Last summer, Brooke McAlary talked about the joy of missing out (or JOMO) on her podcast, ‘Slow Your Home’ (listen here). At the time I felt like I understood what she meant, but I didn’t. A month of being disconnected from so much of the world was true JOY! Which probably sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true.
Before our experiment, I’d tell myself social media brought me connection and inspiration, and while that’s true, I left out the other part. That it also brought me a lot of comparison, jealousy, and often left me feeling less than happy and inspired. A lot of which is my own fault. Madeline observed recently that watching too many shows makes her feel “lazy”. She and Luke have naturally scaled back on what little screen time they had in the first place. They are allowed thirty minutes of “computer time” each day, it’s set to log out automatically when the time is up – they haven’t used it in a couple weeks. How is it that my six year old is more in tune and control of her needs and emotions!?
We live in a world where there’s constant everything and marshmallows in froot loops and facebook isn’t just about catching up with friends anymore, it’s people trying to sell you stuff or sharing pointless videos. It scrolls on and on forever! We will never be able to see it all, and yet we try to. We spend beautiful moments of stillness scrambling to find something to read or watch. We are literally spending our lives watching other people live, and that’s not ok. I only get one life and I want to be present for it.
During January I was (despite the insane lack of sleep thanks to Clark) really happy. I read several art books, including one on Norman Rockwell, who I’m totally fan-girling now. I was so full of creativity and picked up the real camera more than I normally would. I discovered I really like poetry! We had the best month of homeschool on record and I made a couple big decisions I don’t think I would have had the courage to do otherwise. My mind was still. I gave myself permission to please no one but myself. Turns out I really like myself and I can be happy all on my own. Before, though I often tried to deny it, every picture I took, every moment of our day, I felt compelled to share as quickly as possible and I just couldn’t wait for those tiny hearts and likes to roll in.
Throughout our fast I quickly discovered I didn’t miss social media, but I was keenly aware of just how easy it would be to slip back into my old habits. I really enjoyed being more present and I loved how much healthier my mind felt. So it was with great trepidation that I logged back on February first. Or tried to. Darn passwords are always so hard to remember and I’m constantly having to reset them…. I got there eventually.
I was surprised by how disenchanted I was with it. I enjoyed seeing pictures of a friend’s new baby. It was nice to see how people were doing, but overall I was ok. I could go on without it. In fact I really considered doing away with it all together. However, I am grateful for the people who do inspire me, who are honest and open and willing to share the messy parts of their life as well as the beautiful. I love keeping in touch with friends and I’m often grateful for a place to share bits of our life. It’s helped me keep a much better family history than I would on my own. For now I’m keeping on. I won’t be on as much and I have plans to unfollow or de-friend anyone who doesn’t lift me up, which includes those who try to sell me stuff. (I don’t mind if you want to post about it in your thread, but STOP adding me to your groups or sending me private messages that you’ve clearly copied and pasted to a hundred other people. If I’m interested, I’ll come to you!) Social media isn’t in itself a bad thing. Like most things in life, it needs to be used in moderation and with set intentions.
Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned lately, especially in relation to our time away from social media, is that I don’t have to decide now what we’re going to do forever. I often get caught up in anxiety about who I want to be and making these big (only not so big) decisions that maybe don’t really matter. There’s so much pressure online to be branded and consistent, but guess what – I’m still figuring it out. And I really don’t like being put in a box. Even if I built that box myself. I’ve changed so much in the past few years. Just a year ago I was a “homeschoolers are weirdos and oils are witchcraft” type person, and now I’m a homeschooling lover who uses oils every single day! Maybe it doesn’t look like it to others, but I feel different. I like who I’m becoming and I’m in no rush to arrive at my final destination. I’m loving this exploration of ideas and ways to live life. I keep trying on different philosophies, deciding what works for us and trying not to be afraid of adapting or passing. I’ve been really inspired by the concept of “slow” the past several months. I think there is such beauty in slowing many aspects of our lives, and while I certainly have a long way to go, I’m proud of the changes we are slowly making. I’m looking forward to sharing more of that soon.
I just wanted to close by saying I often feel pretentious and hoity-toity when blogging. Maybe you agree, maybe it’s all in my head. You know what, though, I like sharing. I am under no delusions that I will ever be some hot shot blogger with a thousand followers and I am truly ok with that. It’s not my goal. I just really enjoy sending my poorly written thoughts out into the vastness of this world. I like taking pictures that help me appreciate the beauty of this life and I like releasing those too.
So happy Tuesday, friend. Thanks for being here.