Reclaiming My Time

“I’m reclaiming my time!” has to be my favorite quote of 2017 and I am as serious as Auntie Maxine with its usage.

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photo credit: stepbystep.com

Last month, I met a fellow blogger, was introduced to her blog then read a post that changed my life. For those that aren’t ready to face the man in the mirror, the gist of the post is the sad reality that companies are spending BIG money and great effort to get and keep us addicted to our devices. Shocking! And, like everything else that feels good, we’re falling for it. I guess television, Big Pharma, the food industry and constant encouragement to buy buy BUY aren’t cuttin’ it, uh? We’re quickly becoming (if we’re not already there), a zoned out nation of drones getting high off likes instead of life.

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photo credit: charlesngo.com

The linked article states that we check our phones, on average, 46 times a day. Let’s say you get a blissful eight hours of sleep; that means in the 16 hours you’re up and at ’em, you’re checking your email, texts, like count, new subscriber count and your friends’ latest posts, etc about three times an hour! That’s e v e r y 20 m i n u t e s, y’all! And you know you’re not logging in for just two minutes! I mean when you break it down like that, it’s pretty gross, right? And it never fails, every time I’m on the highway, someone is swerving, braking in light traffic or driving way under the speed limit; most of the time when I give them a looksie, a phone is in their hand! You’re telling me whatever is on your phone is more important than focusing on operating a two ton vehicle??! Come on!

When did we get here? And how do you know if you’re addicted to social media? I mean I guess if you have to ask yourself if you fit the bill, then most likely you..
After reading this article, I can shamefully say that I am a functioning phone and laptop addict and a part-time social media addict. (It’s a thing.) But why? Unless it’s for advertising, why do we stage photos solely for the gram? Why do we get mad on vacation, or even at the coffeeshop, when there’s no wi-fi? Why are women posting pics of themselves turned around taking booty pics in the bathroom? Why, sis? Whatchu sellin’? I have a few theories:

  • Lack of self-worth/confidence booster. I know it’s easy to believe, but somehow I became one of the cool girls in high school. I’m pretty sure it was by association, but still. I realize that what I experienced half my lifetime ago, people are just now getting thanks to social media. (Sidenote: This is a big reason why I’m grateful social media wasn’t a thing when I was in school; At 13, I got my sister’s hand me down Nokia that was solely used to call my parents to pick me up.) They’re racking up cool points and carrying conversations that they never got from their classmates or boyfriends or friends by simply posting a foreign sunset or relatable meme. A thousand strangers friends agree with you or they’re telling you you look great, and dammit, it feels great. I would say it’s harmless and natural to want to be seen, heard and praised by your peers, but it can have the opposite effect if your like count is “low.” (See #4 on the linked article.)
  • Boredom. Social media is the other battery operated boyfriend (or girlfriend). The wormhole can go pretty deep as you click away and discover, experiencing the entire spectrum of emotions for just a few seconds each. You can be very enlightened, inspired, angered or simply distracted to pass time.
  • Fear of missing out (also known as fomo) and not fitting in. Some people get a little smug about reporting the “news” first. Your account has turned into a mini newsfeed, and just like action news, you want be first on the scene. If it happened this morning, it’s old news. If you haven’t heard about it, you’re out of the loop. If you’re not (re)posting the article or photo, you are ignorant and surely know nothing about blank blank blank. All your “friends” went to this event and tagged each other..Didn’t you see my post, girl? My psychology teacher said we love to be included and simultaneously exclude others, which I find to be true at Social Media High School. But really, with all of this incoming information, what percentage of it affects you directly? How does having this knowledge feel? Do you feel obligated to (re)post to prove yourself? Is there some prize to knowing a tiny fraction of everything? If so, I need in.

Life is too short to worry about what people who exist in a free app in your phone think of you. – Debra Lynne

  • Vicarious living. Let’s face it: some people don’t have a life. Social media allows us to be super nosey without being called a creep. I may be one of those people sometimes, or maybe I just take pleasure in seeing seemingly positive people seemingly enjoying themselves? Social media can be like an all-emcompassing, free digital magazine. I’ve definitely been inspired to try a new restaurant or add a country to my bucket list due to social media.
  • Habit. I think habit is my biggest reason for my so-called addiction. I don’t even think about it when I pick up my phone. I realize I haven’t logged in today or in a few hours, so I just do it, even if I’m not inspiration hunting or intending to post.

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Meeting the author and reading Smartphones are the New Smoking (and me basically questioning my entire adult existence) took place just TWO DAYS after I called my girl Tash for her birthday; neither of us do facebook and she said she loves when people call her with birthday wishes; that means facebook didn’t prompt them. C’mon, y’all! If that ain’t a sign!

She also said she’s trying to maintain better connections outside of the screen. This gem! Who says that? People (I’m talking about GROWN folks, y’all–with debt and kids and 401k’s!) are so quick to say lemme follow you on _____________ instead of exchanging numbers to have tea or lunch–or even just check in sometime. Why??! If I want to connect with your online representative, I should want to connect with you in the physical world first, right?

 


 

It’s a virtual reality, my friends. You can be and say whatever you want in social media land. No one has to see your dark, unlikeable side. I know I don’t want social media to get weirder and more intrusive before I get myself together. I’m currently on the no-phone-for-one-day-a-week-challenge and doing more constructive things with all my newfound free time! It’s sad that I didn’t even consider this an option. And it’s sadder that I consider this a challenge, but it’s gotten easier since it’s become more of a habit. Plus now I won’t take it personally when I don’t get a text or call back before yo behind is posting on social media, you know, cuz I won’t be on there.

