Friday, January 30

The End (?)

Are you guys sick of me yet?

Clearly not, because you're here. (Which reminds me, if you are still here, I think you're pretty great.)

Anyways, this post is going to be a follow-up to my recent post from exactly one month ago about my decision to get off social media (I mean this one). 

To clarify, yes, I'm back on social media to some extent now, but I'm being careful with it.

Honestly I feel almost like a recovering addict. I'm distinctly aware of how easy it would be to slip back into all of the drama that I was trying to escape, and I really don't want that to happen.

So here are the things that I learned during my hiatus, and how I plan to act accordingly.

1. While I was gone, I got things done in real life.

I didn't even miss getting my daily Facebook fix while I was gone, because I was too busy doing homework and practicing piano and reading good books and reading stupid books and running and going to the gym and drawing and painting and cleaning out my closet and writing and thinking deep thoughts and listening to awesome music and going outside and shopping and drinking coffee and taking pictures just to take pictures without posting them and actually talking to people with my mouth and GUESS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU AREN'T OBSESSED WITH YOUR FAKE INTERNET LIFE?

You start truly living your life in the real world. And the real world is kind of an awesome and beautiful place.

How will this affect my future use of social media? Well, that's easy enough: I'm cutting way back on Internet and getting as much real life as I can.

2. While I was gone, I realized that all I missed was the attention.

Let's face it: social media gives us the chance to make people pay attention to us, and we enjoy that. Getting tons of likes on a post makes me feel important and popular.

But really, how pathetic does that make me?

(Side note: Girls, I promise you are beautiful and valuable. I've been there. I know that if I'm feeling a little down in the dumps, posting a selfie with a witty caption is a surefire way to get tons of immediate validation from all my followers who all totally care about me in real life (*cough* sarcasm *cough*) You don't need scads of likes and shallow compliments, because you shouldn't be measuring your beauty and worth by how much attention you get on Instagram. *steps off soapbox* *steps back onto different soapbox*)

Like I said before, I did a lot of stuff while I was busy not constantly checking Facebook, and while I was doing all this fantastic stuff I discovered a quote from who-knows-who that I thought was interesting. (Dear Who-Knows-Who, I am giving you the best citation I can manage - you would make it easier for me to give credit where credit is due if you would put your name on your work.)

"Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers; but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead." - Who-Knows-Who

Once I got past my frustration with Who-Knows-Who's choice not to utilize the Oxford comma, I realized that I had gotten ridiculously caught up in the numbers involved in social media. I could tell you in a heartbeat which of my Instagram photos has scored the most likes. And while I still think it's cool to get a lot of likes, I'm trying to change my attitude about it. My focus needs to be real people in real life and trying to show real love to real people, not selfishly trying to get followers that I don't even know to like pictures that don't even matter.

So how am I dealing with this? Mainly I'm just trying to be conscious about the motives behind my posts being right. I'm specifically trying not to have such an elitist attitude about my Instagram feed. Maybe one of these days I'll even post a #nofilter photo... I'm also cutting back on how much I check my Instagram. (This was accomplished almost involuntarily when I downloaded that Disney Tsum Tsum game and became immediately, hopelessly addicted.)

3. While I was gone, I missed some important stuff.

It wouldn't be fair of me to only bash social media. While I was gone I definitely noticed some things about it that were beneficial and made my life a little easier. For example, I've been in charge of planning events for my graduating class, and I missed some time-sensitive communications from folks in the group who didn't have any other way to contact me. Different social media sites offer some great ways to make easy connections with people, and that's generally a good thing.

Plus, we all know Facebook is the number one way to confirm someone's relationship status. Who knows how many engagements and officially-becoming-a-things I missed in a month? (A brief note here: This one is 50/50 in my book because there's a fine line between legitimate curiosity and downright nosiness.)

I know that for "business purposes", I kind of need to be on Facebook so I'm available to people. But I also have a tendency to get carried away on Facebook. One thing leads to another, and before I know it, a "quick check" turns into a two-hour stalkfest. 

