“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill
I went on a three week vacation/work trip and I did all of the things. I went to L.A., San Francisco, Oakland – had a one-day reprieve at home in Austin, Texas, and then trekked across the pond for work to London, Belfast, and Vilnius, Lithuania, back to London for a little R & R before I returned home. I came, I saw, I conquered – experienced many wonderful things, but more than anything….. I instagrammed a lot. I posted stories, on top of stories, on top of more stories so everyone could see what I was up to and allow them to basically “be” at everything.
It wasn’t that I was exhausted from posting, but a couple of people mentioned it felt as if they were on the trip with me, and it struck a chord. The instagram world I create, as do most people, is only a very small piece of my life. I realized at the end of the trip, I thought to myself:
“I need to take a break”
I told myself I was going to take the next 30 days off from posting to Instagram and Facebook. Now my close friends know, I rarely accomplish cold turkey fasts of any sort. Well, spoiler alert, I made it 30 days without posting (actually 33). I actually surprised myself. Received a couple, “are you okay” messages, which were very sweet and appreciated, and as a peer-proclaimed “selfie queen”, after about day 7, not posting became more natural and this formerly known “extreme extrovert”, learned a few things that I wanted to share.
The Obvious (Not so Obvious to Me) Benefits
When I posted less, I compared myself to others less. I enjoyed seeing other people’s social media without any reference to what was going on in my life. I don’t consider myself one to compare my life with others’, but I think many of us can be in denial about this fact. Social media innately causes you to compare yourself. I realized that I might not do it ALL THE TIME, but I know that I do it. When I was not posting, I looked at posts for their own value and not in any relation to myself. I am not sure I quite understand this or the sociological reasons behind it, but I can count on one finger how many times I felt crappy during this time about where I am in life from looking at other people’s profiles, and I follow some bada$$ mofos who are killing the game. It felt good to just root for them.
I spent a healthy amount of time on social media. Now, as a person who sees social media as a benefit and tool, despite the harm it can cause, I definitely think there is a healthy and unhealthy use of social media. Posting less reduced my screen time. Plain and simple. I wasn’t checking for likes or who was viewing my story and in turn I checked my social media as a second thought or when I was waiting versus it being the thing to do in my life.
Lies I Have Told Myself
Social media is great for accountability. I got into the groove of exercising without having to share it with the world. This idea of accountability of social media… for me … is a lie. I used to post about my workouts thinking that I could hold myself accountable. Laughable I know, but I believed it. Not to mention, people think I worked out a lot more which I found to be quite entertaining. For most of 2019, I have been overbooked and my health prioritization hit an all-time low and I gained more lbs than I liked to admit. I posted sparingly about working out a few times between January – June. I did however, get into a good rhythm in July, and August, never posting about it obviously. When I talked with folks about getting back into the swing of working out, people would be like “I thought you were working out all the time”. Oh, the lies social media tells or in my mind, “did you really?” But most of all, I am now working out regularly, and nobody knows, but me.
I take selfies for the gram. Actually, not true. This is a small point to make, but I had to. I forgot what it was like to take a picture for me. The reality is that I wanted to and the fact is I don’t do it for the gram, I do it because sometimes I just think I am cute. No likes needed…..Take time to appreciate that.
What Did I Miss?
The promotion and advocacy of the positive things in my life and others. The hardest thing for was not to promote important issues, events, speaking engagements, over the last month. I committed to not resharing during this break as well. This was the only thing that almost broke me.
More than ever, I recognize and understand that my voice and the voice of others still matter. I started missing / perspective over 4 years ago for this very reason, and through this break, I understood why I had lost my way. If you check the receipts, this is my first blog I’ve written in over 2 years, but I couldn’t shake off the funk and sit down and write until I wasn’t able to share my perspective or point of view at all. I realized that I do have something to say and if only one person hears it, I did it for the right reason. Because I truly believe, when the cards are stacked and your back is against the wall, good can still prevail. And we need to promote as much good as we can in today’s world.
You only have one voice, one life to live. How are you going to use it…
I have learned my lesson, have you?