A Deliberate Life

Really bad photo I took with my phone of an excerpt out of a book called Alone Together by Sherry Turkle (page 275)

So this Facebook strike I’m on (I told you I would come back and talk about it)……today I’m almost at 5 weeks without Facebook access and this has certainly given me a lot of quiet time in my mind to think about some of the most important things in my life.

My life.
My marriage.
My parenting.
My friends.
My family.
My home.
Wow. Lots of things needing some thinking and attention. 
I had been floating. Mentally and emotionally and spiritually. And I didn’t realize it because of all the noise that social media creates for me. 
Now, please understand that I am still very present online. We have lots of new things going on at the homefront/moving status that have happened in the past week and a half and I am pinning on Pinterest like a mad woman as I find ideas and room layouts and paint colors that I’m digging. 
I’m on Twitter but only check it out a couple of times a week to catch up with the latest buzz in the handmade & crafting & blog world. But honestly, Twitter is too fast and too detailed for me in small bursts for me to hang around for very long. It’s a nice catch-up of the RIGHT NOW.
I’m also on Instagram, because seriously….who can’t resist posting some pics of their kids once in awhile? Can I hear an Amen? ; )

My mom follows me on IG and a handful of real-life friends and a lot of blogger friends so it’s nice to keep a smaller amount of people caught up that actually seek me out on there. IG being just photos  makes it easy for me to not get all crazy up in there with my time.

I’m learning, through this fast (of my biggest social media addiction), that I was crowding God out. Since I turned it off – literally deactivating my FB account – I have had such peace in my mind. And openness for thoughts. I have been speaking to God more often throughout my day and taking the time to speak to the kids more about Him on a regular unplanned basis and it has felt so nice. I’ll write more about that tomorrow though. 
I briefly mentioned our trip to Destin in an earlier post and before we left I checked out a few books from the library. (I’m wondering how many posts I write that involve me talking about a book? hmmm.)

Anyway, I was perusing the books and came across this book called Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. It’s premise is that we are sitting in our homes ALONE while having a false sense of being TOGETHER with others because of social media and the tricks it plays on your mind. I didn’t get a chance to actually read it before it was due back at the library but I skimmed it and love the quote from it that I posted above. It just jumped out at me and I just kept nodding my head. Yes. YEEEEESSSSS. So completely right on with the thoughts I’ve been having and the feelings I’ve been experiencing lately. 

Here’s another explanation for you of what this book is trying to convey. You’ve seen this commercial, right? 

Sadness.

Was I that girl? Seriously. I know I wasn’t that bad because I do actually go out and do things and see people. (I promise.)

What I’ve found is that it can be a pretty severe trap for moms. Especially moms like me who are the only grown up at home during waking hours and into the child-sleeping hours that I like to call “Mama’s Free Time.” It is addicting to hop on FB at any time during the day as well, whether on the laptop while the kids are playing or on the phone while stopping at a stoplight or sitting in a parking lot just to have a quick brief contact with another grownup, no matter how insignificant & a waste of time it might be. I was the WORST at that type of thing. I have been cured already of the need for contact with others. My kids are enough for me now. They are amazing little creatures and I don’t want to miss a thing.

The other trap I fell into was feeling like you’re back in school trying to keep up with the “cool” kids when really they are no better than you. I can’t even count anymore the times I felt completely left out and wondering what was wrong with me or my kids or my family when I realized that a lot of my “friends” were all hanging out without me. Repeatedly. How did I know? Oh. All the photos of them having a good time. On Facebook, that evil tool. While I knew I was sitting at home doing nothing at the exact same time. Mhmmmm.

Or when they thought they were being sneaky (which I think might be worse) but since I’m not a complete idiot I easily and quickly read between the lines when I wasn’t even trying. *sigh* Sometimes being extremely perceptive is not a trait working in your favor, but I can’t turn it off. : /

I can usually take an ego hit in stride because I don’t let myself get upset about those types of things, but it got to be pretty blatant at times and I will admit right here that is is very hurtful. And really….why do I need that drama in my life? I don’t.

And now? I don’t see what anyone is doing. Ever. And I honestly love it. I found out who my true friends were. You know, the ones who actually call me or text me or email me or seek me out at church to say hello to me. : ) I am extremely grateful to these people.

