When was the last time you checked out? I mean, completely disconnected yourself from every form of technology distraction in your life? Have you ever done that? And perhaps the better question, would you even consider doing something so outrageous?
I recently participated in a personal experiment:
For one whole week eliminate social media (yes- all of them), news, reading, and television.
Why in the world would someone do that? Great question.
I did it mainly to see if I actually could. I also did this to see how much time I actually commit (waste) to scrolling. I was almost more curious about what I could accomplish without the time vortex black hole of social media and similar distractions. What was I really capable of? What was I missing by filling countless minutes invested in the faraway lives of social media acquaintances?
This experiment is something I've previously dabbled with and I think that every one should too. Think of it like a challenge. Give yourself one week, or not. It's up to you but you may blow your own damned mind if you do.
This time I deleted it all with the support of friends. A book that we are reading suggested something similar so we dove in, reluctantly, head first. It was not our first choice, you know, "the timing is bad," "I have job responsibilities," " it's important to know what's going on," and more "blah blah blah..." You get the idea, we fought it. All of us. Eventually we got the fight out of us and surrendered to the process.
It wasn't easy. Some days were harder than others. I was cranky, a lot. I sent texts in book form to my fellow media droppers trying to c o n n e c t. On more than one occasion I picked up my phone and placed my thumb where that cute little camera icon app used to be, out of habit. Yikes. I did other things I'm not proud of. I probably drank too much to compensate for all the feelings I was being forced to feel. Woah. It was a wild ride, y'all and I can't say I'm exactly thrilled by my experience or behavior during it.
Now that I've made it to the other side, a full seven days without the shit, I can finally say this, I am so proud of myself for staying the course. Nothing worth while comes easily, right? Well this was no exception.
What else did I learn? I thought you'd never ask.
I learned that I spend ALOT of time on social media and the similar, distracting my mind from what is really happening in MY life. I have a to-do list a mile long so I log in to Facebook and waste an hour because I can. I learned that I can be really productive. And creative. And a little bit crazy when left to my own devices. I learned that there are far better ways to spend my time. I learned that without those distractions I listened more, I thought more and it's almost as though I cared more about shit that actually matters. I definitely felt more, even when I didn't want to and that may be my biggest take away.
I missed a lot! I would have never known it was National Woman's Day last Thursday if a friend hadn't told me. I would have missed some birthdays but lets be real, without Facebook, I only really know like five people's birthdays. I probably missed our President doing something else shocking. I'm sure I missed someone's kid being extra cute. I'd put money down that I missed a lot of amazingly flexible and bendy yogis striking a pose or thirty. I missed someone ranting about something that matters to them and a lot of others ranting about shit that doesn't matter to anyone. I was so out of the loop I didn't realize it was Daylight Savings until like 2pm on Sunday-- I thought we had lost power.
My point in recapping all of the breaking news that I missed last week is to point out that I'm still here. I'm still relevant. I didn't waste away. And even though I missed a lot, I didn't really miss anything at all.
What did I do with all that free discovered time? I journaled. I went hiking. I went on a road trip. I colored. I went on more walks with Pip than I can count. I spent time with friends. I cooked. I worked on designs for our new house. I spent time with my favorite person. I cleaned. I cleared space within myself to make room for what's important. I got rid of some emotional baggage. I dealt with mood swings. I felt emotions that I would ordinarily cover up.
You may think I'm crazy for writing this or doing this or maybe you already believed that to be true. Regardless, I urge you to consider for just a moment, what it would be like to eliminate those distractions from your life? We all take care of our devices, we charge them, we update them and when all else fails we turn them completely off to reset them. Has it ever occurred to you that you may need the same thing?
Set reset for yourself. Turn yourself off so that when you are on you are presenting the best version of you.