This summer I checked another item off my bucket list;:one full day without my cell phone, or social media.
I had been meaning to do it for a long time, but I kept putting it off. After one particularly stressful week, I decided that it would be the perfect day to take the plunge. I needed to detach from my connections for a little while, even though it only added up to about 24 hours. Though it was a short amount of time, it was definitely a worthwhile little experiment.
Before that day, I had never really realized the full extent to which I am attached to my phone. It was a noticeable absence. When I went to reach for it, it took me a minute to fight the panic and remember my mission. I couldn’t tweet something funny that my dad had said, instagram a picture of one of the many DIY projects I could gotten from Pinterest, or scroll Facebook for updates from my friends. I felt at first like I was cut off from a big part of my world.
Really though, the opposite was true.
I felt more present than I can remember feeling for a very long time. I hung out with my family, watched a little TV, cleaned my room, went for a run with my dad, a walk with my mom, and played with my dog. All without interrupting these things to check one of my (many) social medias.
And you know what? I felt happier that day. Even though it was a pretty lazy and relaxed Sunday, I felt content. I didn’t feel the wave of emotions of insecurity, inadequacy, jealousy, anger and happiness that can almost simultaneously bombard me when I’m texting someone or look at social media. I wasn’t posting things for attention or waiting for a text back or anything. I was just me, existing in the present and in the real world. I felt more like me than I have in a long time. I wasn’t putting on a face or a front on my accounts, pretending to be a cooler and more interesting me than I actually am. I felt like I was truly being me, because I was doing things for my own self, and not for the benefit of the Internet.
I didn’t put on make-up because I wasn’t posing for pictures. I didn’t stress over trying to make plans with someone over text. I didn’t agonize over pictures where someone else looked like they were having more fun than me, or that they were more popular or successful than me.
I could tell that my family was happy with my decision too. I was actually listening to what they were saying and asking me to do instead of being on my phone and giving them half answers and asking them to repeat everything constantly. I was in a more consistent mood, and I didn’t ask them if they had seen where I last had my phone every ten minutes.
Sure, I may have missed out on a funny Instagram, a clever tweet or a funny video on Facebook throughout the day while social media was off limits to me, but I think it was worth it. I didn’t die even though at first it had felt like I had amputated one of my limbs. I survived and surprisingly felt a lot happier.
Though this isn’t exactly something practical I can do every day because social media and my phone are responsible for allowing me to get work done for school, contact people that I actually do need to talk to, stay in touch with family, etc, but this little experiment has taught me that I do rely on it too much. I don’t need to have it in my hand 24/7, and a little separation might do Siri and I good. I’m going to remember that day for as long as I can, and when I forget the lessons I learned, I’ll just have to do it again.
If you’ve ever found yourself struggling with addiction to social media or your phone or anything similar, I would definitely try and go a day without it to regain some perspective. It was one of the best and impactful choices I had made in a long time.