The Post-Social Media World

What has been happening in the Oh Waily world a month and a bit after throwing off the social media shackles?

It has been a wonderful time of not scrolling, checking-in just in case there’s something new, or thinking about every day events in terms of being possible “posting material”.

Surprisingly I have suffered absolutely no withdrawal symptoms, no jitters or urge to rejoin the social media world. The only issue I have found is just how ingrained the habit of entering “Face….” in to my browser address bar was.
It took a few weeks for the finger hovering, almost typing of the address to die down. It’s a testament to just how frequently and habitual my choice of junk browsing was.

No more.

If you are thinking about abandoning the social media world in favour of gaining more time, more interests and more sanity, then I can highly recommend the DELETE option. You will likely not miss it, except in a mindless, habituated way. When bored you might find your fingers hovering over your browser address bar, ready to type the dreaded “F” or “T” to start your journey back to scrolldom. But you will soon catch yourself and realise just what sort of grip the habit has had on you, and what sort of automaton you have become to the infinite scroll and other people’s lives.

WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH ALL THAT EXTRA TIME?

My original goal once I hit the final delete was to resurrect my hobby of cross stitch. That hasn’t totally eventuated yet, but an interesting sideline opened up as a result of that aim. I spent some time and went through patterns, books, fabric and threads in my stash. I threw out a bunch of items that were no longer “my taste” or which I had no use for. Then I set about re-arranging the remaining items in to more user-friendly storage. This set in motion a train of clearing out and cleaning my areas of our bedroom.

In the past month, following that initial effort, I rediscovered and fully embraced an old interest in minimalism. And thanks to the weird, voyeuristic, yet inspiring, world of YouTube minimalism and home cleaning channels I have used my free time to begin to transform our home.

I am the person in our home who has the lowest tolerance for mess, clutter and did I mention mess? So for the past month I have taken the metaphorical bull by his horns and have begun going through the house area by area. I have reorganised my clothing storage and finally donated items that were long, long overdue to leave the house.
I have also been a good little Minimalist-in-process, so far, and haven’t attacked anyone else’s areas or their belongings, just my own.

Recently though I stepped in to our main shared area – the open plan living, dining and kitchen. I removed everything that wasn’t furniture from the living and dining areas and all manner of items from the Expedit bookshelf between them; cleaned everything down and then carefully brought only a few items back on to the shelves. The change was nothing short of wonderful. Like opening a window and letting in gusts of fresh, fragrant air.

Right now I am about two thirds of my way through the kitchen. In a burst of energy I have removed a bunch of unused utensils for donating, cleaned out all of the drawers and a few cupboards. I’ve also re-arranged how we store things. It has only taken three plus years but I think our kitchen storage may now match up with how we use the space. There is still plenty left to do in the kitchen, and around the house, but the gains are coming. Incrementally the house is beginning to feel lighter, cleaner and easier to live in.

At this point I can clearly see the connection between my digital decluttering and my physical decluttering. In fact, in yet another interesting sideline that has happened since the beginning of the year, I have also decluttered my diet and removed many unhelpful options. Unsurprisingly this has had as good an effect on my body as SMExit has had on my mind and the resurgence of my interest in minimalism has had on our living space.
Perhaps I should have chosen “Declutter” for my 2019 word theme instead of “Mindful”.

The only Minimalist-Bully behaviour I have allowed myself to indulge in, so far, has been an insistence that folk clear things up in a reasonable time after finishing with them. My aim in this is to instill the habit of completion in all of us.

How have you been spending your time lately?

Resurrecting Hobbies

It has been done!

The delete button has been pressed and I am now free from social media.

Now what?

<drums fingers nervously on the counter>

All of that scroll-free, constant-checking free time is now floating around looking for something to fill it back up.
So I have been thinking about how best to use all of my newfound free time and a lightbulb went on.

Hobbies.

Resurrect my hobbies.

Those things that I used to do before life became so full of parenting and then of social media. You might notice, if you are an old subscriber here, that my crafting updates ended about three months after Miss Oh Waily was born.
Miss Oh Waily is now 11 years old !

To start me off I think I will try to resurrect my cross stitch. I have plenty of almost finished items that I’d love to see completed and framed. It has the advantage of doubling as both a creative and relaxing activity. It fits in nicely with my word for 2019 – Mindful – and I might even manage to get my kids to give it a go. Who knows?

So that is my first step in to post-SM life. Expect to hear more shortly.


For those who are new, here’s a link to my cross stitch page to see where I was when my free time began to dwindle.

