Before my separation, I did not care about social media because I had my insular life, and the world beyond did not matter that much to me.
After my separation, I had a strong urge to feel connected to other people, so I turned to social media, specifically Facebook, and it was exhilarating.
I enjoyed chatting with people, sending and receiving likes and loves, checking statuses, and posting the occasional selfie, always with a self-deprecating comment to prove that I’m really not that into myself.
It was all in good fun.
Then something happened. I felt the allure more and more and I could no longer contain myself: I was obsessed, and Facebook had taken over my life.
I really didn’t think I had a problem, but of course, I was too busy walking in the wonderful clouds of Facebook to notice.
Then Friday morning hit, and my older daughters began an intervention. It started with a note with a checklist of things I needed to do on my day off. It included simple things like cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the living room, and shoveling the driveway. But towards the end, it included some questions for me: Have you been exercising every day? Have you been taking care of yourself? Have you sent off any query letters for your novel?
I couldn’t honestly answer all three questions with a yes. Then at the bottom of the page, they wrote, “We love you!”
I set the note aside, and I laughed, thinking it was cute that my older girls cared for me, but clearly, they were overreacting.
Throughout the day, I found myself pulled back to Facebook: checking, always checking, and not really too sure what for. Then at supper, my daughters and I went to a restaurant, and as we waited for the food, I checked in some more.
It was at that point that I realized, yes, I did have a bit of a problem.
So, I agreed to go 48 hours without social media.
The first few hours were tough because I still felt that urge to check in, but I resisted, and it got easier.
I filled my time visiting friends face to face, reading, playing Beethoven on the piano, teaching my younger kids to play the piano, grocery shopping, buying thermoses so my kids could have better lunches, cleaning and organizing my house from top to bottom, shredding old documents, creating a budget after discovering I had accidentally overpaid one of my credit cards, planning meals with my older daughters, creating a chore chart with all my kids, exercising, writing query letters, getting caught up on all my laundry including hand washing my nylons to rid them of red wine stains from a week ago, binge watching Black Mirror, and correcting the poor bedtime behavior of my six year old daughter Sophia by offering the reward of going to see Moana and not giving in Saturday morning when she chose not to behave.
I also devoted my time to some introspection and being present in the moment. I laughed while watching Elf with my kids, and I listened intently when my eight year old daughter Olivia told me her Harry Potter name and that she took the quiz for who would be her Harry Potter boyfriend three times so the answer would be Harry Potter. In addition, I took my kids for hot chocolate after having fun outside, and after a stress-free bedtime on Saturday night, I rewarded them with seeing Moana the next day.
Now it’s Sunday night.
The younger kids are in bed, the older kids are doing their thing, and my self-imposed ban from social media is over.
And you know what?
So, I will return to social media, and I will do so unapologetically. Only this time, I will be more discreet, and I will not allow its intoxicating feel to overpower me.
At least for now.