Adjusting to life Back Online
Plus my ship log from Life Offline
My holiday break was fairly chaotic in a way that is entirely typical for a holiday break with children. I saw friends, carted kids around, and spent time with extended family (and several additional young children). A wind storm blew a few trees down near our driveway, so we spent time cutting up the wood, moving branches, stacking logs. We cleaned before hosting and then we cleaned after hosting. Kinetic sand delighted the younger members of the household and kinetic sanded the adults. I oversaw the kids zooming around in their Christmas jeep hoping my 8YO’s ability to teach my 3YO how to drive was strong. I cooked, folded laundry, and tried to practice patience when I really would’ve preferred not to. (Say, when the toddler grabbed the bag of bread and ran through the house screaming about it not being the “right bread” and scattered crumbs all over the freshly vacuumed floor).
I also went through several piles of stuff that had been living on the landing leading up to our attic for months (years?). Brett reorganized the medicine/toilet paper/dog leash/mask closet. I knit. I read. I listened to podcasts. I ran.
What I didn’t do - not even once - was open Instagram or Twitter. I checked my email maybe three times.
I’ve written both here and here about my ongoing relationship with social media (as The Bachelor franchise likes to say, it’s been a journey!), but I find myself coming away with new insights every time I take a break longer than one or two days (which I try to do every weekend).
This time around, the first feeling to settle in around my bones was one of shrinkage, which initially sounds like a negative feeling to register, right? Who wants to shrink? It turns out, I really enjoy a little bit of shrinkage! Almost immediately, my focus and perspective started to shift. When I’m online (by which I mean checking Instagram, email, and Twitter multiple times a day), I find that my brain activity reflects the constant on and off motions. As I drift off to sleep, I unconsciously comb through my day for tweet-worthy material I might use the following day. During waking hours, I find myself unconsciously scanning my surroundings for objects or scenes that might translate into shareable “content.” It is very hard to feel fully off of social media if you were on it an hour before.