Tuesday, August 2, 2022

I don't know what I am doing half the time

I have been really annoyed with myself today. I redownloaded Instagram, which is fine--if I was a normal person. Unfortunately I am...not. 

Instagram does the following to me:

First I have a 4-8 hour window where I love instagram. I love the photos, I love the funny videos, I catch up on some friends and post about my life. Instagram competes me. I have never been happier. Everything is rosy, golden, and good. 

Until suddenly it's not.

The euphoria never lasts more than one day. 24 hours later I wake to feelings of anxiety and stress. I must take pictures to post. I have to have a cute outfit because what if I am in the picture? I quickly become obsessed with getting the perfect shots of my cute children and posting for everyone to see. And as I begin to see what others are posting; my inner pessimist takes over. I start comparing my life to theirs. My carpet isn't that clean. My kid can't draw that well. I can't craft that mug. I can't knit that fast. She has a whole linen wardrobe! Suddenly I am unhappy, stressed and anxious. All over a photo app. And let's not even talk about the ads-- I am very susceptible to ads and have a tendency to impulse buy thinking that the next hot thing will indeed make me happy. And don't get me started by my near hourly need to check the app to see if any new updates have happened followed by 20 minutes of random scrolling and 300 reels later...

So I delete the app. 

I have repeated this process so many times... its frustrating and infuriating. By the way, the same thing happens with Facebook but I permanently deleted my Facebook, but I just can't bring myself to do that with Instagram yet. Why am I caught in this awful cycle? Why can't I have good healthy boundaries with social media? It's annoying. I hate it yet, I repeat it over and over again, sometimes weekly. Sometimes monthly. Sometimes daily. Yes I really have deleted Instagram in the morning and downloaded it again in the evening.

It's embarrassing to admit.    

I want to break the cycle. Maybe I really DO need to permanently delete my instagram or maybe just changing my password will be enough.

You know, the other day we were studying the life of Mahler (a famous musician) and I was reading over some letters he wrote. I was like--what will modern day biographies include? Our Facebook posts? Our text messages? Suddenly I felt very uneasy. What an awful legacy to leave behind, a bunch of random text messages and pictures of my food. I wouldn't want anyone reading my old text messages, but the very thing did happen to a friend of mine who died in late 2019. Her mother got her phone and read all her old Facebook messages. It upset a lot of people as those are private. I wouldn't mind my husband reading my messages, but I cringe a bit. I have vented my anger to friends when he has upset me. That's a bit awkward. I love my husband, he's awesome and he would understand. But my kids? My friends? I don't want them reading my personal correspondence via e-mail or texts! I have talked to many a friend when I have been upset after a long day, things I wouldn't want the world to see. Luckily I am not famous and I can't imagine anyone writing a bibliography about me of all people. 

But, I'm going to be a bit more careful about what I text. Hunter Biden should know. Also, my kids may see these things and I want them to know always they are loved and their autonomy is respected. 

I think I will have to permanently delete my instagram. I still don't want to. 

I don't know what makes me so addicted to social media. I know, it is probably what these apps want. The longer you use them the more money they make from you, right? I don't want to be stuck on some social media app though. When I am old, I won't care how many Facebook games of wordle I played or how any pictures of Susan's dog I looked at. I will care how much time I spent with my kids and all the memories of our lovely school together and life. Those I will reminisce on. And when I'm on instagram I am not growing. I am not playing the violin or reading a book or actually, you know, talking to a real human

I think I need a break from the internet. It was my goal to do our school this year with a long internet break, and I think I am going to do it, today. I'll give up Youtube, Instagram, and most other things until Christmas. 

I won't give up writing here. It is something that helps keep me alive. Writing is almost a fire inside my chest sometimes. I can't explain it, but after a long day writing it all out helps. 

I told a friend the other day that the hardest thing my generation has to deal with is getting off our phones and interacting with the world around us. Millennials are glued to our white screens and gen z is no better. What kind of legacy are we leaving for those who will come after? Kids in middle schools sing viral ticktock videos and babies as young as 18 months know how to work iPads. 

It's crazy. I need to radically change my life and my screen time so my kids have a chance, a chance at a normal life where they don't see their mother consumed by her phone. 

And that's what I was thinking about today as I ate a chocolate bar and felt guilty.

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