How I chose to deal with this is that I chose not to give myself easy access to Facebook from my phone. I do have the Facebook messenger on my phone so I don't miss any important messages anymore, but in forcing myself to either get on the computer or use my phone's snail-paced Internet browser, I've managed to eliminate almost all desire to check Facebook. I generally get on once or twice a day now. (So if I like something you post, either I'm totally stalking you or your post just happened to show up at the very top of my news feed.)

Those are the three big things that I realized about my social media use during my break. Despite the fact that I'm back now, taking a complete break for a few weeks was wonderfully refreshing. I would highly recommend some time away to anyone who is interested to get a new perspective on social media use. I hold true to my previous statement that the most important thing to keep in mind is that social media sites create an artificial environment. Once you start having more of your interactions in real life, it becomes obvious how little worth those Internet connections truly have.

I honestly feel like this is a huge issue that a lot of people struggle with, so I sincerely hope that something that I've said will strike a chord with someone, and that I'll be able to help in some small way.

I think this will be the last post about my whole journey with social media self-discovery and all (I'm still not a hippie, I promise). I imagine you guys are ready for me to talk about something else already (I know I am). This has been kind of a fun little venture into the world of serious blogging, but I do hope to return to more light-hearted topics in the near future. *much rejoicing*

Until then, everyone's assignment is to go outside and do something cool - and not Instagram about it.

Sunday, January 4


I would never tell you I'm a procrastinator, but I'm starting to think my subconscious is. I generally do some sort of post that tips its virtual hat to traditional New Year's goings on.

(This is what the virtual hat looks like, in case you were wondering. Dapper monocle dog not included.)
However, I have generally done this hat-tipping post a little closer to January 1st... Generally by now I've already given up on any silly resolutions that I've made and I'm so over the new year.


I'm actually still pretty excited about this year. Even though school starts this week and I'm having difficulty coping with that, I think this will be an interesting year (hopefully in a good way).

(Oh and in case my last gargantuan post scared you, this one will be as short and to the point as I can manage - fear not.)

I know I have some big and scary things ahead of me this year, but what really intimidates me about this coming year is that not only will I be dealing with some pretty big stuff, no matter how thoroughly I think I have prepared for my future, I still know not what a day may bring forth. And if there's one thing I hate, it's not knowing what I'm doing. Nothing throws me like being in an unfamiliar situation and not knowing what to expect or what's expected of me.

As I consider how clueless I really am about my future, I think about the story of Job in the Bible. I doubt if Job woke up one day and thought, "Wow, today is the day that God will take away the people I love most and all of my worldly possessions, casting me into such deep depression that I resent the day that I was born."

It certainly hasn't been my experience that God lets me know every struggle that I'll face ahead of time. But I also don't think that I want to know.

One common characteristic among humans is a blissful lack of awareness of how weak we are. This combined with "common sense" telling us to prepare for our future as much as possible leads me to the conclusion that if we knew everything we would have to deal with ahead of time, we would foolishly try to handle it in our own strength. 

And undoubtedly, we would fail.

So even if Job had known ahead of time how God was going to try him, what could he have done differently that would have helped? (Trick question - the answer is nothing.)

I've read a lot of stories about people who have accomplished amazing things, and it always strikes me kind of funny when one of those people says, "I didn't know it couldn't be done, so I just did it!"

I feel like that's kind of how we should approach our uncertain future. Yeah, there are going to be things dropped on me that I'm not expecting right now. (Mainly because all I'm expecting right now is to struggle through calculus class, make an idiot of myself in public speaking, graduate in May, and start college in the fall - so there's lots of room in my year for unexpected situations.)

We don't know what's going to happen, so we can't possibly know how to prepare for it completely.

But returning to Job, here's something I can know.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. (Job 23:8-14)

My Savior is faithful, and His strength is made perfect to me in weakness. The Bible even teaches us to rejoice in our infirmities because Christ is magnified in us when we're weak.

Luck may favor the prepared, but God favors those who trust in Him.

So yes, I'm a leetle nervous about what might happen this year, but I also realize that while God will do what He will do, I won't have to handle it alone. Which is good, because I'm starting to realize that I'm kind of bad at things that are actually important.

I'm going to rip off last year's hat-tipping post and continue my decision that rather than making resolutions for the new year, I'm going to focus on a principle that I really want to remember through this year. 

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:11-12)

God is always faithful.