I have a lot of mixed feelings about social media.
On the one hand it’s an easy and convenient way to keep in touch with loved ones far away, to see what is going on in their lives and to communicate. It’s been great for staying in touch with siblings; I love both of my brothers but traveling to them (or them traveling to me) isn’t terribly practical either financially or physically. I have friends that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like and it helps keep me up with their lives as well.
On the other hand there are a lot of things about social media in general I find depressing. It lends itself to shallow, performative interactions that don’t make a lot of room for deeper connection if you don’t already have a deeper connection, so it does very little to further new friendships or relationships. It can be very navel-gazey. And if you’re a fairly quiet and/or reserved person, you quickly realize that you can disappear from it for weeks at a time and most people don’t notice. That’s surprisingly disconcerting.
So, this past week I ended up taking a break from it. It didn’t start out deliberate; we had a houseguest from Australia whom we’ve not seen in years so we both took the week off. He stayed a few days with us, then he and Buddy flew to San Francisco for a long weekend at a convention. We were too busy enjoying our houseguest to spend much time at all on the computer. We spent a day at Old Salem, NC.
Including getting to pet a very easygoing horse.
So after dropping them at the airport Thursday morning, I went home, took a nap, got up and did some fiddling around the house I’d been wanting to do and hadn’t had time, and mostly just goofed off. I did spend some time farting around on a couple video games I enjoy. And a funny thing happened – I realized I felt more cheerful than I have in ages. On a hunch, I decided to spend the rest of the week off social media
Friday I did some shopping; I wanted to get a few things for the house and for some projects I’ve been working on. I went and got the car washed. Picked up a few groceries. Did my shopping and took myself out to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant (I think this is the first time I’ve been in a restaurant for two years, with the exception of when we went to Connecticut for my SIL’s celebration of life service and to see my in-laws – certainly the first time in two years I’ve been in one by myself and I enjoy eating by myself in restaurants so I’ve missed that). It was a perfect Carolina spring day, sunny and just warm enough to be lovely. I got home, put the air bed away, transplanted my dill plant, did some maintenance on my hydroponic garden, and moved my basil and thyme outside (it’s FINALLY past frost danger!).
I’ll spare the long boring description of what all else I did with my weekend; the main thing was I stayed off of all my social media accounts and just enjoyed being in the real world. Nobody’s really noticed – nobody’s chatted me, or poked at me and I’m okay with that. That’s part of the toll you pay to be a quiet person in a world that never stops talking. I did spend a few catching up this morning on Twitter and I found it amazingly annoying. Lots of chatter and noise, not a ton of substance.
The pandemic hasn’t been as rough on me as it has a lot of people, I know. I like solitude and quiet and not having to make excuses for why I don’t want to go someplace or attend some function has been nice. Being able to work permanently from my home office has been fantastic, I get so much more done and it’s a lot less stressful when I can pause for a meezer snuggle break from time to time. But it was still really nice to go out and just interact with people and do normal things and eat lunch and take naps. I don’t think I really valued that as much as I could.