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while i was away

I wish that taking a month off from social media felt like less of a big deal. The older and wrinklier I get, the more I aspire to be the kind of person who gives Twitter a good side eye, who gave up Facebook years ago. I’m not that person, though. I’m of a different age. The generation of Xanga, AIM, diaryland, and Livejournal. Now it’s Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr, but you know what? It’s still all a time suck. So I gave up Twitter and Facebook for the month of August. Just because.

In May, I posted about posting less here. A week into my social media fast – as I didn’t check Twitter, check Facebook, OR update my blog – I realized that I was, apparently, trying to disappear (from the interwebs) completely.

What can I say. I’m of an age.

Taking a break did reduce my tendency toward Internet-induced rage. It provided a minor release from that whole click-refresh-check-click-refresh thing that stirs up one’s concentration. It was harder to make the decision than it was to execute. It was kind of novel to hear all of my social and pop culture news secondhand… I didn’t know what an ice bucket challenge was until last week.

It’s September now and I’m feeling ambivalent about those social mediums. Eh. Eh. Eh. I am feeling less ambivalent about this here blargh, but I’m still trying to work out the when and the how of all that. But either way, summer is almost done and I’m back etc. Here’s some stuff that happened while I was gone.

 

While I was away I learned…

  • Facebook will actually hunt you down if you don’t visit for awhile. I had The Boy change my password. Facebook emailed me a half dozen times in a month to tell me I had notifications (even though I don’t usually get emails for my notifications). And sometimes if I clicked the email links, I could get into my Facebook. Without a password. SPOOKY.
  • I suffer from anxiety-related social media usage. How did I learn this? Well, aside from catching myself trying to log on so. many. times. (embarrassing)… I also noticed a SIGNIFICANT uptick in my hypochondriacal googling. I diagnosed myself with so many different diseases in August! So many! I’m actually dying.
  • Deciding to stop was absolutely much harder than the act of giving it up. Didn’t miss it.

What I did instead:

  • Did 6 days in Michigan visiting the family.
  • Re-watched the first 4 seasons of Breaking Bad. SO I CAN FINALLY WATCH SEASON 5.
  • Listened to the Jersey Boys soundtrack more times than is probably healthy.
  • Spent the night in Vermont to attend the beautiful wedding of two of my cutest friends.
  • Hit 100 books read in 2014.
  • Wrote some book reviews.
  • Quality time with The Boy before his vacation came to an end.
  • Celebrated 5 years living in Boston (!)

Other, more normal stuff happened too. Working. Gym. Cooking. Peach-petting. I received two bits of professional good news in the same week, of which I may disclose later (much later). I spent a lot of time on parts of the Internet not-Twitter and not-Facebook. I turned up the heat on my 200 words goals and fell way behind, but in return I may have found a story I want to tell. So I’ll say what everyone says when they do something mildly puritanical for a fixed period of time: it was good. It was uniquely, unreproducibly good. You should try it, and see what happens.

4 Comments

  1. Steph says:

    I’m really glad you blogged about this, because I too am Of That Age where social media seems… extraneous, but also curiously intertwined with how I’m living. I have many questions and if I were still in Boston, I would try to cajole you into telling me all about it with sangria or the like. My biggest question: Did (how did) you tell your close friends about this? It always feels really silly to announce that I’m taking a break from social media, but I want them to know that I’m not there and PLEASE DON’T FORGET ME. And congrats on the successful away time and the professional Good News!

    • jessica says:

      Well, I posted a sayonara on Facebook on Twitter, but that was aboooooout it. I’m not super active on Facebook, so it wasn’t like real-live family and friends would be looking for me – anyone who really needs to get a hold of me has my phone number/email. Also, it was only 30 days! I couldn’t imagine anything pressing that I would miss out on in 30 days. I just pretended like I was going on a 30 day hike in the woods or something, and I imagined everyone would just be like “oh, Jessica is gone, she’ll be back when she’s out of the woods.” So it was more tamping down my own anxiety that was imagining my choice was some huge disaster/inconvenience than anything else!

      Also…. yeah, come back to Boston! We have archives here, you know. And sangria 😛

  2. Ms. Yingling says:

    Older and wrinklier? I could be your mother! I have sweaters that I bought in 1985 that I still wear! Just wait until you hit 45 and bags develop inexplicably under only one eye.Enjoy what you have now.

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