Remember a while back when I decided to give up social media for all of 2019? Yeah, I’m still at it. It’s been six months since I’ve given up the social media habit and what a great vacation it has been! A social media-less life is divine!
Giving up the timelines has been much easier than I’ve ever thought it would. At the time of leaving, I was an addict. I was continually reaching for my phone to occupy downtime or medicate awkward social situations. I gobbled up the pill of digital distraction, soothing problems in my head that never went away.
Social media confused me
Social media validated me, yet it devalued me. It made me feel important while making me feel insignificant all in the same breath. This love and hate relationship went on for a better part of a decade, and I could never quite come to peace with the social network.
I realized last December that it was time for me to see what my life could be without being virtually connected. So, in the light of a dawning new year, I ditched the social media timelines and promised myself I would live a social media-less life for the entirety of 2019.
Month one: Breaking the habit
In the first month, I had some withdrawals. I would sometimes mindlessly type in www. fac…. into my browser. Realizing what I was doing, I quickly stopped and felt the crash of fleeting endorphins. I would often have people talking to me as if I knew what was going on, only for them to realize mid-sentence: “oh yeah! You’re not on Facebook anymore!” I became a bit of an outcast and that made me feel a little guilty.
Month two: Gained time
As the second month rolled around, I noticed that I had a little more free time on my hands. It’s incredible how my stress came down by adding two hours of awakened free time to my day. My resting heart rate even nose-dived after a couple of weeks! I took up more reading to fill in the gaps. So far this year I have read over a dozen books! – Oh, and I found time to run 30+ kilometres per week (to train for a marathon). After two months, I realized just how much of my life I was wasting by scrolling through other people’s lives.
Month three: The turnaround
I found my stride in the third month. By now, winter was taking its psychological toll on me. While the days were getting a little longer, it was still cold, snowy and miserable. At the time, I’d given anything to be distracted from my dreary and cold life, but I didn’t reach for my phone to put off my feelings for another day. Instead, with the advice of my wife, I took up Epsom baths and listened to more podcasts about self-improvement. #gamechanger
Month four: Running my own race
By month four, social media was an afterthought. Yeah, I still got the odd jeer here and there about not being on the social drama teet. I no longer had any knee-jerk reaction to jump on a timeline and consume. I noticed my need for validation fleeting as I became more confident in my own life and my decisions. Without the distraction, my marathon training was teaching me that I’m genuinely running my own race.
Month five: A little lonely
In month five, I started to feel a little lonely. By its design, social media makes you feel as though you have a whole crowd of buddies all ready to be there when you need them. After five months of social media exclusion, those who spent their time posting comments on my stuff and giving me the old thumbs up, disappeared from my life as if I never existed. In today’s society, if you are not on someone’s timeline, you legitimately cease to exist. My loneliness faded when I realized that my social circle is legitimately quite small. But the reality is, everyone’s social circle is small, we are just fooled into believing words and pictures on a tiny screen are a part of that circle when they are nothing more than electrons and blue light.
Redefining what I was giving up
I have learned so much about myself in such a short time since I started living a social media-less life. I’ve concluded that I can never completely rid myself of “social media.” Email, texting, Facebook Chat and any form of direct electronic communication is a form of social media. One could even argue that a telephone is a piece of social media. What I have concluded is that I have rid myself of the timeline. The artificially groomed storyline that we take as truth, not only to our minds but to the heart of who we are.
Find happiness by reconnecting
After six months of timeline free living, I’ve decided that I will never return to the feed. I’ve escaped the trap, and I will never go back for the cheese. Social media timelines have no business in my life. I have found the key to my mental stability and deeply seated happiness, and it sits solely in the ability to listen to my mind and respond accordingly. I could never do this with the perpetual noise pollution from a social media timeline.
You will never find your happiness online.
For thousands of years, humans found joy connected to nature and with each other. Physical contact and eye-to-eye conversation are how we transmit energy. But we’ve gotten away from that. It’s uncomfortable to touch and to look at each other in the eye, so we take the easy route to socialization by eating the junk food of social media.
Social media is ruining our mental state and our natural need to be connected, just like how Big Macs ruined our waistlines all because it was too uncomfortable to eat real food.
No more excuses, make the change
Stop fooling yourself by making excuses as to why you stay attached to a superficial timeline. I’ve heard so many people tell me: “I’ve cut down.” Why not cut it all. Death by a thousand papercuts is still death. Regardless of how many cuts and how often you are cut, you still end up dead -and more miserable on your way there.
If you’ve had doubts as to why you are still hanging on to the social media timeline, remove all doubts and leave. It’s not that hard to do.
I know because I’ve become free. I’ve escaped the trap. Will you join me in living a social media-less life?