Before I get started: trust me, I realize that few people will care that I took a break from instagram. This is only noteworthy because this is my blog and herein I can write about whatever my little heart desires. I’m not saying this to garner attention, but instead – I’m doing what I like to do: share my experiences.
What started as a simple 3-week fast from something inspired by Hope City morphed into just the breath of fresh air that I needed.
The Facts about Instagram
I love Instagram. It’s pretty.
I love creating stories. And watching the instagram stories of others.
I love my little online instagram community. I’ve learned so much from thought leaders who are different than I am. I love seeing my friends and family’s pics. You got a new dog? I want to see. It’s your kids’ first day of school? Show me the picture. It’s your birthday? I WILL heart it and comment for SURE. You have a new recipe for eggs? YASSSS.
But then there’s the other side of instagram… (and all of social media). The comparing. The endless scrolling. The negativity. The trolls. The time suck. The rabbit hole.
I’m over it.
My Instagram limits weren’t working.
Now, prior to this I had a 30-minute, self-induced Instagram screentime limit on my phone per day… that I would continuously “ignore” or blow through. Don’t tell me what to do, phone. I’m a grown woman who is totally aware that she’s getting sucked into a carefully crafted and tailored algorithm that I TOTALLY have control over…
I’d get up in the morning… and check instagram. WHAT?
Get a life, Kylee.
Cabo, we have a problem.
So, for several months before my little fast, I would do a thing:
1.) Download instagram on Friday or so, check it out… delete it on Saturday or Sunday. Yes, as in REMOVE it from my phone.
2.) Download instagram on Wednesday or so, delete it on Thursday.
I had to physically remove the app from my phone sometimes as often as twice a week. Because… well. The Social Dilemma.
**Note: My career is in marketing. I kind of have to be on social media. At least that was the story that I told myself. (Thank you Brené.) As it turns out, I don’t actually have to be on social media… all of the time.
So, here’s what I did.
I decided a month ago to just stop.
I decided to focus my fast on Instagram and not worry about Facebook or Twitter. Facebook is a nuisance and I literally go on it to see several people’s updates, check the Jen Hatmaker Book Club facebook group and the Rothy’s Addicts groups. (Lol. I know, right? I’m laughing at myself. Total loser.) But for me, Facebook is a non-issue. I have pretty solid control over Twitter, too. I can go days — sometimes weeks — without checking it.
Instagram is another story.
Upon deleting the app, I found that the impulse was still there. Throughout the day. I’d tap on my phone, my face would open it (facial recognition still creeps me out) and my thumb would AUTOMATICALLY search for the little IG icon… but gasp! It was gone.
Impulse, impulse, impulse.
I experienced a little bit of FOMO, too. When Craig would reference something he saw on social media that I had NO IDEA ABOUT I was like, “YOU HAVE GOT TO KEEP ME POSTED I AM NOT ON INSTAGRAM.”
For example, two of my favorite workout personalities were recently here in Cabo – staying in the development Craig works for – and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW!!!
… who cares?
I don’t need to KNOW about EVERYTHING that is going on at ALL times.
In fact, dare I say — it’s kind of a relief to not know it all.
We weren’t made to know about everything, friends.
We weren’t made to hold it all.
We don’t have to hustle all the time.
We don’t have to scroll and heart, scroll and heart.
We don’t have to go, go, go.
It’s ok to reset.
So. Many. Voices.
The people I follow on Instagram are a mishmash of amazing: social activists, authors, cartoonists and painters. I follow embroiderers and comedians, pastors and rabbis, politicians and creatives. I follow designers and architects and people who love eggs and plants, just like me. I might even follow a particular dog, llama and hamster. (No judgement here, right?)
But mixed with the voices that I want to hear from was just NOISE.
So.many.influencers posing in their full-length mirrors with their Restoration Hardware beds or dining tables or kitchens with subway tile in the background, head tilted… telling me where I can buy their pants.
Me thinking: Wait, are they going places? Because, I’m pretty sure I haven’t really gone anywhere since March.
I don’t need that product.
I don’t need to be that angry.
I don’t want to be part of your circle.
I don’t want to hear everyone’s testimony as to how awesome their MLM is.
Too much. It’s just too much for me.
There’s no more space in my brain.
Pausing from Instagram was a gift because…
After I took a break from Instagram, I found that I had space for reading, meditation, pausing, podcasts, conversations, phone calls and completely unplanned, totally ok unproductive time.
When I took a break from instagram, my phone usage plummeted. I also noticed that I stopped taking so many photos.
I mean, if you’re not going to post them on Instagram, then why take them?
Wait – what?
This made me wonder: Am I only taking photos in order to share them with the world? Or am I taking photos in order to record a moment in my life?
THIS brought me to, why am I sharing? What is my motivation? What do I receive from this?
I’m finding that now I’m taking the photo because I want to remember it. Not necessarily because I want to share it.
I’m not collecting content, ya’ll.
I’m collecting memories.
Instagram on my terms.
So I took a break from Instagram because my head and my heart needed a break. And breaks… for all of us, are ok.
We simply cannot go, go, go.
No one is getting a prize for delivering incredibly filtered content for all to see. And no one is getting a prize for knowing that your high school friend just got a new car.
So, I thinned out my follow list focusing on the voices that need to be heard, by me, right now.
I’ll get back on and support and love on the peeps that lift me up.
I’ll keep learning.
And simply follow and unfollow as I please, with no emotion tied to it.
You’ll see me on it, no doubt blabbing away on instagram stories. But, I plan on being pretty militant about how I spend my minutes.
I would much rather be writing than scrolling, communicating than hearting, growing than comparing.
My life, your life, it’s full and wonderful. And hard and ugly. And difficult and joyful. And beautiful and precious.
How wonderful that at any moment… and at any time… we can simply make a decision to do what’s right for us and trust the process.
So, so cool.
Do what’s right for you and trust.the.process.
Thank you for teaching me one of my favorite life lessons yet.
And, that’s why I took a break from instagram.