It’s kind of odd to be an almost-thirty year old woman and NOT have social media… but that’s me, kind of odd!
I used to be a big fan of Facebook and Instagram. I felt like I had this great community of friends who I could lean on, turn to for advice, and celebrate with.
That’s not really what I had, though.
When my husband and I decided to take a break from social media last summer, I totally thought I’d be keeping in touch with most of my 100+ friends.
We couldn’t message on Facebook or the ‘gram anymore, but surely we would text each other and get together more often.
The number of “friends” I’ve intentionally spoken to or seen in the past year can be counted on one hand. And that’s okay! But it’s also eye-opening.
When I first deactivated my Facebook account, I felt so lonely. My community was gone! The immediate access to others’ ideas, opinions, knowledge, and praise was lost.
I couldn’t just ask 100 people if they knew what time the park opens on Tuesdays anymore. Or what they thought the bumps on my daughter’s arm could be. Which paint color would look better in my kitchen. Or what book I should read next.
It was a whole new world! At first it was almost scary, but then it became freeing.
Now, I don’t miss social media at all.
Because leaving social media helped me realize how dependent I was on the opinions of others.
I needed people to approve of the things I was doing, through a computer screen or otherwise.
When I was on social media, I would take twenty pictures of the same thing, trying to get the most socially-approved shot. If it didn’t quickly get likes or comments, I’d consider taking it down. I needed people to like it!
How could I let a birthday or anniversary pass without sharing a well-planned sentiment? I couldn’t… I needed people to tell me I was a good mother/wife.
Leaving social media helped me achieve a new level of independence. Free thinking. Self-awareness.
It also brought three other really great things into my life…
On Facebook, I had over 100 “friends” that I interacted with on a regular basis. We exchanged ideas, celebrated accomplishments, and encouraged each other every day. I felt like I really knew these “friends” and could tell you what was going on in their lives. However, when I saw some of these “friends” in real-life, I usually felt odd approaching them. Sometimes, I found myself trying to just flat-out avoid them! I often wondered what was wrong with me. If these were my “friends,” shouldn’t I be excited to see them? The problem, I later realized, is online friendships aren’t always exactly the same as real-life friendships.
Now, I have about five real-life, strong friendships. Friends I talk to and/or see at least once a month. Friends from different walks of life, different experiences, and different levels of social media activity. 🙂 Seeing them, unexpectedly, in a store brings me great joy and I am quick to approach them because our friendship is intentional and real. It’s awesome!
On Facebook and Instagram, I was an avid over-sharer. It wasn’t until I quit social media that I realized everyone who knows my name probably doesn’t need to know every little detail about my life! Leaving social media has given me privacy that I didn’t realize I needed. One of my favorite things is running into people I haven’t seen in a while. It’s fun to catch up – seeing their reactions to new events in my life and sharing my emotions about theirs is a very real experience that just can’t happen through a screen.
More Focus // A More Intentional Life
Before quitting Facebook, I really struggled to put my phone away and focus on the real life happening right in front of me. I spent so many hours each week just scrolling through my newsfeed, clicking from one person to the next to see what they were up to. To look at their newly posted pictures. To see what exciting news was being shared. What life events were taking place. Meanwhile, I was missing out on the games my kids were playing, the story my husband was sharing, or the conversation my relatives were having across the table from me.
In one way or another, my social media presence was always in the back of my mind.
Now, I am present. My phone stays on the counter throughout most of the day. I join my children in their imaginative games. I read more books.
Recently, I tried to get back on Instagram for a few weeks. Almost immediately, I noticed I was constantly checking my phone again. This time I shut it down for good.
I’ve found that without social media, I live a more intentional life… and I love it.
One of my first thoughts after leaving social media was, “Wow, I have so much free time!” Are you on social media? Have you ever considered taking a break? Share your thoughts below!