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What Happened When I took 1 Year off Social Media?!

What Happened When I took 1 Year off Social Media?! Gasp. Can you even imagine not being connected to social media?

This is one of the last photos taken before I went off of social media on Hollywood Blvd with my hubby
This picture was taken in the middle of Hollywood Blvd just a couple days before I started my hiatus

As I speak, I am exactly 20 days away from having taken a year off of social media.  I’m a social butterfly and enjoy being connected to friends and family all over the world. Previously I had “fasted” from socials for various things I was praying for, though never longer than a few weeks.    I’m aware this is not a new concept, I’ve seen loads of people do the “Bye, guys! Going off social for a bit” post. 

I was not as obsessive as some, and yet I did find it sucking my time away. Without even realizing, I’d look down and either Facebook or Instagram were open. Has this ever happened to you? It’s a twilight zone sort of feeling, and put a little check in my spirit every time it happened.  It’s not the whole reason I went off, just part of it.

My Social Media vacay was preceded by a year of the most frequent posting I had ever done.

The year prior, I had begun to be intentional on social platforms with marketing myself as a costume designer. I designed mainly for live shows and gala events for a decade. Most of that time I never took advantage of online promotion, silly I know.

I got serious, and learned how many times I should be posting, and how to hashtag to maximize my views. In addition, I did Insta stories almost non stop. While on tour I took every opportunity to post about my costumes. While in snowy Vermont, I even took shots of our wire walker, outside in her vintage two piece costume. At least part of her costume was a fur coat, all I can say is she was a trooper.(Click the photos below to see original IG posts)

I’m thankful to everyone else who accommodated me and understood the impact of marketing yourself on various media platforms. You all know who you are, thank you!   

I made good effort and only missed Insta stories a couple times. I couldn’t help but notice the posts I most looked forward to were ones about my hubby and I. Wether we were on tour, traveling for fun or posting about how we see God in our Marriage.

I realized I preferred posting about my hubby and I, not my costumes. Like this shot of me and hubby in London
Click This Picture to go to the original post pictured here

God called me to be intentional about my costuming, when I did, I realized I wasn’t really passionate about it.  I’m learning just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it’s your calling.  

The life transition that inspired my Social media break

My hubby was hired as a Disney Imagineer which allowed me to quit costume design and take a year away
My Hubby got a dream job as a Disney Imagineer. Here we are at the special opening of “Batu” Star Wars Land in Disneyland Park Ca

My hubby took a full time job with Disney Imagineering! I felt God telling me to lean into my passion, encouraging a love for God , marriage, homemaking, and travel.  I began to pursue starting this blog and using social media in ways that I loved. Eventually I want to do a podcast. (Update 5/17/24 The Podcast is in it’s 4th season)

Hubby’s job gave me the ability to not have to say yes to every costume project. This lead me to believe I’d have plenty of extra time to write and start my blog. Oh how wrong I was. I found myself so distracted by home projects and whether I should say yes to costume jobs. I was wasting away precious time scrolling social networks which I called “research”, to make myself feel better. God stopped me in my tracks and called me to a year of being still. 

He needed me to get a little more serious about what He had put on my heart. I needed to take some time re-calibrate how I was approaching my days and my future endeavors.

My much needed break was imperative as I begun cultivating better habits. Such as more time with God through prayer and reading His Word and being more present with people, as well writing consistently every week.

 I quit cold turkey, no goodbye posts.

This was the last post I made before getting off social media, no goodbye.
This was my last post on Instagram

How Hard was it?

Admittedly, the first month I still sometimes found various apps open out of habit, I would just close them. I moved them to the very last page of my phone. It was embarrassing to see how often I reached for it.   

My generation hasn’t always had technology, I was born in 1983. My hubby and I met, dated and got married all without having a computer, internet or social media.  We had cell phones, those old Nokia ones. Phone calls weren’t cheap so we really only used them for emergencies….or playing snake. If you know, you know.

This photo was taken in 2000 before social media existed. My hubby and I on a date.
This photo was taken in 2000 a few months after we started dating (with a disposable camera)

I’ve lived a fair part of my adult life without being connected to people via the internet. I might sound old fashioned, but I was reminded how sweet it is when something isn’t constantly occupying our minds.

I couldn’t help noticing so much more about the people and things going on around me.  For instance, since “smart phones” appeared, whenever my hubby would get gas, I’d often reached for it to kill time. When we were dating and first married, I would sit there and take in the surroundings, and ponder.

It was refreshing to have the space to think again.   

Now I’m getting the hang of it

After a couple months I was no longer reaching for any social apps. My appreciation grew as I basked in more free thinking time and having more time to accomplish things in general. 

