Did you hear Arnold’s voice when you read that last line? Hee hee
My self imposed break from all social media that I told you about a bit ago (A different track) has officially ended. I was so stressed with everything that had been going on in my life of late – personally, professionally, medically, and spiritually – that I needed a little time to decompress and re-evaluate. Some sleep wouldn’t have hurt, either, but alas, I never sleep.
So. How did my little social media exile go?
Well, the first few days were hard. And by hard, I mean EXCRUCIATING! I had a real issue with FOMO ( Fear of Missing out!)
I seriously was concerned I was missing out on EVERYTHING and that I’d miss something crucial to my career or LIFE that I’d need to know. That lasted about four days. Seriously. I had hives.
Day five something happened. I woke up and the first thing I did wasn’t reach for my phone like I typically do. The first thing I did was kiss my husband good morning. The fact that it was three o’clock in the morning didn’t faze him a whit. He’s used to my insomnia.
And, no. My hubby isn’t Ryan Gossling. Just clarifyin’
Days 6-10, no social media checks at all. Nada. In fact, I was cut off completely from news of the world on all counts: cyberspace, social media, and world, because I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise and no wifi. Oh, I could have had it if I wanted to pay $20.00 a day to hook it up, but seriously! Have you met me? Calling me cheap is the best compliment you can give me!
Day 11 was a travel home day. When we pulled in NYC port, I turned my phone on for the first time in 5 days. It didn’t stop pinging for almost an hour. When all was quiet again I had 1596 emails, 620 spam mails, 42 texts, 122 facebook updates, 501 twitter notifications, over 200 updates on Instagram and those were just the ones I checked. The good Lord above knows how many Pinterest, Book Bub, Goodreads and TRiberr notifications I had!
It took me almost 2 entire days to go through all the emails because a great deal of them required responses. I found out – via FB and Twitter that two people I knew had babies, one was admitted to the hospital, had emergency surgery and was now, once again, home. The world was still spinning, the day was still breaking every 24 hours, and my life as I’d known it before my imposed exile was still the same.
Was I, though?
Was I any less stressed after unplugging for 14 days?
It’s a conundrum. I was happy while I wasn’t checking my phone every two minutes and living in the moment of the exile, but all the work I had to catch up on when I got back home was a little overwhelming. But, I’ll admit, since I was so relaxed, it didn’t feel insurmountable like it had before I decided to go social media-less.
So. What’s the takeaway with all this? What did I learn about myself from unplugging and stepping away from all my technology and social media platforms?
First, that’s it’s possible and I can do it again if I need to.
Second, the world still spins without you knowing what’s going on 24/7.
Third, immediate knowledge and hearing about realtime events, while a good thing, can make you blind, deaf and dumb to your own life and the events and people surrounding you.
Fourth, while unplugging totally can be a good thing, you still need to be locked in to certain things – like emails from editors who request FULL MANUSCRIPTS of your latest work! Yeah. Happened to me while I was unplugged. Le sigh. That was the first email I answered when I was on-line again, with an apology for the time delay in responding because I was out at sea.
Fingers crossed, peeps!
And last, while social media may rule the world, you can rule your own little part of it by limiting what you allow into you life everyday. I don’t need to check on all my SM accounts daily ( or even hourly, like I was doing!). I don’t need to respond to every single tweet or FB comment I receive. And I don’t need to check my phone the moment I wake up and the last thing I do before going to bed.
So, overall, I have to say, unplugging and going in a different track for a few weeks proved to be a good thing. For me, anyway.
These are the places you can find me if you’re looking. I may or may not be checking them hourly anymore, though! hee hee
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