I had one of the best summers ever while hanging out with just 2 key best friends. I was relaxed and not dragging the kids all over the place trying to keep up with too many activities and opportunities. It was perfect, really, and a precursor to my new way of life.

I quit looking at my kids as material for FB photo posts all day long. Yeah, they’re cute and funny and sweet and endearing and oh my word, I want to eat them up! but I’ve started enjoying the moment more and have stopped looking at my phone all the time.

I HAVE BEEN LIBERATED.

I have a feeling that if I hopped on Facebook right now this is what I would notice after being separated from it for so long:

  • people trying to be witty
  • people bragging about their kids 
  • people posting too much information about their kids and photos that said kids will kill them for later (you do realize that whatever you post online about your kids is on there FOREVER, right?)
  • people bragging about what they buy
  • people bragging about how natural they are
  • people bragging about how crafty they are
  • people trying to convince others of how __________ they or their kids are. 

etc.
etc.
etc.

Blaaaaaah.

I know that I would be rolling my eyes so much that they might get stuck up in my head.

Because here’s what I’ve learned – I don’t care about impressing anyone anymore. I did for a very long time and at what cost? Ignoring my precious children while I’m online? Ignoring my husband when he’s actually at home because I wanted to know what mere acquaintances were doing with their time? Trying to keep up with everyone else?

Nah. Not for me.

(And I apologize for being so harsh with these thoughts of mine, but we all know it’s true. The majority, at least. I do miss following a few people who were just completely genuine in what they posted….photos of family vacations and of their kids just being kids and not posed and just updates on babies, marriages, fun new life events, and new job or career announcements or advancements. That’s fun for me to know about!)

I’m having what I’ve internally coined a “Mini-Mid-Life Intervention”. I am almost at mid-life, right? I’m 34.

I’m rethinking all the areas in my life and trying to simplify as much as I can, while still enjoying simple joys.

Mainly my family. : )

Taking the advice of another blogger and starting to take timed shots of me WITH my kids. : ) I don’t even care that I was wearing no makeup, because they will not care one day when they wish they had a photo of us all together. 

I have so much to say about everything that I’ve been thinking and will continue to elaborate in the coming days & weeks on here.

In just a few words after all I said above? I AM HAPPY AND AT PEACE. : )

Tomorrow I’ll write more about what I mentioned above…..speaking of God more to my children.

8 thoughts on “A Deliberate Life

  1. Debi

    I know what you mean about feeling liberated. I was off for about the same time, except to post pics, because I didn’t have service much. Now I find myself making a point not to jump on all the time. But I like to see what my family and friends are up to, every once in a while. I am sure your family is enjoying more of your time too.

    Reply
  2. Debi

    I am sure your family is enjoying more of your time too! I use to like FB because you could keep up with fam & friends, but it is getting to be a pulpit for a lot of people. I was off for a couple of weeks be cause as we were traveling, I didn’t always have service. It was enjoyable.

    Reply
  3. Debi

    I know what you mean about feeling liberated. I was off for about the same time, except to post pics, because I didn’t have service much. Now I find myself making a point not to jump on all the time. But I like to see what my family and friends are up to, every once in a while. I am sure your family is enjoying more of your time too.

    Reply
  4. Jamie Lee

    Thank you for this post. I’ve thought about getting off FB and you just made it an easy decision to make. I started a blog so family and friends can follow all the adventures we are having while in Seattle. I have to stay since I’ve been out here I am getting back in to good ole’ snail mail. Who doesn’t love getting a letter or card in the mail?!? I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Reply
  5. gaylene merchant

    adding my amen;) .. you are so blessed, I didn’t have fb , etc. as a young mama, and my older children have recorded what a great thing it was to have “the simple life” with dress ups, making plays, writing songs, studying scriptures, wrestling on the trampoline, watching the stars, reading, cooking, and playing music together…good kin Amanda wish every mother knew this joy! true peace. thank you for sharing this Chad.

    Reply
  6. Brooke

    Amanda, I know this post is from along time ago, but I just now found it and read it. I love how you capture your thoughts on facebook. I hardly ever post anything anymore. Posting little decriptions of my day or cute pictures of the kids feel like bragging about my sweet life instead of soaking it in and living it. I miss you my friend.

    Reply

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