The husband and I recently took a holiday to a national park here in the U.S. Before we set out, I decided that this would be a holiday without any social network distractions. My husband doesn’t care much for social networks and isn’t on any, so it was pretty much my decision to make.
We left early on Saturday morning. I messaged my parents and sister to tell them that we’d left, and that I’d let them know when we reached our destination, but otherwise I was turning all notifications on my phone off.
All was well on the drive. Good conversation, good music, and some scenic landscapes to drive through – I didn’t feel the urge to pick up my phone. We checked into our hotel, left our bags and went out to explore the area. Except for looking at restaurant reviews on yelp and taking photographs, I managed to keep away from the phone.
We returned back to the hotel after a long day of hiking. The husband went to get changed and I found myself automatically reaching for my phone to scroll through Facebook. I reminded myself this was going to be a holiday without any Facebook. I left the phone on the bed and walked over to the balcony to distract myself from looking at it. Our balcony looked over the ocean in the distance and directly overlooked the hotel pool. I sat down and spent 20 minutes watching 3 kids playing in the pool and listening to their happy voices. But constantly, I felt a nagging distraction. It felt like my phone was a magnet and I was a piece of iron, and it was trying to pull me towards it.
I got my first smartphone when I was 20-something years old. That means I spent a good 20 years without constant access to social media. I grew up in an age when human beings were not subjected to this endless onslaught of information. My childhood summers were spent either playing outside with my cousins or coloring indoors in the middle of the hot day. We didn’t have any video games at home. Much much simpler times.
I think to myself and wonder why I feel so distracted and restless without my phone. I am far from a social media junkie. But then I realize, it has been so so long since I just let myself be. Since I spent a few mindless minutes gazing into nothing or just thinking quietly. It has become such a habit to reach for my phone every time I am bored. And before I know it, I’ve spent 30 minutes scrolling through Facebook, catching snippets of the lives of people I may not even care so much about.
This isn’t a social media bashing post. I do love Facebook for how it keeps me connected to my family and friends, and how it makes me feel like I know what’s happening in their lives. I do love WordPress for the friendships that exist here and for the different perspectives that you can read about. For the simple beauty of the written word. But… I have come to realize that I spend far too long browsing. Time that could be spent doing something much more useful, or even doing nothing at all. How long has it been since I just sat by myself quietly without a phone in hand and just observed the world around me?
I’m both shocked and terrified by how dependent I am on this piece of equipment. I sometimes feel like it almost controls me. So today, I’ve decided to take my life back. I’m going to log onto my social media apps a maximum of 3 times a day. I think that’s ambitious but let’s see how it goes. Do let me know if you’ve tried something similar.