Reason number one. The ugly truth. I am addicted to it. You are addicted to it. We are all addicted to it. You know how easy it is to get sucked into the endless stream of stimulation of new and interesting photos, videos, and ideas. Even if over half of my reactions to what I am scrolling are negative, I will keep going until I can get a hit of the good stuff. The content I am looking for. Somedays it is lazer cats, others it is deep posts about motherhood. Sometimes it is twitter screenshots of people out there talking about breaking intergenerational trauma and hell yes I double-tap that shit. But at what cost in my real life? At what cost to the other tasks at hand, parenting, gardening, writing, exercise, interactions with my husband, or even texting and calling people in real life? Most of the time I can regulate my scrolling and only give it a few idle minutes of my time, but then there are the times that half an hour or more is lost. Days, weeks and months where I cannot stand any idle moments with myself and my thoughts because my phone is my constant companion. Bathroom break? Gotta grab my phone. Running errands? Pick it up to scroll at the red lights...You get the idea. No. Idle. Moments... Maybe you are like me and you started out with rules around Social Media. I told myself when I started another Instagram account, that I would only get to scroll If I created a post first. That quickly went the way of the DoDo.
Reason number two. Everyone is selling something. When I am scrolling, adding friends and new followers I get a lot of unsolicited ads and DMs asking me for my time and attention, and if only I could give them a few minutes, they’d change my life with their product, tarot reading, or could I donate to their cause? Also, I have bought quite a few items from ads off of Instagram. Yes, I am discovering just how susceptible I am to targeted marketing, and though generally they are products I am interested in, I don’t like the fact I am being marketed to at all. There was a brief time in my life when I thought I might be able to make money off of the internet through coaching, classes or maybe just through ad traffic on my site, but I am realizing that I do not want to be another person out there promoting my wares. I don’t need to do it, and I realize it’s a lot more fun to do this for the sake of doing it and potentially connecting with like-minded weirdos, I mean friends, out there. Also, I am a minimalist for Pete's sake! The accumulation of new crap in my RV is telling me otherwise...For someone who is trying to break the habits of mindless consumerism, social media is not helping the cause. Truth is I do not need much to be happy, but watching everyone else and seeing all the ads for new products constantly is undermining my bottom line.
Reason number three. I compare myself too much to others. Someday I hope to outgrow this character defect, but I am not there yet. For example. I follow a lot of full-time RV families and I would see their immaculate, humongous RVs and started to think our older class C, with no slides or fancy new technology wasn’t good enough. I mean we had enough money to buy a new one, and the negativity began to fester. Then I pushed hard enough, and we bought a shiny new 5th wheel and truck to the tune of 150 thousand dollars…Okay, so that is not totally Social Media’s fault, but it was the icing on the comparison cake. We were only in it for 3 months and it is now in the shop, and we are back living in our class C and I actually prefer the smaller one. Go figure. We are going to sell it and the truck when it is all fixed up, but that is one very expensive mistake. Again, maybe we would have done this anyway, the grass can always be greener with or without social media. The idea that I am not as pretty, popular, or as good as others has been a common enough theme throughout my life, that Social Media can be a double-edged sword of connection and comparison. I needed a break to get back to my real life without the shiny pictures and videos for a little while.
Reason Four. Honestly, I just want to see what life is like without scrolling, like at all. I want to see what I do with my time when I am not constantly distracted by the endless depths of my feed. When I pick up my phone and there is nothing there for me that is just simply distracting, I find myself turning to at least the next level up. Cleaning has increased significantly, dealing with my day-to-day financial items such as canceling subscriptions, checking on my retirement accounts and student loan payments, calculating areas for savings in our grocery and personal lives and reading blogs, books and planning my garden and actual gardening have increased. I haven’t reached peak optimization of my life, but things are looking up.
On to my last reason (for now). I feel more connected to my life and the people in it. My husband has already said he likes this more available version of me better. I have found myself more engaged in my text-threads and initiating more engagement with my friends and family as a result of less social media use. It is as if I am saving my social energy for the actual people in my life versus using it all up on the strangers in my phone. On this same note, and perhaps it should be its own reason, I am less judgmental of the people in my actual life. You guys are probably all saints and feel nothing but love for all internet peoples and your favorite weirdos in your local life. I however, follow a lot of vegan activism accounts on Insta and I was starting to feel really isolated from the world of normal-eating people in my real life. Here are some facts, there is another family in my little town that is also in recovery and plant based and a few years ago, I thought for sure, we’d be a shoo-in to be their BFFs but lo and behold, they mostly ignore us. Turns out eating the same way, and having compatible personalities are not mutually exclusive. All of my friends are just average, run of the mill awesome people without being ultra-awesome herbivores like me. Though, yes, I would give them soooooo many high-fives and do a little squealy dance of utopian joy if they decided to ditch meat and go vegan, I will still love them and want to hang without having to convert them. Turns out I suck at being a plant-based activist. Go figure.
Though this post is still about my ongoing journey of letting go and trying to rock a little harder at life, I know I am not self-actualized yet. I hope it has helped you if you are trying to cut back or quit all the endless scrolling in your life. I gave up on Facebook a while back but have held onto Instagram to try to feel more connected, but it has left me feeling less connected outside of it. I know it is impossible to avoid all marketing, but I am trying to limit its influence on my bank account too by letting go of social media. Let me know your thoughts or comments and may the force be with you.