Of floss and roses

FB DeleteA lot has probably happened in the past 10 days. I bet people got married, had babies, moved to new cities, dressed up for Halloween, went on vacations or business trips, ate a bunch of food and drank a bunch of Starbucks. I bet that happened. But I didn’t witness any of it.

I’ve been off of Facebook and Instagram for the past 10 days in the hopes that I could create some kind of healthy boundaries with my Social Media usage.

10 days into this little hiatus has taught me a lot. The first day was particularly hard because it began the process of breaking me from being a CPC (compulsive phone checker). It was bad, guys. Every 20 seconds I’d mindlessly punch in my passcode and click on apps that I had browsed through LESS THAN A MINUTE AGO.

Related: I don’t get a lot of email.

As the days wore on though, I started picking up on things I had missed during the hours I spent glued to my phone screen.

1. “Nothing” Moments – These are the repetitive shenanigans of your every day that I suspect will shape you more than all the special occasions combined. Like the last few minutes of my bedtime routine. I just love puttering around and chatting about nothing with John while we floss (just another example of how he’s more of a grown-up than I am. I remember him pulling out the box of floss ON OUR HONEYMOON and I tried to act like that was totally a thing I did all the time too, OBVIOUSLY. Til my gums started hemorrhaging). I like running up and down the hall dangling a string behind me and chuckling as my cat transforms from a lethargic pillow to a raging string-killing machine. I just like 9:30pm.

2. “Enough” Moments – These came to me more readily than ever before when I stopped compulsively checking Social Media. I began to appreciate all the things I had. The people in my community and the clothes on my back and the food in my belly. It was so easy for it to be enough when I wasn’t holding up my number of ‘likes’ for that status or photo to someone else’s. I really struggled sometimes to disentangle my self- worth from the impact of my words. That doesn’t mean I’m never going to write another funny Facebook status (you can’t stop me), I just need to learn to not  fret over it and wonder-what-people-think over it. When I was plugged into a lifestyle that was constantly (remember that every 20 seconds thing?) measuring up my own life with someone else’s, it was exhausting, frustrating, and discouraging. There’s a difference between having a genuine interest in another person’s life and having a genuine interest in what they think about yours. 

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More happy companions from my rose-smelling adventure.

3. “Humanity” moments – I like the way a dad plays with his infant son on the swing set. I like how awkward middle schoolers are when they do… everything, I like the way an older woman carries herself as her gray hair shimmers on her morning walk — she’s seen a lot, but she still smiles at the young 20-something who just jogged by. I like people. I lost sight of the breathing, moving, foot-stepping, high-fiving world around me. So when I went for a walk on the weekend, I literally stopped to smell some beautiful roses. I just stopped, shoved my nose into someone else’s private-property shrubbery and took a big WHIFF. I remembered that there is no substitute for the life that is happening all around me.

I still love Social Media and have every intention to reintroduce it back into my life. I know and have experienced unexpected and wonderful connections through it and truly love sharing my life with people.But this time it will come with limits and boundaries.

I’ve become quite fond of like a protective mama bear about my flossing and rose-smelling moments. This is the stuff I want to gather into my memory and tell my kids about. This is my silly, small, blessed corner of the universe.

If you’re struggling with discontentment, you might be like how I was — constantly checking your phone to make sure your image is in tact. Maybe you feel like your life is unmanageable or is racing ahead of you faster than you want it to. I don’t know what your dealing with right now but maybe it’s time to unplug for a bit. To stop and remember that you were put here on purpose and it was for more than just managing your online life.

Smell the roses, reader. You won’t regret it.*

*unless you’re allergic to pollen or other plant-dust things, in which case keep this exhortation metaphorical