Fancy seeing you here.
I would by lying if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous to be back on social media, after a summer without it.
I feel a bit like a child that has been grounded from the car and finally gets to drive, or an addict that is let back into a party scene after an alcohol recovery, or like I’ve walked into a Thanksgiving feast after starving on an island for months.
Yes, I’m sure I sound a tad dramatic, but after spending everyday on Facebook for the past ten years, that’s just how it feels. I’m cautious, hesitant and taking it all in. I’ve learned so much about myself that I can hardly put it all into words – especially in one blog – so just know that this is not the only time I’ll write about this here on my new blog. I thought I’d be writing on my blog this summer, at least, but when I decided to walk away from social media, I couldn’t bring myself to have any tie to the computer.
In fact, I even let my huge project and new non-profit (Parent Advocacy Council and The Parent Tribe) slip away from my consciousness; something I’ve worked tirelessly on for several years now. But you know what? It felt good and it felt right. My mind has become more clear and focused without all the chatter that used to fill every day, as I was in any line, in the bathroom, while I did homework with my kids, on date nights, during church, at stop lights and any other place you can imagine.
Now you get ready to gasp at my usage, I would challenge you to look around. The more I lifted my head and stared into my kids’ eyes, the more I saw parents everywhere that gave more attention and love to their pocket world than to their own children. I saw kids find their happiness, connection, and love from the latest app *hit*. I saw couples longingly gazing into other people’s lives while they were “bonding” at the restaurant table. I could go on and on, but I won’t you get the picture I’m painting because you’ve seen it, too.
I wish I could say that social media was ALL good or ALL bad, but I can’t. What I found is that it is neither. In fact, social media has felt more like an extension of my body, a third arm that has been removed. The arm isn’t good or bad, it just is a tool to carry out what is most important to you. And honestly, being away from Facebook, instagram, snapchat, and my blog, I realized that I mostly used my ‘tool’ to do a lot of good and I it was amputated – leaving me powerless to spread good things going on in the community or worthwhile projects my friends could be a part of. I also fell into a depression when I should have been gleeful and feeling free, I felt lonely and isolated. Yes, of course, I can hear you thinking… I had my husband and children around, I had wonderful experiences in breathtaking places this summer, but I was so used to the constant stimulation from my “friends” that somehow it still didn’t feel like enough.
I am not saying this is healthy – in fact, I believe that we are all so used to instant gratification with everything in our lives – even “likes” that we base many more decisions on them than we realize. I wasn’t so worried if my hair was “done” for a selfie, I didn’t care if my house wasn’t perfectly picked up (in the background) of my pictures and I often even lost my phone, without even realizing it for hours. At the same time, I missed out on important life events of loved ones and I didn’t have a constant giggle in my mind of the latest meme or video I had seen that gave me a good laugh.
It was quiet and I was alone with my thoughts.
This can be good or bad, and I can tell you that I experienced both on an extreme level. I’m actually brought to tears a bit thinking about it – and to be honest, I’m actually headed to see a personal counselor for the first time, for myself, to work though all the things I’ve pushed out of my head for so long. So you see, this has been a serious thing for me.
One night I was alone in our cabin in our cabin near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it was pitch black. Jon had stayed back in Utah for a few days after I left and so I text him.
“Jon! DUDE! What are you doing?!”
“Well, it’s dark and I’m alone, and all the kids are asleep. What did you do today? Who did you see? Did work go well? Did that guy come by the office? Where are you going next?” etc.etc.etc. and any of you that know Jon well, also know that he is NOT a texter, and he text…
“How long until you get back on Facebook?” and we both laughed.
You see, Facebook is me – I am Facebook. It is where my friends and family really are, but it’s not really there with you. The people who make up your family are ‘there’ and Facebook is a fun pastime that brings me so much joy, but it can’t take the place of living, breathing, human interaction and love. It has to be a tool that is used when it’s needed, even everyday if it must, but like any tool it has to be put away in the toolbox. We don’t sleep with our hammers and power tools – at least I don’t. We use them for entertainment, a project, a goal…to create something beautiful or that makes us happy – and then we lock it up and sleep in the house it built. We enjoy it as an addition to our life – not as our life.
So on that note, I say goodbye for today. I’m off to create and live in my world. I’m feel so blessed to have this tool of a blog so I can share my thoughts, for myself, to gain clarity – but now I will put it away and move on. I’m so glad you’re here and I pray you have a wonderful day!
ps. Oh, and those darling little sweeties in the picture? They are my granddaughters and I missed them more than anything when I couldn’t see them everyday on social!!!