I noticed people in the grocery store, had conversations with strangers about the weather or how good certain products were. There were little things I was picking up on I might have missed previously. I watched as an elderly man painstakingly bent down to pick up trash at the park and throw it away. In the grocery store, a mom taking time to patiently teach her young daughter how to shop. The list went on. 

My time with my hubby was so much richer! I loved going out on dates without anybody knowing where we were or what we were doing!  I was more focused in on the people who were actually in front of me. People who knew I was taking the break still reached out by texting or calling me more.

What Happened When I took 1 Year off Social Media?! More time with hubby uninterrupted, this shot was during me hiatus
Date day with my hubby during my 1 year break from Social Media
Was there a down side?

For the first several months I felt out of the loop in all aspects from friends to current events.  A dear friend lives about 65 miles away. In Southern California due to traffic and differing schedules it can hinder actual face to face time. I missed seeing her daily updates, and commenting about her kids. I wondered if she felt like I wasn’t present, one day I texted and said “I promise I’m still here”. 

My sisters or mom would talk about social posts that I was completely un aware of.  Because we don’t have TV, I was also out of the News loop. One day my Hubby said, “I hope your cousin is ok”. I was like, “Huh?”. Come to find out, there was a major hurricane set to hit his town. Because I wasn’t seeing posts from people and don’t watch the news, I had no clue. 

Another negative was noticing how many people spend too much time on their phones. People I knew and people I didn’t. This presented a challenge to have grace. I didn’t want to compare what God called me to do, against what they were doing.  On the up side, my hubby did keep me informed about important stuff. Friends who had exciting announcements, or were sick needing prayer, as well as major news stories which was appreciated.   

On the other hand, it was a benefit not having to navigate trolling and political opinions. Not having to decipher how to emotionally or mentally deal with it was a breath of fresh air.   

Month 4
This photo of us at Disney was fun and taken not to show the world but for us!
Month 4- My Birthday Month. We took a special trip to Disneyland

When month 4 rolled around I was really noticing how slow time was passing, not in a bad way. In a sweet, I’m milking these beautiful moments for all they are worth kind of way.   We were still taking a lot of photos just with a different intention. Simply for memory sake, for me and those enjoying the moments alongside me not to share it with the world.   Conversations and events with friends and family were more enjoyable, because I was more engaged and present. I got a new nephew and didn’t personally announce it. Me bragging as an Auntie was relinquished to people I actually ran into.

Month 6
Our 17th wedding anniversary was celebrated by us at a Lobster festival. This celebration day went on without a single post!
Month 6 at a Lobster Festival on our 17th Wedding Anniversary

As month 6 rolled around, I was really enjoying it. Believe it or not, I didn’t miss it. I was even starting to feel sad my social media break was half over. I wondered if I would be ready in 6 months to be back on? Could I trust myself to be moderate my social media use? Would I revert back to my old ways?

Living back in the good old days felt great, and I didn’t want it to end. God gently reminded me He would give me what I needed to carry out what He calls me to.

I didn’t post about our trip to Hong Kong

We headed into the holiday season with a work trip planned for Hong Kong over Christmas and New Years. We have traveled all over the world and usually loved sharing our trip even in real time on social media. With such an epic location I wasn’t sure how I’d feel not posting about it.

It was an epic adventure and I took plenty of photos to write up a blog post on it later.  Similar to date nights, I liked the anonymity of adventuring with my hubby and not giving a play by play. It reminded me of being on our honeymoon in Paris. Simply armed with a map of the city, a disposable camera, and cash from the money dance at our wedding.  

How do I feel now that my Social Media break is almost over?

I’ve been trying not to worry about what it will be like when I jump back into social media.

I wasn’t a hater of it before. I believe it’s important to be cognizant of how you use it. Considering it’s one of the main ways we communicate as a society, it’s important to have healthy boundaries. I think while it can be used for evil, God can use it for a lot of good too.  God placed me in this time in history for a reason. For now I believe He wants me to jump back in equipped with all I learned this past year. I want to use my memory of the “good old days”, to help me navigate this current culture with wisdom.

One of the last photos taken of me just days before coming back onto social media in March of 2020
This picture was taken March 13 2020. 15 days before the end of my social media break 5 days after I wrote this

What is my hope for the next 20 days? I will soak up the last bit of my “still” season and glean all I can from God. When I go back online again, I pray these things I’ve written over the past year are encouraging. I want my interactions on social to be for the purpose of being well…social. I hope to encourage and point people to Jesus. 

What am I expecting when I get back on Social Media

When I go on dates with my hubby I may post about it later, but not in real time. I plan to set boundaries with my time spent on it. This will allow me to continue to be present right whereI am at. I know I’m not perfect, going back on will be yet another learning experience, but I think I’m ready.

What happened when I took 1 year off of Social Media?! It has definitely taught me a lot! I’m happier and healthier for it. I’m confident as I navigate these waters, God will be with me every step of the way!

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