March 1, 2013

saving my moments :: why i am keeping distance from social media

The other night, we were having a difficult time getting Jude to eat his dinner.  This scene is not rare in our home.  In a final attempt to make the idea of eating dinner novel and enticing, we offered that he sit in Daddy's chair instead of his booster.  He took to the idea quickly and climbed right up.

Then he got down, ran into the living room to get his toy cell phone, and climbed back up again, placing his cell phone next to his plate.

Because that's what daddy does.  And that's what mommy does.

We are intentional about not staring at our phones during mealtimes, but what this told me is how much he notices little things like where our phones are placed.  He notices that our attention is distracted by the little box that beeps and buzzes at every email, facebook notification, or instagram like.

And I hate that.

I've made my thoughts clear before, about my utter irritation with everything being connected with my iPhone.  I have thought many days that I want to chuck the thing and get a simple phone again, just so the noise would be drowned out.  Then I remember that I am grateful for the apps that have truly simplified my life.  Yet, those apps that simplify just lead me right back to that device that irritates me so some days.

Sometimes I think it is just how I am wired.  Introverted and often feeling the need to get away and have alone time and privacy, but in an always-social always-connected world, feeling the pressure to "show up" and "keep up".  And then other days, I think that it might be me that is the problem.  Because with a phone that does everything, I have a hard time saying "no" to it and disconnecting myself, even when I badly want to.  I often think it is probably more a self-discipline and heart issue that I must work through.

But I have been thinking a lot lately about the boundaries of my social life.  As I'm realizing that I need to save some things for myself and not share them with the world, I need to decide what that looks like for me.

It may mean that there are some sites that I stay off of completely.  For my own sanity and need for privacy.

It might also mean that make an intentional decision to NOT instagram that perfect photo, because I want to keep that one just for me.

It might mean that I don't check my email or facebook on purpose.

It does mean that the filter by which I share and consume is getting smaller.

Because, not only do I feel the pressure to "keep up" in the sense that I have a status update or an instagram picture to show just how cool my life is {ha. ha.}, my consuming of everyone else's awesomely cook lives doesn't slip by without a subtle hint of comparison.

It's true.

Social media is the new Joneses.

We share the best of ourselves.  Although some share the worst of ourselves (which I will say, nobody likes a facebook rant).  We keep the doors open to our lives, readily available at all times.  But I ask why?

I say I blog for the sake of sharing life.  But there is such thing as over-sharing.  But isn't there some value to saving some of it for yourself?  Saving some words for face to face conversations.  Saving a conversation to be over coffee instead of via facebook for the world to see?  And building a community with people you can invest deeply in their lives.  Not only those you see on a screen.

Along with saving moments is just being in the moments.  And allowing boredom to provoke wonder.  Instead of boredom leading us to consume consume and consume some more, the lives of everyone around us instead of building into our own.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to be careful of how I live my life online.

I recently went through some blogs and instagram accounts and tweeters that I follow.  I unfollowed many.  Because I asked myself why?  Why do I follow people that I know I will never speak to again. Bloggers whose tone is negative or flaunty and stirs up a side of me I don't like.  Posts that don't build me up, but only tempt me to compare or frustrate.  Or that simply waste my time.  (which I believe is valuable, as I now see how quickly it goes by)

Something I do promise here is to be real and honest and genuine.  But I also seek wisdom in what I post.  And when.  Knowing that some things will always be kept private.

How do I deal with this said, social media exhaustion?  I'm praying for more self-discipline and wisdom.  To be mindful of how I interact with it.  To put the dang phone down when I don't need it and to never mindlessly have my eyes glued to it, consuming nothing worthwhile.  To be mindful of what I let in.  Knowing that I don't need to follow this blog and that.  This friend on instagram and that.  It's my choice what I consume, and I'm going to be more selective.  I think, for me, it also means that I simply stop going to sites that are triggers for me to waste time and feel emotionally drained.

All that to say, I love the community that I have found here.  I love that you read and encourage and support me.  Writing out my thoughts helps me process and learn and appreciate the blessings in my life.  Encouraging and sharing life continues to prove that real friendship can be found across the country with kindred spirits that I would have never known otherwise.  So, I will continue to show up here with intention.

But, for you, if my blog becomes just one more thing to distract from what's best and important, only adding to the noise, please feel free to choose the better thing.  I won't be offended.

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