FOMO

A couple of days ago I did the unthinkable. I deleted a social media account.

You will probably know that I recently deleted my Facebook pages for this blog and The Pukeko Patch. I thought that was a pretty decent first step in my self-styled “slow retreat” from the increasingly unpleasant world that this section of the internet has become. But I wasn’t feeling the same bravery around my own personal social media accounts. There was a lingering sensation of FOMO.

If there was ever an acronym that should be considered an onomatopoeia word, then FOMO is it. I’m sure it’s the scratchy little sound that comes unbidden from the back of your throat as your finger wavers side to side over your keyboard just before the final plunge to hit “DELETE”.
The fight between your thinking brain and your fear of being ‘an outsider’ concludes with a little whimpering sound….

FOmo……

And then the deed is done. In the press of a button it’s over.

Well, in fairness, I have thirty days to recant and all will be well in my little corner of the Twittersphere but I have no intention to do so. In a remarkable turn of events I was able to ditch the social media platform I probably spent the most time on, Twitter, with very little trauma and only the tiniest, scratchy FOmo… sound.
For me the hard #SMexit will be the deletion of Facebook.
Yes, I did just make up a hashtag for this process.

So what prompted this act of unwarranted bravery?
Well, an episode of Alan Alda’s Clear+Vivid podcast is the culprit.
I’ve been dipping in to it on occasion and enjoying it. On last week’s show Alan was interviewing Jaron Lanier who is a founding father of the realm of virtual reality, and sounds quite the character in addition to that.

As part of their conversation they spoke about Lanier’s new book, “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now“.
Here’s a link to his webpage relating to it. The cover of the book succinctly sums up the ten arguments. I found most, if not all, of them are accurate in my experience.
It was while listening to that conversation and weighing up some of their comments with my own observations that I came to the conclusion that it was time to gain back some of my life.
– Infinite scroll anyone?!?
And some of my hope for humanity.
– No more reading comments from bots or real, but vitriolic, people with no empathy can only improve my mental health!

My next challenge is to do the same with Facebook. I have some ideas about how I’m going to go about it, so I’m ever hopeful that I will vanquish the biggest of my SMexit foes. I just need to work up a bit more courage and do it.

Wish me luck!


More reading / watching: How we need to remake the internet

2019 Word Theme

Around this time last year I decided to do a Happier Podcast “try this at home” tip. That tip was to choose a one word theme for the year. My 2018 word was Balance.

It was meant as a reminder and a goal for the year but that didn’t pan out so well. My year was really quite unbalanced, as was my life in general. But that’s life, isn’t it? A box of chocolates where sometimes you get the gooey centres and sometimes the hard nuts. And you just have to hope that you don’t break a tooth.
I don’t consider it a failure though. Balance was always on my mind. It just took me most of the year to figure out how and what I was going to do in order to get some balance back. And it’s taken even longer to get that plan up and running. That’s the other thing about life – some things you have control over, other things you have to let run their course.

This brings me to my choice for 2019.

Drumroll please…

My theme for 2019 is “Mindful”.

It’s a pretty self-explanatory word, but here’s what it means to me in this context.
I want to make more thoughtful decisions in my life. I want to pay far more attention to everyday things in my life. I don’t want to drift, spin or fritter away my life on autopilot. I want to be more appreciative of my life, while actively crafting what my life will look like.

I’ve realised that I have slipped into patterns of behaving, thinking, doing and saying things that are largely unchosen. Once upon a time I would have decided that they were fitting for me, but not recently and not by the person I currently am. Let me provide you with a gratuitous analogy.

Imagine, if you will, a person who continues to wear their favourite knitted outfit from the 1970s throughout their life.
<< Shudder >>
It could be a totally unconscious decision. They liked that poncho when they bought it. They looked trendy and gorgeous. It still fits. It still keeps them warm, so why change it?
Then a friend who loves them drops some badly needed fashion advice, or they suddenly notice what they look like in the latest family picture – stuck in the 1970s while the rest of the family looks normal.
This is the point where they realise that hanging on to their earlier choices is not so great. It’s time to review, revise and kick out any 1970s nonsense and bring their wardrobe up to date.

This is what 2019 is for me, metaphorically speaking.
Out with the old, unconscious choices, and in with more awareness and mindfulness.
It’s time to “Mind the Gap” – the gap between where I’ve drifted to and where I actually want to be.

How about you? Do you choose a one word theme for your year? If so, what did you choose for this year?


For those crazy enough, here’s a link to some examples of those metaphorical 1970s knitwear items.
Fair warning: you cannot unsee what you are about to look at.