What I learned on my social media detox

Hello again! As you might know, I took my second annual social media break from December 15 till January 7.

flannery & mike in the snow

The Princess and her fiancé making a snowman!

It was rather heavenly, gang. Of course, I did miss you and seeing your news and chatting online with you. That’s the very best thing about social media—the ability to connect with readers so easily. But as we all know, hours can slip past as we scroll, click on links, read articles, chat with dozens of friends from around the world. Don’t get me started on Facebook Marketplace, which has filled the tag-sale hole in my world.

the kiddies

When all the presents are unwrapped…

Dearest Son thought that not only should I take a social media break…I should do a social media detox. That is, not go on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at all. Since he is wise, I followed his advice. In order to avoid the kneejerk “let me just see what’s happening” click, I hid my social media bookmarks. For three weeks, during the lead-up to Christmas, the holiday itself, the much-anticipated end of 2020, the Georgia run-off and yesterday’s horrifying breach of the Capitol, I didn’t check in. I do feel it’s my duty as a citizen to be informed of what’s going on in the world, so I wouldn’t commit to a news blackout. But, at Dearest’s suggestion, I started each day on the computer by reading good news, then limited my news time to a non-editorializing source, and only for a few minutes.

Here’s what happened.

I had a lot more time. Like…hours a day. I didn’t realize how much time can be sucked into the category of social media. I thought I spent maybe half an hour twice a day on SM. I was wrong. It was a lot more.

my certificate

It’s official! Who wants their hair done?

During this time, I decided to take an online class in something fluffy but something I enjoy—hair and makeup styling. Readers, I am now a certified wedding hair and makeup artist! It was really fun, and so different from my day job of being alone, in my head. Now I know about contouring and highlighting and pore-minimizing, back-combing and pancaking. I used Sainted Mother as practice, and she looked gorgeous, gang. Gorgeous.

the hutch

The after view.

McIrish and I restored a hutch. We’d bought it on (cough) Facebook Marketplace a couple months ago, and it was filthy, battered, scratched and wobbly. It is now clean, repaired, polished and secured, and I am dang proud of myself. (And McIrish, but we always knew he had those skills).

I did more housework. I love housework…as it says in my bio, I am the descendent of a laundress. My grandmother used to iron my grandfather’s socks. Stains were for the weak, she used to say. Sweeping up pine needles under the tree? Aaaah. So satisfying. Cleaning the stove with a toothpick? The song of my ancestors.

I talked more with my friends. On the phone, via Zoom, even in person in some cases. I helped one friend with an organizational project. I took walks with another friend, and with my husband, trying to get a bit more vitamin D in me.

I tried new recipes (mostly in desserts, but also in a meal or two).

I planned some details for the Princess’s wedding, things only a mother would think of…how to take care of her on her wedding day, how to soothe her nerves and make sure she enjoys the day and everything goes smoothly (and yes, how to do her hair).

I worked on my book. : )

While social media can be wonderful, it can also wall us off from the real world. With balance, it’s a great way to check in with friends and be a part of what is an undeniably real part of our lives: the digital world. But without balance, it’s a way to way to waste time, to fuss over what people are saying, to be gleeful voyeurs while people are skewered for their work or their views…people who aren’t important to your life. It can be a way to procrastinate from our jobs and distance ourselves from the people who might be sitting in the very same room with us.

So thank you, dear Declan, for your wisdom. Your mother loves and appreciates you and is going to find you and smooch you right now.

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