Two weeks ago I hesitantly deleted every social media app off my phone. Then, I locked my phone and let out a big sigh. Was I really going to be able to survive two weeks without my digital addiction?
I’m a millennial. In other words, I’m practically programmed to love social media. Aside from my inherent attachment to social media, my career practically requires me to be present on social media. I can’t tell you how many times social media has helped me further my career. But like anything in life, social media has its faults, like the ability to satisfy my desire for attention while simultaneously making me crave more attention. Or making me want to spend a night out documenting everything on social media instead of actually living in the moment. I knew my habits were toxic, and I needed to fix them. So, I decided to take a two week hiatus from social media.
So at 8 A.M on a Monday, I deleted Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat off my phone. I know what you’re thinking, 8 A.M on a Monday is a perfect time to cut off your social media lifeline. With a little bit of bitterness, I plopped my phone down and got ready for the day.
Unsurprisingly, my morning routine took half as long as it usually did. I didn’t drag out my breakfast by scrolling through Instagram, and I didn’t take a break between eating breakfast and getting ready to update Twitter on my Monday blues. Instead, I gave all of my undivided attention to getting up, ready, and out the door.
My first day out and about without social media was even stranger than my morning. Everywhere I went, I saw countless people scrolling through their phones. At first, I had major FOMO. I felt like everyone shared an interesting secret and I was the only one who didn’t know it. But then, my anxiety settled and I realized I could actually take advantage of my social media hiatus. Instead of being distracted from what Kylie Jenner is doing on Snapchat or what my favorite influencer was tweeting, I could focus on connecting with the people around me.
I would be lying if I said every day was as eye opening as the first day. Some days seemed uneventful. And on the eventful days, I wanted to showcase my life to the world. But, I couldn’t. I couldn’t capture and post the proud moment when I perfected my wing eyeliner for the first time in my life, or when my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to one of my favorite bands. Instead, I kept my pride and excitement to myself and the people who happened to be around me at the time.
As the second week came to a close, it was almost bittersweet knowing I could re-download all my social media apps and reconnect with the digital world. In some ways, my social media hiatus was enlightening. While I initially disliked the idea that I couldn’t stay connected with everyone and keep everyone updated, I realized the world doesn’t need constant updates. Yes, I managed to procrastinate and overthink without tweeting it. Yes, I ate picture-perfect food without uploading it to Instagram. And yes, I really went to the bar even though I didn’t Snapchat it. Instead of focusing on proving to the world I was connecting with people and having fun, I was really able to connect with people and have fun.
Even though my social media hiatus left me feeling less anxious and stressed, I can’t say I wasn’t ecstatic to check my timelines. But I can say, I definitely didn’t miss any of the melodramatic Facebook rants people from my hometown love to do. Then again, who doesn’t find guilty pleasure in an overdramatic rant? I know I do.