Wallet, keys, purse and phone. Bam. You’re out the door. The four things you need to survive a day in the life of you. But just think: fifteen years ago, that last item on the list barely made an appearance. Now it’s like the back of a hand. Phones station themselves in the restaurant booth, lunch table, family dinners, vacation, travel time. And boy, am I guilty of each and every one of those?! Phones are wonderful for jamming to old school Miley Cyrus (guilty again), checking blog stats, sending the fun little monkey emojis to friends, calling your mama (who kinda, well, gave you life). Yeah, yeah, we get it. But oh, the drama… What in the world is the meaning behind the kissy face emoji he just sent me? Why does this girl feel the need to comment on every one of my posts? Why didn’t they follow back? Only one favorite?
Sometimes we get fed up, and by we, I mean me. This not-so-little thing called social media sucks us in faster than Lilly Pulitzer’s line for Target sold out, and boom, before you know it, your thumb has a mind of its own, eternally going straight to the Insta app like 80 million times a day. And when you should take a step back or when you’re forced to (no Wi-Fi abroad seems like a crime, I knowww), it’s virtually impossible. But when my friend S suggested deleting Insta for a week, I was like, Ehhhh no. But then I thought about it. With a new year it might be a nice cleanse. And hey, a week? I’m no wimp; let’s do this! While I completed this challenge sans travel and only deleted Instagram (and not all social media), these one week Insta fast lessons apply to visiting a destination with limited or totally without Wifi. And you may even enjoy the break from social media *gasp! Here’s a list of 5 things I learned from my Insta fast:
1. The world depends on social media
I noticed on Facebook that one of my friend’s birthdays was coming up, and naturally I wanted to put up a birthday post on Insta. Oh, wait… I can’t do that. That one person you bumped into and desperately want to creep on? Nope, can’t do it. Maybe I should follow back now? Huh-uh. The world around us is so, so dependent on it; I really don’t know how we used to wish each other a happy birthday via social media aka an outlet to tell our 605 friends (Am I really that popular?) about our trips to Taco Bell, political views (well, maybe not…) and family pics.
2. We waste so much time on social media!!
The first day was rough. I’d sit down after finishing some work and open my social media folder on my phone. And stare at the more vacant little rounded box. Like, a lot. Are we programmed to pick up our phone when we’re bored, trying to avoid work or attempting to look busy and wanted? I was a little embarrassed at how many times I picked up my phone to open up Insta and realized, Oops! T minus 6 days, 23 hours, 58 minutes and 36 seconds left…
3. We have so much time for other things without social media
Wowwwww. That’s a no-brainer. This is a gimme, but the amount of energy you have for other things also increases. You have time to relax. You can watch TV (and by watch TV, I mean actually having both eyes on the screen and not spying on the party going on tonight via Insta posts). You actually have conversations with friends that include eye contact.
4. Life feels simpler without social media
Lol bc it sounds like I’m going without electricity or a refrigerator or coffee. I promise it’s not the Stone Age. You go about your daily routine, hang out with your friends, have dinner with family. It’s much easier to not compare your mediocre weekend plans to your seemingly much more interesting friends.
5. Social media easily becomes a chore
My typical routine includes coming home, grabbing a snack, plopping down on the couch and plowing through social media. Umm, excuse me? PLOW? (I’m not a sun-beaten farmer trying to harvest crops and provide a living for my family.) For me social media becomes a sort-of check list. Double tap, scroll, double tap, scroll, keep scrolling bc that selfie does not do you justice, sweetheart, scroll, scroll, check ratio. By the end of it all, you have a headache, feel like you have no life and still don’t feel relaxed.
My week started out with me feeling like a starving kid with eyes glued to an empty pantry. You know something is supposed to be there–you can almost taste it. You long to be filled. Oh, wait, we’re talking about social media for crying out loud!! Take a step back. Yes, I’m 110% guilty, but our tendency to fill our lives with more and more Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc is really is astounding. But at the end of the day, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. (Thanks to noah and the whale for this fun, catchy song that you won’t be able to stop singing for months on end!!)
Don’t get me wrong. I love Insta, cute pics with my gal pals and keeping up with friends. And hats off to my friend S for aiming to stick with this challenge for a year! At the end of the day I’m sure Insta isn’t a sin; it’s not going to send you to hell. But this week did teach me how I fill and fill and fill to the brim of several minutes here, several there, repeat x 5. And how quickly that adds up! Whether you choose to take a break from your social media outlet of choice or are forced to for an upcoming trip abroad, realize it can be wonderfully refreshing. When you’re strolling down the Champs-Élysées, you’re not so focused on your phone that you miss the Arc de Triomphe. You’re engaged with your fellow travelers. You don’t waste the precious minutes you paid for in Versailles scrolling through Twitter (even though it’ll still be there at the airport or heck, back home!). Deep breath! Don’t fret if you won’t have connection because you may fall in love with unplugging for a week!