote my blog somehow. Shout out if you got here through the ever so loyal Sasha, or Katie, or anyone else who helped me out during my detox!
Day 8: Y’all, I think this was rockbottom. I was in desperate need of a rant. Everyone has heard me talk about the struggles of time differences, but the larger struggle here was the person I wanted to rant about lives right next door to me. All I wanted was to hop on social media and tweet about it, or put it on my finsta. Instead, I resorted to faking a phone call on the street and just talking as if my good friend was actually on the line. I KNOW. I’M LOSING IT.
Day 13: Met a cute boy. He asked to add me on Snapchat. I didn’t want to sound too complicated right from the get go, so I told him I don’t really use it. Then he asked for my FaceBook or Instagram. Cover blown. Had to explain the whole situation. He labelled me as a “New Year’s Resolution Hippy”. We’re doing great.
Day 20: Had the world’s most perfect day exploring the city, and- HERE COMES THE SHOCKER- I had no desire to put it on any social media! Not once! My phone even died and I whipped out my book and read at a cafe with no care in the world. This could be a turning point.
Day 22: My sister’s birthday. It was so so so hard not to hop on and make a quick birthday post, but for now, a well written text, a phone call, and a Venmo will have to suffice.
Day 30: Y’ALL MY FREAKING PHONE KICKED THE BUCKET OUT OF NOWHERE. DOES THIS MEAN I’M NOT MEANT TO GO BACK TO SOCIAL MEDIA??
Overall, I think this experiment taught me so much about myself. I would compare it to teaching a baby how to self-soothe (yes. I did just compare myself to an infant.). I would also say that an incredible thing to come from this was how much more I was able to connect with my loved ones. It was so wonderful to have to FaceTime, or text, or catch up in person to know what’s going on. Our conversations were filled with stories that were new to all of us, because we couldn’t say we had seen it on social media.
At the same time, I don’t think that social media has to be the devil. I realized that I also use social media as an outlet and a way for me to voice my accomplishments, frustrations, successes, and failures. Sometimes, when you live a life like mine with lots of alone time, it’s nice to be able to voice everything you’re feeling in hopes that literally anyone might listen. Just as long as you don’t place value on whether or not someone does.
Did I miss it as much as I thought I would? Not really. Am I happy to be back? Well, I’m neutral. I definitely think my usage will be cut drastically, but I don’t think I’m ready to go offline for good.
The lesson: You are more thank your likes and DM’s, and the only person you have to prove that to is yourself.
Stay kind x