checking out to be all in


I have been easing off of social media the past few months, like a detox.  Sometimes I dip back in and it feels like a relapse - I don't like what it does to me. I feel sluggish and anxious and fired up about things that I don't need to take on.  It no longer feeds me; right now it mostly drains me.  I will be going off of it completely for the next three months as I go on sabbatical.  
I have been a zealous Facebook user since 2009. Every year I print a book of the photos and things I shared about my kids (and more and more, things I didn't share - just posted to myself so that they would make it into the book).  So I find myself grieving that record-keeping and wondering what will take its place.
But I also know I need to do this. 
I wrote the following post on Facebook after returning from a spring break trip with my family to Mexico, and just before Holy Week:

March 25, 2018


So... 10 days away from Facebook/social media and here are some things I noticed:
1- I didn't miss it.  
I didn't miss the drama (DRAMA!!). The arguing and factions. The urgency and insistency. The labels and categories. The for or against, good or bad, right or wrong. The way it takes otherwise decent people and gives their worst instincts a megaphone. It's a whole conversation I don't have to be in. For real. Choice. Freedom. (#sabbathwisdom)
2 - I did miss it, in a bad way. 
I was shocked how little interest my phone held for me when I wasn't responding to the little red circle on the corner of the Facebook icon. And how often in my day I do - like multiple times an hour. Like every time I pick up my phone. With the app deleted, and staying away from social media completely, I was FAR more present with my kids, husband, self, surroundings, thoughts, emotions, sensations. It turns out Facebook use is compulsive for me. The immediate feedback. Instant gratification. It's an addiction. It affects my relationships. I keep one foot in not-real world and only one in the real. I am no longer comfortable with my use of it.
3- I did miss it, in a good way.
Facebook keeps me connected to people I love who live far away. We share stories and photos. Glimpsing people's lives and thoughts can make me inspired, reminded, grateful. I see stories that remind me where God is and encourage me to keep looking. I share things I know are inspiring to others. I missed this. And if I consider going off completely, I would miss this.
4- I missed less.
I read far more full articles in the newspapers I subscribe to. Instead of scrolling past titles and thumb-responding, or feeling bombarded with people's opinions or agendas and getting swept up, I read the morning paper, like the old days (except on the screen). I felt both better informed and healthier.
5- I missed more. 
I didn’t ride the waves of frenzy surrounding new stories or whatever else people got up in arms about. Whatever else people said about my friend that tore her apart or made her a symbol for their cause, missed it. Whatever finger-pointing and hand-wringing and mouth frothing went on about any and everything, missed it. Whatever funny dog videos or hysterical gifs or stupid, brain-draining articles about this health fad or that shocking behavior I would have spent precious time watching or reading, missed it. 
I feel like part of me has been an open wound I keep picking and irritating with social media. I didn't know it was affecting me like it was. Left alone for 10 days, it's beginning to heal. 
At this point, I feel very hesitant about returning, or in what form I should.
I need to sort out what I am wanting and needing, so I'm taking the next week off of social media too. 
Peace.

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