If any of you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that at 12:01am on January 1, 2020, I went off social media for the month of January.
I decided on New Years Eve that I would delete all of my social media apps for the next 30 days, mainly for clarity, and to make a big life transition without feeling any pressure to post immediate updates. I also didn’t want to feel any pressure to show anything amazing. By that I mean photos of me smiling while having a brand new adventure.
Truth be told, my first three weeks in Dublin have been pretty unexciting overall, which is exactly what I’ve wanted and expected. But, I knew that I would’ve had to have presented something different on social media. I felt like I would need to show that I immediately hit the ground running from day one, making new friends and taking the city by storm.
That might happen one day, but I’ve got time.
I only gave myself one rule: delete all of my social media apps from my phone and remove my social media bookmarks from my web browsers from January 1 – January 30. The only app that is considered to be social media that I kept was Facebook messenger. Since I was moving to a new country, I needed a way to keep in contact with people that may not have WhatsApp.
The first day of this challenge went by with little notice to the fact that I no longer had my apps. And maybe it was because New Years Day was kind of busy. The second day went by the same way.
It was the third day that got me. In any other situation, I probably would’ve been fine. But on this day, I was traveling back to North Carolina from upstate New York. In a full car. For 12 hours.
I can sleep in cars. But only for about an hour at a time. On the car ride up, it was so easy for me to just pull up Facebook or Instagram and lose around 30 minutes from scrolling and occasionally double-tapping to like someone’s photo.
A photo I probably wouldn’t remember the next day.
But the car ride back was different. I had nothing to mindlessly scroll through. So, I watched a movie. I read a lot. I played my favorite video game.
I ended up having a nice time.
At the start of the ride, I missed social media. By the end of it, I didn’t care that it was gone.
This attitude persisted for the rest of the 30 days.
Sure, there were some people from whom I missed seeing updates. One of my closest friends got engaged and I didn’t find out until later, because I missed the Instagram post. Some friends got new jobs or moved cities and I missed it.
But I also noticed that I was able to find out about these things because I actually picked up the phone and made contact with these friends that wasn’t in the form of a comment.
This is a very winded way of saying that I enjoyed my time off from social media. I have been back on for around a day now, and I’ve only checked it twice. It’s a great way of staying connected to people. But, it shouldn’t be something we base our time on. We should focus on doing other things, like actually talking to people face-to-face, or over the phone if we can’t.
Overall, I am glad I did it. I would do it again. And I recommend that everyone give it a try. Maybe not for a whole month like I did, but give it at least a week.
Sometimes a break is nice!