self·ish

self·ish
ˈselfiSH
adjective
  1. (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

First and foremost, I think it’s only fair to update everyone on the logistics of how I managed to give up social media for over a month. I’ve never been one to be good at quitting anything cold turkey. If I’m trying to give up soda, it’s best for me to go in with the mindset that I can pop a tab if I really want to. I never say I’m giving up carbs, I just try a little harder to be more conscious of how often I’m eating them. Social media was no different.

I knew cutting four heavily-used apps out of my life simultaneously wouldn’t work. Instead I began with Twitter, as mentioned in my last blog post. About two weeks after that I eliminated the Snapchat app from my phone, followed by Instagram, and then Facebook on Fat Tuesday.

I truly can only sum up this experience in one word: incredible. I know so many of you think I’m insane, but you can’t understand how much time I was wasting on these sites. Aimlessly scrolling for what probably totaled hours of every day, and for what? To keep up with people who I never speak to? To see what new meme Carley is sharing with her friends? To receive another pointless chain message? To boost your ego by double tapping that IG photo? If the shoe fits..

Social media made me lazy. I have pushed myself harder and farther than I ever have before. Instead of checking the morning news on Facebook, I read “Five Things You Need to Know Today” on CNN. I spend my lunch hour learning more about and keeping up with the NFL, NHL, and MLB. I’m loving it. The other day I even spent time diving into a study that focused on millennials in the workforce and their commitment and focus on a companies’ CSR. (Yikes, that sounded nerdy.)

I leave work almost every day and head to Planet Fitness. I’m working on a surprise project for two very special people in my life. I’m toying the idea of picking up a photography class this summer. I went to Mexico with my mom, and reignited my nonprofit spark at a United Way conference in Indianapolis. It’s truly sad how much I was unintentionally holding myself back from experiencing life.

But I’d be wrong to say this was simple. Many know that I work in PR, specifically in the nonprofit sector. I’m employed at a small United Way. It’s inevitable that someone in my position would serve as the manager of all our organization’s social media accounts. Fortunately, I have a team that works diligently to help when needed. They took the reins on posting frequently, checking out our analytics, and engaging with followers.

There was a rough day (or two) though. Not because I got bored and wanted to scroll, but because some of our fundraising efforts didn’t produce the results I wanted them to. Honestly, that’s largely because of the lack of social media management on my end. I was frustrated with myself because, in my eyes, I let our network down. These could have been successful efforts that brought additional funds to our organization. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

So, while finishing some edits on an article, I was thinking about the situation. I’m not an overly religious person, and I believe I’ve said that on this blog before. However, I do believe there’s more out there. I believe we are being lead down a path and exposed to our true purpose. So, when the word selfish came to mind I had the feeling that it was His message to me. That was my true learning experience this Lenten season.

I knew that giving up social channels would prove to be a challenge for me. I also really appreciated my team’s support when I decided that’s what I would be giving up. However, halfway through this project I realized I also added an extra burden onto them. My positive, new-found focus on myself actually had an effect on others around me.

I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Oh, this is her way of telling us she couldn’t live without Facebook and secretly re-downloaded the app. Excuses.”

No. What I’m telling you is that I expected to open my eyes a little more to the outside world. I expected to become a little disconnected from some people. I expected to reconnect with others. I expected to miss people a little more. I expected to feel nostalgic. I expected to read new articles, blogs, and books. I expected to write a single summarizing piece about the experience. I expected FOMO.

I never would have thought that selfishness would be the word that I associated with the experience.

However, I also realized that sometimes it’s okay to be selfish. This wasn’t ever meant to be a permanent lifestyle choice. I knew going into it that it couldn’t be, not in my industry. However, it was an experiment focused around personal growth and I am happy to report that the outcomes were not only what I had hoped they’d be, but more.

P.S. – I only have Instagram and Facebook on my phone now. Truthfully, they’re only on there because of my job. If I truly could avoid going back I would. Perks of being a PRofessional, I guess.

2 thoughts on “self·ish

  1. Kaitlin Bain says:

    I totally feel this. I gave up social media on my phone for several months my second semester of my senior year and it was bliss. As a journalist I don’t feel like I can do that anymore though. So I get it

    Liked by 1 person

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