So I have been missing in action for a while. Not from my life; rather from my very active social media life. I decided to fall off the face of the earth for a month or two and see what would happen. The earth did NOT stop spinning on its axis, the sun still came up in the east and set in the west and lo and behold life continues. Interestingly life continued for me in a more present, more intentional, more connected way than I have felt in a long time. Somehow I don’t feel rushed or busy. I am working hard at a job I love, spending quality time with people I love. and even managing a major remodel project at home with Jason (no kitchen/laundry at home since November 2018…but that’s a story for another time) and I am finding myself with time to spare. Not oodles of it, but I am not living the overwhelmed out of control dizzying speed of life, rather it seems to be a more measured pace, one that is easy to manage, one that has time for conversation, communication and connection, Not just with the people I love, but with myself. This is a foreign notion to be sure. At first, I didn’t know what to do with myself when I found time. So I sat down on my sofa (a novelty too unless it’s to watch TV with the family) and READ a magazine. I didn’t skim it, or flick through the pretty travel pictures, rather I actually read the stories of people traveling to gorgeous places like the Amalfi Coast, Greece and Iceland. You know, I kept feeling like I had to get up and do something. It took force of will to actually keep sitting there. I couldn’t get through one article without looking up from my magazine to see if there was something I should be doing instead.
What is it about us women (yes, gross generalization here, but I think I am not far off point), why is it that we can’t enjoy our own homes? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my home, no matter where we travel, I ALWAYS love coming home. BUT, I have to go away to feel rested, I have to leave my home and town to take a break because a staycation becomes a holiday for everyone in the family but me. For me, I will find hundreds of things to do around the house.
So this summer, since we are still in the midst of construction and can’t really travel anywhere I am bound and determined to make life simpler for myself; simpler like it is when we go away from home for a vacation which is typically where I can let go and relax. My goal is to let go and relax right here, in my own home (yes, in the midst of construction!)
To start this, I had to let go of social media. Why? Well because for me, I had become a little addicted. There, I said it. Hi my name is Niki and I am a social media addict. In the grocery line, at the stop light, in the bathroom, on my way to tuck my kids in to bed, I was finding myself needing to check my feeds oodles of times a day; feeling a sense of ‘obligation’ to those who follow me. Yes, I know, crazy. I found myself distracted around my family and instead of worrying about showing up for those people in my life who truly matter, who love me, and I them and being present to and for them, I was worrying about what inspirational thing I could post for my social media followers (and its not like I am an influencer or inspirational/motivational speaker/guru or anything!). Instead of scheduling time for play with my kids, I was spending time scheduling posts days and weeks out at a time so I wouldn’t let social media land down.
So, I had to rip the band-aid and uninstall social media from my phone. I didn’t go so far as to deactivate my accounts, but I did remove the convenience in order to overcome the addiction. And let me tell you, for the first week, my hands would automatically go to my phone when I had a couple spare minutes, only to realize that it’s going to function as just that…a phone – a communication device. A tool to talk to and connect with the people who have my number and who’s number I have because they’re a friend or family member and not because they’re someone who is a friend of a friend of a friend. I have to tell you – those likes and hearts are addicting too. There is a rush when you see a post you’ve written trending high and hitting dozens and perhaps even hundreds of likes or hearts. I felt like I had developed a false sense of importance when a post that I wrote would receive hundreds of likes and dozens of comments from people I don’t know personally.
So I just quit for a while. I needed to do a hard reset and really evaluate what and who was important to me, and how did I want to communicate with them. What came out of this digital detox is that I am very blessed to have really good friends in my life. Some who live within a 20 minute drive, but others who I adore who live across the country and even the world. These are the friends who I want to stay connected with. Social media wasn’t doing that for me. I had this false sense of being connected, and yet I had no idea what was going on in their lives. This is what I wanted to work on. I wanted to be present for the people that matter. Not to say that those people who follow me or are friends with me on social media don’t matter. They do – but not in the way I wanted to cultivate relationships. I’ve heard it said that an individual can only truly ‘know’ 100 – 150 people. So why did I need to have 2,000+ friends? They weren’t the ones who I would be reaching out to, if I need a shoulder to cry on or if I truly needed help. It would be the handful of people that I can count on the fingers of one hand that I would call. It would be the people who are on my kids emergency contact list, or the ones who I have welcomed into my home and have broken bread with who mattered most, and I did not need social media to stay connected to them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-social media at all. It is a powerful tool to get a message out to a large group of people. I have a lot of appreciation for the moms groups that I belong to, that are my first go to resource when I need to learn about a helicopter flying overhead late at night, or when a wildfire breaks out, or if I need recommendations for shopping, restaurants or anything else that I need an answer for. I am grateful for the community of moms that rallies and watches out for our kids riding bikes, puppies getting out of the house, special deals to know about in town, it’s like the town square. And it’s important. But I don’t want to spend every spare moment in town square, and I don’t need to broadcast my life from there either.
So now I spend my time differently. I reach out to friends I want to talk to; I go meet them, text them, call them or even use Marco Polo or Messenger to chat with them.
I’m thinking of relearning French and taking a dance lesson, now that I have all this time freed up in my life. I’ve been in touch with friends I adore who don’t live in my town and I know what’s going on in their lives. I am on the floor of my son’s room every night where my kids and I do plank, push ups and other body weight bearing exercises together before bed and that time spent with them giggling as we suffer through 1-2 minutes of plank is time I truly cherish!
And yes, now I do in fact feel more rested and relaxed in my own home.