In closing, I want to offer a few suggestions to those of you who–like me–want to alter their social media + gadget habits for the better. Along with Antres’s suggestions, I recommend we rest our thumbs and:

  • Call a friend instead of scrolling through his feed to see what he’s up to.
  • By the looks of some of the selfies I see taken inside living quarters, it’s always a good time to clean house. No shade, I’m just sayin.
  • Go for a phone-free walk.
  • Make a meal or prep your meals for the week.
  • Read a book.

I thank the sisters I mentioned for this enlightenment + encouragement. And I thank you all for making blogging much cooler than all other social media platforms combined.

Are you honest enough to say you’re an addict? Maybe you used to be?
Maybe you’re becoming one?!

photo source; no copyright infringement intended

 

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48 thoughts on “Reclaiming My Time

  1. Yes ! I often have to find myself going on IG (only social media I have, aside from WP) hiatuses because the addiction is real. Sadly, you don’t even notice how bad it could be but I notice the moment I’m back on social media after months of being away from it, IG easily become my most used app again. Horrible! I rarely see anything new as I just looked 2 minutes ago and many things I see aren’t teaching me anything new, just a bunch of ratchetness that I don’t have in my own life. —- thanks for sharing this. Love your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, Nickkie! Thanks for your honest testimony and the kind words.
      Hiatuses are great though; even if you can only do a few hours or days at time, that’s a start. I usually find that I’m not missing anything that will impact my life five days from now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I finally killed my Facebook off a few weeks ago. Couldn’t be happier…I have to admit I still get sucked into youtube at times. But…it seems such a different animal.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Facebook became a haven for passive aggression and facelessly abusing one another with insults. It got to where I could hardly read a thread about something simple like a dog rescue or recipe without it becoming about people violently attacking one anothers opinions, sensibilities, intelligence or appearance. And I also realized I had started posting to a small group of close friends only, where no one else could see it, and that I only truly followed about 5 people from my “friends” list. If something is that anxiety inducing and negative why have it. I dont miss what it became but I miss what it was ages ago before people merely registered their disgust with the world daily. Youtube is so valuable for music and laughs, and you rarely ever have to read ANY comments unless you look for them!!…That’s a lot but…no, I’m glad Ive let FB go.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You did say a lot, but it all makes perfect sense. I deleted mine during the 2012 election season for the same. exact. reasons. For people I thought I knew to glorify trivialities and pounce on every opportunity to argue got old very quickly. The worse thing about it is we’re talking about adults here.

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          1. Yes! I streamed that election online so I could enjoy it and didn’t have to listen to anyone on Facebook. And all these years later, the people on there have only gotten WAY worse. Very disheartening. It was finally time that I’d met my limit.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the re-blog lovely! I appreciate it. We’re definitely all guilty. I don’t realize how much time I spend on social media until I take a break, then miraculously, all of this free time appears and I want to pay more attention to everyone around me. Thanks also for the tips. It’s like we don’t know how to be human beings anymore. It’s a rabbit hole for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course! I think that post will forever be a great reference.

      Thanks for reading. I think about what we all did before social media and it really wasn’t so bad. I just know I feel more connected to people, our conversations are less likely to be misconstrued and we’re making a memory together when we’re face to face.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And also…since it’s such a great phrase…after seeing this, I can only hear those words with this melody 😂😂😂 So useful in so many situations…hope this link shows up…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “By the looks of some of the selfies I see taken inside living quarters, it’s always a good time to clean house. No shade, I’m just sayin”
    Wordddd lol background mad messy.
    Like a commenter above said a hiatus is necessary with social media. And once you’re off it for a week or two you don’t even miss it and actually do productive things with your time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hmm, I’m old enough to not be sucked all the way in. However, I might be like a functioning wanna be tech junkie. If that makes any sense.
    I got a new computer recently. I have my non-tracking & other filters set very high. So, my pc remembers no one. It seems I am … like in the old days when you had to write everyone’s phone # down, or just remember it. 1 by 1 I am using my memory to find people, not my pc’s memory. Thank you for visiting my blog. Now I have your address in my memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this makes sense! Good for you. There’s power in using our brains that is going to waste because GPS systems, contact lists and search engines are doing all the memorizing… and these systems are based off of our brains! The irony. Some of us would be very lost if it all shut down for even an hour.

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  7. I really pray and hope that people read and take heed to this message.

    People laugh at flies and insects and claim that they’re so stupid, but humans are just as dodo’d brained as they are. Think about it. Flies are attracted to light, right. What is that emanating from the phone, TV or computer screen? You guessed it, light. The bad part is that people’s energy is being harvested younger and younger these days.
    I broke away from Facebook years ago. I now only have that and all the other forms of social media because I have this blog. If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t indulge in any of it. Bad part is I don’t have any of the social media apps on my phone. And I know that I have a message that needs to be heard and that’s where the people are at, but i can’t bring myself to posting on them. I’m so anti.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, Cliff. People don’t see that their time + attention is no longer their own. We are told what to think, what to look at, what conversations and opinions to have and told WHEN to do all of these things. It’s crazy.

      And I feel you on social media; it’s a great tool to spread the word and you can’t really have a business now without using at least one app, right.

      Thanks for reading + sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your first comment is so true. Even though I don’t watch TV, I’ll occasionally watch YouTube videos about some form of knowledge. But even that is given to you by some form of algorithm. Like they’re controlling what knowledge you hear. And even on the conscious videos, i don’t know these people. who is to say they’re not here to mislead the people.
        And uggghhhh, yes. you gotta have one app. I’ll get on it. even though I said that to you a hundred times already.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m currently doing an FB/Twitter fast right now because it was a lot of noise in my head. And, yes, sometimes I think I have a slight addiction (esp to Twitter) because I don’t even like it all that much and yet I keep finding myself on there. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve done it.. never from snapchat, but facebook. And I actually didn’t miss it enough to return. It really is mind over matter! Think about your life before social media was a thing..

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