Shameful confession time: I've had my Facebook account for seven years, two months, and thirty days. Out of the 2,648 days that make up that seven years, two months, and thirty days, I've probably gone without checking my Facebook for ten. Non-consecutively.
Shameful confession #2: In the nearly five years since I've had Instagram, my longest break from scrolling through pictures of meal preps and #relationshipgoals and soft smile selfies was a whopping two days.
And #3: Since downloading Snapchat, I have very likely spent more time watching Kylie Jenner's 'stories' than I have spent talking to my grandparents.
Earlier this week, I deleted all three. A few days later, Twitter followed suit.
I know. This sounds extreme for someone who has only had one job that didn't require running or contributing to social media accounts. And at work, I am more than happy to tweet, post, snap, share, and like until my fingers fall off. I love using social media to share news and stories and products. I love the challenge of 140 character limits and finding the perfect image for a post and providing an audience with well-tailored content. I find myself thinking in terms of "ways to 'increase engagement.'"
I absolutely love social media. I love it too much. And that's why I'm bidding it adieu in my personal life for now.
In the past several years, I've been constantly tempted to take "just a peak" at my profiles, which makes it harder to stay on task AND has added up to hours and hours of social media-fueled procrastination. I can't even let myself be bored anymore, instead using waiting rooms and walks home as a chance to catch up on my feeds. (I've literally walked across an entire crosswalk without looking up from my phone. Really, this is a decision I've made for my personal safety.)
And just like social media has also changed the way I think about content at work, it's also seeped over into my personal life. I've been excited for anniversaries with my boyfriend not only for the relationship milestone, but also for the opportunities to post a cute celebratory status. I got myself through my half marathon by imagining the kick-ass Instagram picture I'd take at the finish line. I've had the actual thought, "What's the point of even curling my hair if the selfie doesn't earn 50 likes?!"
Whenever I try to procrastinate a task at work, I've began subconsciously hitting command+t, typing in an F to bring up Facebook.com, and spending several minutes scrolling aimlessly through updates. And if that's not bad enough, occasionally this happens so often that the news doesn't change. (Sidenote: nothing makes you feel more pathetic than seeing the results of your aunt's 'What Color is Your Cat's Aura?' quiz at the top of your newsfeed three refreshes in a row.)
Since I've already been so honest, why stop now? There have been times when the only reason I do something is because it will look cool on social media. Like the time I swatched six lipsticks on my arm for a picture. Or the time I spent ten minutes slicing and arranging a banana in my smoothie bowl. Or when I used self timer to try and take a picture of myself in crow pose (which took approximately thirty attempts.... in a public gym.)
I can go on: I'll admit, I've caught myself fantasizing about the day I get engaged or married; not so much for the actual event, but for how many Facebook likes they'll draw. Hell, even my short-lived decision to get a pet hedgehog was influenced by how cute it'd look on social media. Sometimes when I'm with my family or friends, I find myself reaching for my phone to see what's new on social media. And when you're prioritizing a shitty picture of a former colleague's cheese pita over precious moments with friends and family, it's time to admit to yourself that you have a problem.
So I have a problem: my attachment with social media has been interfering with my life. So I'm making some changes.
Instead of measuring my life in 'likes," I want to focus on the activities and people that I love. If I need validation, I am going to get it from the people close to me instead of from my entire high school graduating class, every coworker I've ever had, and the one random porn star who is following me on Instagram for God knows why. And instead of making a decision based on what will get a 'heart' reaction on Facebook, I am going to listen to my heart. (Okay, that one was cheesy.)
For so so so long, I've often thought about how nice it'd be to live in a time without social media. I imagine the good old days when my morning routine didn't include catching up on the Facebook news missed during seven hours of shut-eye. I long for the beauty of yesteryear when I could eat food without playing paparazzi first. I don't know why it's taken me so long to come to the realization that I don't need to go back in time to live the life I want to live.
So this week, I backed up all my photos and said goodbye to Instagram. I downloaded my entire Facebook account (which is pretty damn creepy concept as it is), unsynced all of the accounts connected to it, and scheduled my account for deletion. I shed a tear over missing out on Kylie's lip kit announcements and logged out of Snapchat for the final time. After a few days later, I kicked Twitter to the curb, too.
I'm ready for a fresh start.
And to find out what my food tastes like while its still hot.