Thursday, April 4, 2013

lent//social media

I survived!!!!  Forty days free from Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.  It was touch and go there for a little while but I made it.

I don't really feel like writing all the reasons as a Mormon I participate in Lent, this post will be long enough without all of that.  I actually think a lot of people participate in Lent the wrong way and don't understand the full meaning.  I'm clearly guilty of this...I mean my church doesn't even practice Lent and I gave up social media for goodness sakes.


I've loved the world wide web practically since the day it was invented.

I mean in '96 I didn't even have the internet in my house but it somehow landed me a famous teen heartthrob boyfriend!
Excerpt from my journal.  In high school I went back and circled the big news-lame on all accounts, I know. 

In high school I stayed up late chatting with my friends on AOL and downloading music from Napster to make AWESOME mix CDs for all my friends. 

College came and I had 24 hour access to the internet, it was amazing.  My friends and I would chat on AIM with each other and we'd be in the same house.  Away messages were the bomb dot com, finding cool songs and backgrounds for my MySpace page took up my free time and a new thing called Facebook was being talked about--but my college wasn't on the list of schools that could use it. 

Then I became and adult (booo hisss) and I discovered the world of blogging.  Wow, look at all of these perfect stay-at-home moms with these perfect children, houses, craft ideas, etc I thought to myself.  It was all so fascinating to me. I would read blog after blog at work and then go home and read more blogs into the late hours of the night.  Then Pinterest was invented and Blaine couldn't wrap his head around why I was ALWAYS on Pinterest "pinning" things.  Then Instagram.  And now Vine...okay that's where I drew the line.  

Which brings us to why I chose to give up social media for 40 days.  I had become obsessed.  I was always reading and looking at what all of these strangers were doing, wearing, cooking...and of course I wasn't just reading and forgetting, I was comparing and feeling like I always fell short. It felt like every second of the day I was on my phone.  I started to realize I was spending time with my kids but I wasn't really present. 

Why should it matter how some cute mom in Provo, Utah dresses her son for the first day of school?  I don't know her, I will probably never meet her and newsflash she could care less about what I'm doing.  It all became too much.  I really started to stress about little things that weren't important and started to feel really bad about myself.  Now, I'm not saying this to get compliments or anything like that I'm simply stating how social media has turned into something negative for me instead of something positive.

So what were the 40 days like? Freakin' hard. The first day it was automatic for me to unlock my phone and click on the Instagram app.  I would quickly click out of it and close my eyes so I couldn't see any posts.  At first I was still really attached to my phone and felt the need to still be on it.  So, I started to listen to the Mormon Channel app to fill the void of social media. I don't want to be over dramatic but this app was a game changer for me.  Answers I had been praying for I heard through the stories and talks on the Mormon Channel.  It helped bring a spirit of calmness to my house.  It helped me with my calling.  It recharged my spiritual tank.  Instead of coveting all of these super cute women I was now listening to the words of prophets and apostles on how to better my life through the gospel and being uplifted as people shared their stories.  

Giving up social media has been the best/hardest Lent I've done.  It helped me re-prioritize my life.  My life isn't perfect and I don't have to pretend it is on social media.  Those strangers that I follow, their lives aren't perfect either.  And I don't think they are necessarily trying to pretend they are.  It's just natural to want to present the best of yourself to others...but when you don't know the person you are only seeing one side and it seems as if their life is perfect.

I did miss a lot of things about social media though.  I started to miss being connected to friends/family that far away.  I missed getting ideas from Pinterest for Easter.  I missed sharing my life with my friends/family.  And let me tell you my mom has asked me about 20 times when Lent is over so she can see pictures of her grandkids again.  I won't even go into how unsupportive my bestie Juli was of Lent haha!

There's a TON of good that comes from social media, but just like anything else--all in moderation.  My hope is that I can rejoin the ranks of millions of people around the world and log in to all my favorite apps again but not let it consume me.  I hope that I can share my life with my friends and family, stay in touch with theirs and be inspired by other people.  But I'm not going to let it consume me and bring me down. 

When it comes down to it I'm a social person and I always will be. I'd love to say I could just get rid of social media all together, but that's just crazy talk.  But I do think I'm more likely to put my phone down more often now and enjoy the moments that are in front of me. 

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