November Gratitude Shorts, Day 21 (Late entry)
Thank you, friend Donna.
We had one of our usual soul-feeding brunch meetings on Friday. I expressed excitement, intensity, diversion, passion, apprehension, exhilaration for all kinds of things, and also concern that in all my ambition to achieve my professional vision, I would neglect my family. We talked through all the connections between my activities, my values, and the world at large. You helped me explore my inner world, slow down and examine the concerns that I might otherwise gloss over. I described my urge to be home, pay attention to the kids, be present.
Conservatively, I probably spend 3+ hours on Facebook, email, or WordPress per day. You suggested I do a social media cleanse–what was it, a week? A month? Whoa nelly, let’s not get carried away! But it caught my attention. I’ve been struggling for a while with FOMO, as David Brooks calls it, or Fear of Missing Out. I scroll through my Facebook feed for articles. I check my WordPress stats to see how many views and visitors, comparing one day to the next. It all diverts my attention from the family, when I’m with them. I’ve tried to implement limits, like no Facebook after 9pm. That lasted maybe a week. It’s become a habit, a compulsion—walk by the phone, pick it up, check this, then that. A multi-day cleanse seemed a bit drastic. But maybe a fast? Just try, we said. No pressure. See if I can go 24 hours without checking Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress, and look at email minimally. We agreed I would try Saturday—today is as good a time as any.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I feel liberated and reassured. Turns out I can live without Facebook for a day, and I don’t dissolve into cold sweats and tremors. I meant to post my November Gratitude Shorts on time, but I let up on myself for those, too. I knew I’d get them done. It’s not the end of the world if my daily posts are a little delayed.
I spent time with the family. We watched a movie together, decorated the Christmas tree, and had some good friends over for a potsticker party. I didn’t miss out on anything, and all is well. I still may not be ready for a week-long cleanse, but I can definitely make fasting a regular practice. As I continue to pursue my professional mission(s), I can use social media as a source of ideas and information, and I can also put it down and engage in person with those around me.
Thank you, friend Donna, for the invitation.