It feels so good to quiet this part of my brain, which seems sometimes to take over every part.
I value social media and the connections it can build, the real-life relationships it can help sustain, the information it can offer, the laughs it can provide. But there's a reason I put "can" in front of every one of those verbs, and it's because there's a tipping point. As someone who works the social media circuit all day every day for both professional work and personal appreciation, it all starts to pile up.
So on most Sundays this spring, I've been taking a Social Media Sabbath. Yes, admittedly, sometimes I post a picture - and you'll almost definitely get a "Winter is coming, y'all!!" status update next Sunday - but I don't hang around to see the number of likes or comments. Except for those random moments here and there, I'm off the Facebook + Instagram + Twitter grid.
You'd be surprised how lovely and calming it feels. I soon forget that I'm missing updates from people, and I don't even give myself the option to check while I'm "bored" or have nothing else going on. What's more, my mind has taken quickly to the idea that this is off-limits on this day.
I can tell that the habit is building, because it feels good. It feels like sitting in front of the water, being lulled into rest by the gentle waves. What's going on far away, even next door, doesn't matter.
I don't need to know everything. I don't need to say everything. I can let a whole 24+ hours go by and live life in real time.
And when Monday comes, I don't find that I even rush right back into it. It comes, but slowly. Once I dive in, I again see the value the good elements of social media (and somehow the detriments stand out even sharper too...), and I can prep myself for another week.
Yes, this is a key way of how we connect now. But what freedom there is in having an hour-long coffee catch up with a friend, going to a committee meeting, taking a walk with my husband, writing some new material, listening to the writing of others, even drifting off to sleep - and not feeling that overtaking habit of pushing a button, glancing down and doing a quick scroll-through of other peoples' lives.
I've got my own life, a lovely one. I'll keep sharing some of its moments with you, and I appreciate the moments you choose to share with me. But on Sunday, I'm hitting the Pause button to enjoy the lapping of the waves.