In recent years for Lent I've tried to become more creative with what I abstain from. One year I gave up ice cream (which is huge for me...I practically live on ice cream). One year I gave up swearing. Last year I paid a quarter for every negative comment. This year...I gave up Facebook and Twitter. I had made this decision toward the beginning of the year and had actually kind of thought that it was cheating a little. JUST giving up social media? Is that really going to matter? I mean, I rarely posted to either in recent months, and there were days that I'd go without checking them anyway, so it shouldn't be that hard. Right?
Oh, so wrong.
The VERY FIRST thing I did on Ash Wednesday was poke the Facebook app on my phone out of habit. To which I went, "Ah crap! No no no!" And as the day progressed I had to keep stifling urges to check my phone. As it turns out, while I didn't post excessively, I DID check both compulsively. It was like when you check the time but you don't actually see what time it is. I was just doing it out of habit. I also realized that had no idea where else to go on the internet. I was finding links to other things from my social media sources. Even with just those two site restrictions on myself, I've found that my internet use, and also my phone use, has sigificantly decreased.
Overall, it hasn't been too bad, but you don't (or I didn't) realize how much people rely on Facebook to get information out until you're not using it. I can't even tell you how many times I've heard, "Well didn't you see it on Facebook? I posed it today." Or "So and so is pregnant/married/engaged/graduating! They posted it this morning!" Or "This super fun thing is happening today, didn't you get the invite?" NO. I. DIDN'T. Can't you just text me or call me like a normal person? Is this really how far we've come?
Lent is 6 weeks long, and I've now got a week and a half left. I'm not going to lie, I really miss it and am very much looking forward to catching up after Easter. I have a handful of friends who are posting things in excess because they know I still get notifications...and they're trying to drive me slowly insane. I just keep thinking though that I'll have SO MUCH to look forward to when I'm back. I will say too, that although it's been a bit of a rough detox, it's made me appreciate things a little more. I've certainly become more mindful of my time, and that is never a bad thing. It also made me realize that I miss actually communicating with my friends. Not just over some user interface, but on the phone, sending a card, having coffee. My hope is that I'll become better at making "real life time" for my friends now, as well as seeing what they're up to in my news feed.
But some days, you just need a funny cat picture, you know?