FOMO is more than a stupid acronym. It's REAL. SO REAL!!!! I texted a friend on day two and told her that I felt so out of touch with reality. She replied, "See the interesting thing is that you are more in the real world now..." I wanted to tell my friend to go to hell for being so wise. I wanted to tell her that the real world sucks...it's boring. I want the virtual world full of funny memes and entertaining stories. Honestly, I'm struggling to get my brain accustomed to more "silence." When I kicked myself off Facebook and Twitter, I shoved aside a constantly updated news feed of what my friends were up to, headlines from NPR and The Atlantic, articles from the many parenting blogs I follow, and lots of other worthless crap. On day five my husband asked me if I heard about Trump's latest crazy comment, and I realized that I hadn't read a single piece of news in five days. Because I'm also on my summer vacation, I'm not getting my two hour a day NPR fix during my commute to work. I had no idea what was going on in politics, world news, or state news. Apparently the Olympics has started.....I was a few days late to that party.
When I started the social media fast, I was most nervous to abandon my fledgling writing page. I've developed a small following, and I bring them funny/interesting/inspiring stories/memes/pictures/anecdotes three times a day. On Mondays, I scour the interwebs for share-worthy material and set out scheduling posts for the three times a day I see the most traffic. This summer I've been religious about this...in fact, I was more faithful with scheduling posts than I was with reading my Bible (#howembarrassing). On top of spending hours (I'm not even joking) maintaining my Facebook page, I also made it a point to do my own writing each day. I ended up submitting a new piece every other week. I spent approximately 20 hours a week doing all of this. Since the bulk of my social media fast has occurred during my two weeks of summer vacation, I've been busy enough with entertaining my two hoodlums that I haven't given much thought to my writing page. But today a reminder popped up on my phone to send an invoice to a website I write for with my social shares for a recent piece. I logged into my computer for the first time in 11 days to be greeted with a pop up boasting 87 Facebook notifications.
My brain short-circuited when I saw the number, and the curiosity of what these 87 notifications were damn near drove me to open up Facebook. I thought about using the invoice as an excuse....Here's a glimpse of my inner-dialogue:
Muckrack says you have 69 new comments on your infertility piece. (Insert middle school girl giggle as I quickly pick up on the irony of the number of comments and the topic of the piece...) You need to know what those 69 comments say because you owe it to these people to respond to them. They TOOK THE TIME to leave a comment. They probably think you are so ingenuine right now for not responding to them. Just go ahead and open that one Facebook post--writing is your job, you fool!
Just like FOMO is real, so is temptation to abandon our convictions. The world is not a disciplined place--it's full of people telling us to do whatever makes us happy, which really requires no restraint at all. What makes me happy is Facebook, donuts, gin and tonic, bacon, and making memes. I don't always like silence and solitude, vegetables, and running---but my life is better because of these later things. If I indulged all of the time, I'd just be frazzled, out of shape, and addicted. In place of my social media time, I'm trying to spend more time reading my Bible, so I'm working my way through the book of Isaiah. Last week this verse lodged in my brain, and I haven't been able to shake it since:
"This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: 'Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy..." (Isaiah 8: 12-13a).The older I get, the more I understand that loving Jesus means living differently, which requires a commitment to discipline. This is a hard truth to swallow. Even though I'm experiencing a real case of FOMO, and even if I lose some traction on my writing likeness Facebook page, I feel pulled to see this month-long fast until the end. I have a lot to learn about living simply, loving people well, and being obedient; I'm hoping giving up social media will allow me space to learn these essential lessons. And for real, what am I missing out on during this social media fast?! Even without Facebook, I've managed to keep in touch with friends. Temporarily tuning out politics has significantly lowered my blood pressure. I'm spending more quality time with my kids (we built a B.A. birdhouse today, y'all!). I'm reading more (I've got two books going at once...WHAT?!?!). My house is clean without me feeling crazy stressed about fitting it in between all the scrolling. And my thoughts--they're starting to be brilliant. I don't mean super smart or anything (don't count on that from me), but by brilliant I mean colorful and original and significant. What I'm gaining in this fast is more significant than what I'm losing.