At the end of 2016 I was so done with social media. I was tired of seeing other people’s lives. Tired of seeing their food, their vacations, their dogs that I couldn’t pet. I was just done. And yet, every morning, first thing after I got my coffee, I would find myself staring at my phone, endlessly scrolling. I knew I was done by the time I was seeing yesterday’s news but then I would just jump onto another app and scroll through a whole new line of useless information. I was addicted, addicted to likes. And the drama. I thought this was supposed to end in high school! I began to feel cynical about the shallow friendships social media boasts and felt as if face to face relationships were the only real relationships. I would look at my Facebook friends and think that my life was incredibly boring by comparison.
I knew it was time for a change. So January 1st of 2017, I deactivated my Facebook and it felt so good. I would have so much time to do what I wanted. I would read more books, spend more time with loved ones, the possibilities were endless.
Until January 5th when I was bored out of my mind. There was nothing to do on my phone anymore! Why did I even have one? I tried mobile gaming but after I got a huge score in Candy Crush who could I share it with if I didn’t have Facebook? I started texting a few people ‘status updates’ about what I was currently doing and pictures of the food I ate but no one would respond… By the end of the first month the only positive thing I could see was my phone battery would now last all day.
But after a few months it all ended up feeling pretty normal. I no longer missed it and my life felt a whole lot more simple. I found myself living life for myself. I didn’t take near as many pictures because the moment in the middle of a hike was just for me, not my Facebook friends. A lot of my worries melted away. Time to myself meant time by myself.
But being away from Facebook also reminded me of what Facebook does offer.
2016 was a really good year for Ashton and me. We moved to Indiana, bought a house and started a whole new life together. So many milestones in one year and the people we knew from all of our walks of life, Kansas City, Indiana, Minnesota, all supported us along the way. Just the moral support of them telling us they were proud was enough to make us feel like we were not alone.
2017 was different. Another milestone hit us out of nowhere. Through six years of marriage Ashton and I found ourselves pregnant and happier than ever! We shared it with our family and close friends and everyone was very supportive. But after a while things settled down and we didn’t hear from people so much. There were so many changes in our life but our support system had been deactivated. There was a lot of times in this past year that my wife and I felt really alone.
People have s sort of out of sight out of mind mentality. My wife and I weren’t on Facebook so no one thought to check on us yet I forgot about half of the people in my support circle who really care about us since I wasn’t seeing them every day.
I reactivated my account a few days early and shared some pictures of our year and so many people that I hadn’t thought about were quick to let me know that they were so happy for us and told us that we were going to be great parents. It felt really nice and I was shocked at all the people who still took the time to write something.
In the end, I do not regret my year. It was definitely a learning experience and I know that I have grown. I’ve learned to use social media for my own benefit but also learned when to turn my phone off and enjoy a day without distractions.
If anyone feels social media is just a waste of their time or that they are addicted to the likes, I would encourage them to take some time off, go for a hike without your phone, see a picture that cannot be captured. And maybe after it all you will come back with appreciation.