22 years later, the internet/social media has become something that 10 year old me could never have imagined. So many good things! Memes! Going viral for non-embarrassing reasons! Sam Heughan liking your tweets! And then so many bad things. SO. MANY. BAD. THINGS. I’ve known for a while that I’m addicted to my phone, but now I’m starting to see how negatively the internet and social media are affecting my happiness, mental health, and productivity. Having online community is awesome, but not when that community is constantly angry. Whether righteous anger or petulant anger, there is a lot of anger and despair and dread being loaded into my brain, and it shows. So I’m breaking up with social media, and putting down my phone. For 21 days, at least.
Led Zeppelin understands.
My 21 Day Challenge
Social media fasts are all the rage now, with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez all stepping back from time to time. My boyfriend Adam Driver doesn’t even have social media, period, so…kudos to that hottie for being ahead of the game. A lot of the authors I follow on Twitter go “on hiatus” all the time when they need to finish their books. Fact: this actually means nothing because they’re still on there constantly, lamenting that they can’t stay away. Same.
It was the Game of Thrones finale that finally convinced me it was time. My TL was one fiery volcanic eruption of rage, disappointment, petitions, and memes. Okay, the memes were great. Throw in actual issues like abortion bans and the migrant crises , and Twitter is soul crushing right now. That’s before you even get to the news apps (of which I have many) with their sensationalized violence and increasingly disheartening current events.
Studies say it takes a minimum of 21 days to break a habit, and my brain definitely needs rewiring. Mental health aside, I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not giving my brain the internet fix it requires. I certainly know what I’d like to do with myself. There’s several areas of my life that deserve more attention, and personal goals to meet. And those goals aren’t going to meet themselves while I’m scrolling through Reddit.
For 21 days I’ll be taking all social media and news apps off my phone. There’s still a few Facebook groups I need to keep tabs on, but that’s what email notifications are for. Without those
sucking black holes of addiction distractions, here are some things I hope to do:
Be present with my kids
These my are kids. My love for them is an ever-expanding universe of ardent devotion. I am immensely lucky in that I get to stay home with them. AND YET. Being a stay at home mom is isolating and exhausting…and boring. I hate that this is true, but my phone has become an escape from the tedium. And from the whining, and boundary-pushing, and the endless “look mom look mom MOM LOOOOOOOOK”. I only have little over a year before they start school, and I want to make the most of this precious time with them. And someone needs to teach them to tie their shoes….although I bet you $10 there’s a YouTube tutorial that could get the job done.
Reconnect with my husband
After 8 years of marriage, my husband and I are that couple. Laying in bed, noses buried in our respective phones. Sometimes for the whole evening. Sexy stuff, I know.
My sweet husband has graciously volunteered to take a 21 day break from social media as well. With all that phone-free time, who knows what could happen? *wink wink* PUZZLES. We’re gonna finish so many puzzles. And maybe talk about our feelings.
Read to learn, not escape
Reading is my all time favorite hobby, but lately I’ve used it as a crutch, and as an escape from my anxiety and discontent. Getting lost in a
smutty romance story is what makes reading fun, but as I look at all the non-fiction and history books gathering dust on my bookcase, I realize how long it’s been since I read to learn something. I used to be all intelligent and studious back in the pre-smartphone era. It feels like I’ve lost significant brain power. I’m hoping that over the 21 days that I’ll be motivated to dive deep into weighty tomes like The Complete Works of Josephus and A History of Scotland. Then do a crossword.
Write fanfic and bake sh*t
I mean, the two aren’t related, other than the fact that they are both goals that I’d like to accomplish. 7 seasons of Great British Baking Show left me inspired (and more than slightly intimidated) to learn the essentials of baking. I’ll be 32 next month and I’ve never made a pie crust, or homemade bread, let alone anything so complicated as macarons or Eclairs. If I can make an edible version of Mary Berry’s Victorian Sandwich Cake, I will consider this social media fast a success.
Another goal is actually write down some the various stories floating around in my head. It’s always been a dream of mine to start and finish a novel, but I figure fanfiction is a great way to dip my toes in the water. And y’all, I have some smutty Reylo dragon shifter AU fic that needs to GET OUT of my brain and stop keeping me awake at night. I’m a little obsessed with dragon Kylo Ren, and social media is holding me back from deeply exploring that concept. It simply has to go.
Wish me luck! I’ll let you know in 21 days how it went. Assuming I survive.
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