I have so many reasons to be on Facebook.
I live far away from most of my family and friends. Solution? Facebook.
I work in a relatively isolated profession where my colleagues are spread all over the country and even world. Solution? Facebook.
I write stuff that I’d like people to read? Partial solution? Facebook.
I like to be entertained by witty comments on current events and cultural trends. Solution? Facebook.
I often get stuck with my work and need a distraction. MAJOR PROBLEM: Facebook
It’s so easy to just check Facebook one more time… just one more time… OK, just one more time… MAJOR PROBLEM: Facebook
Despite the benefits of connecting with friends, family, and colleagues over social media, it has a way of invading my free time that should be devoted to family, house work, and, if I’m lucky, a bit of reading. Social media offers me a quick out when I hit a slow point in my day, a difficult part of a project, or a minute of free time in the evening.
I’ve already enjoyed the benefits of the SelfControl App that shuts down any sites I’ve specified for a set period of time. It’s amazing what I can get done at work once I turn on the app and have no entertainment recourses for 45 minutes.
However, the invasion of social media into my free time has been a major concern. There simply aren’t clear lines for me between work time and family time on social media. I’m always connecting with family AND promoting my work. The two are tied together. Feeling the need for stronger boundaries, I opted to set up a limited social media fast for Lent:
No social media after 5 pm on weekdays.
No social media on the weekends.
I’ve learned two really important things about myself so far during this fast.
First, I Read a Lot More.
That’s not really a shocker. Without my 5,10, or 20 minute detours into social media, I often find myself looking for something to do in the evening if I’m giving the baby a cat nap or spending a little free time on the couch. Without the siren call of Facebook, the latest Richard Rohr book added to my collection, Eager to Love, quickly shoots to the top of my list of things to do.
Second, I Complain a Lot Less
I would have told you that I’m more of a joking complainer. I’m often tongue in cheek, right? Well, no, actually. I never realized how much of social media is actually just a litany of complaints for me until I set some boundaries around myself.
These limits have helped me see the ways I’ve “wasted” my tweets and status updates with complaints.
Mind you, some complaints are warranted. If I can’t rant about my hockey teams on social media, then I don’t really know what else I can do with it. However, each time I’m tempted to complain about the baby’s failed nap, a toddler tantrum, or yet another quirky, boundary-invading person at the café, I now stop and think about what I’m about to do. More often than not, I need to either get back to work, get back to my family, or, if I’m set on complaining, shift my sights on my hockey teams.
What Happens After Lent?
I love Lent because it offers a chance to experiment and test out which areas of my life are unhealthy and unbalanced. If giving up something like social media on the weekends feels like such an enormous burden, then it sure seems like some boundaries are really needed.
A few weeks into Lent, I’m sensing that these boundaries are going to become my new normal. Not that I WANT them to be the new normal. Rather, I don’t want these social media boundaries, and that’s what tells me I need them.
What are you fasting from during Lent?
Do you have any lessons or changes to report at this point?
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The price goes up on March 11, 2015 when it officially releases.