Dear Diary- Musings From My 21 Day Social Media Fast (Pt 1)

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Well, I’m back. You may not have even noticed I was gone, but boy did I miss you all. Today marks my first day back using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram after a 3 week hiatus.  I’m not gonna lie- it’s been tough. Putting it in perspective, though, I’m sure there are things that people have given up that were more difficult than giving up social media.  My friend recently quit smoking. As “addicted” to Facebook as I have been, it doesn’t come close to the strength required to give up smoking. Others who participated in this New Year’s fast gave up sweets, meats, music and/or TV.

And I do have to admit, as the director of social media for our company, I didn’t abstain from social media completely. I did have to log in to our company Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I promise I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t take a single peek at my own accounts.

The following are my journal entries from the days I was on the fast.  I don’t know if I made any monumental self-discoveries, but it has been an interesting three weeks. I spent more time doing things than reading about other people doing things, so that’s something, right?

I’ll be posting these in increments so as not to make for laborious reading.

Day 1– January 1, 2014:

Well, it’s New Year’s Day. My fast has officially begun. What’s 3 weeks in the scheme of life? It’s nothing.  A few years ago I gave up sweets for Lent- that was pretty tough. Six weeks without chocolate, without dessert. If I can do that, I can do this.

I’m sure the shakes will go away eventually.

In an ironic twist, I’m sitting here with no one to communicate with.  My first attempt to work on my real life communication by eliminating Facebook communication, and I’m left all alone.

Our New Year’s Eve was pretty uneventful. Zoe was at her aunt’s, Sydney and Nathan were with their friends, Parker spent most of the night playing games on the computer, and Jeff spent his time either working on his laptop or catching up on episodes of “Boardwalk Empire.” At about 10pm I popped open a bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne. I forgot that you are supposed to cover it with a towel, so after loosening the cork, I watched it slowly work its way out, exiting the bottle in a massive explosion, ricocheted off the kitchen ceiling and landed across the room, nearly nailing Jeff in the head. I’ll work on better trajectory for next New Year’s Eve.

We feasted on crackers and cheese and sipped champagne until the ball dropped and fireworks came shooting out of the Space Needle. Parker had managed to stay awake, so he got sandwiched between us for our 21st New Year’s kiss.

After putting Parker to bed, we headed to our own room.  While I was in the bathroom Jeff turned off the light, and as I made my way through the dark, I managed to trip over something, my arms went flying, and so did my champagne glass.

Me: See?! This is why we need the lights on!

Jeff: Between the cracker crumbs that you dropped down the front of your shirt earlier and the cheap champagne you just spilled all over yourself, a person could take communion off of you.

Me: It’s not cheap champagne! It was $39 on sale!

Jeff: Yeah, you’re just like Jay-Z with your $39 champagne.

 

It’s going to be a long three weeks.

Day 2

I kept myself busy yesterday by taking down all the interior Christmas decorations. It’s nice to get the house back in order, and it kept me somewhat distracted from what I may be missing out on.

Sydney got a wild hair and decided to make pesto from scratch. We didn’t use a recipe and didn’t have a ton of basil, so it became quite an ordeal. In the end, we had dishes and appliances everywhere for what netted out to be about 3 tablespoons of pesto.

My mother-in-law came by to grab my leftover boxes from our flood remodel. One of her sister’s friends’ houses burned down a few days ago. It was a total loss. She was going over to see if there was anything to salvage. It sounds like most everything is either covered in soot or smoke damaged. Definitely a good reminder that no matter how many times I think about setting fire to my garage rather than cleaning it out, the reality of a house fire is devastating. I’m counting my blessings, messy as they may be.

Today I learned a new appreciation for working moms. We had our company yearly kickoff meeting, which required getting Parker up early, dressed and fed before dropping him off at his grandma’s for the day, as well as getting myself up and showered and ready to leave by 830. I know that for many of you, this is an average day in your life, but it’s not in mine, and I salute you for making it happen.

I started writing a fictional story today. I can’t tell yet whether it’s crap or not, but it has to be better than some of the drivel I have come across lately. FYI- don’t ask me what I’m writing about. I can’t talk about it or I will have to stop. It’s just a thing with me; probably why I have about 30 partially written stories over the years. My goal for 2014 is to actually get it finished and send it off somewhere to see if I can get it published. Hey- you never know until you try, right?

Day 3

This morning I awoke to the sound of Zoe and Parker loudly playing “Mario World 3D.” Not my favorite way to start the day. I had told my mother that we would make a trip down to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle to check out an exhibit on race in America (ethnicity, not fast cars) and today was the day. I was waffling about whether to wake Nathan up and have him watch them or bring them with me. I decided I would bring them.

Me: We’re going to the Science center today.

Parker: I don’t want to.

Me: I don’t care. I don’t want you staying home, sitting around doing nothing, playing video games all day.

Parker: (blank stare) How is that doing nothing?

 

Yeah.

 

The exhibit was great, although having the kids there definitely limited me on my ability to take my time and really absorb it.

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487 Parker looking through his skin

 

After we finished with that part of the exhibit, we headed for the rest of the Science Center. Of course, being the genius science-minded people they are, you have to go through the souvenir/toy shop on the way to the rest of the exhibits. We got waylaid there for a bit before, upon promise of a return, I finally dragged Parker out of there.

The kids ended up really enjoying the science center, particularly the animatronic dinosaurs

520He enjoyed this more than it appears

 

and the butterfly garden.

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That butterfly garden was amazing, not just for the flowers and butterflies, but also for the calm it brought over Parker. They emphasize you have to walk slowly and carefully, so as not to step on a butterfly that might be “resting” on the ground. He spent quite a while just watching the butterflies and the fish in the pond. Zoe figured out that the Koi liked to eat the lily pads, so she fed them. I’m pretty sure that broke about a dozen rules, but it was so serene I just let her.

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They also liked the body exhibit, and their favorite aspect was the aging computers. The program took a photo of your face, and then showed a natural aging process, along with aging that is influenced by smoking, obesity and sun exposure. They tried to get my mother to do it, but she said, “I already know what I look like old.”

578Zoe at 70?

 

When we finally got back to the gift shop, Parker decided on the Thor hammer. It probably wasn’t my smartest parenting move. Sitting in Seattle rush hour traffic, I eventually had to take it from him, as he was whacking the back of my seat and his sister’s fingers with it.

Overall it was a great day, though,  and I’m glad we went.

Day 4

I thought about Facebook a lot this morning. I miss it so much I felt a little queasy thinking about it. I’m trying to take my mind off of it by doing laundry and watching cheesy lifetime romance movies.

The last one I watched was about a woman waking up to find herself living the life she had dreamed of, only to  discover the reality of the fantasy wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Not a novel concept for a movie, but it did make me think- be careful what you wish for. Many times what we believe is a step towards a better life is really just exchanging one set of problems for another set.

You know, like in Jay Z’s song “Holy Grail.”

I noticed today that Candy Crush keeps trying to get me to send extra moves to two friends who passed away last year. “_____ has been stuck for 164 days. Send them extra moves.” It was a sobering experience. Two vibrant young women whose lives were cut short by cancer, and I’m spending my time playing Candy Crush. I’ve given up Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing anything other than biding my time until I can get back on. The whole point of this fast was to improve myself and my life. I know it’s only day 4, but I still don’t think I’m getting it.

On a side note, I’ll bet Heaven has unlimited Candy Crush lives.

Day 5

Delirium has set in. I keep hearing voices…

 

Turns out it’s my children talking to me. I wonder how long that’s been going on.

 

On the bright side, I’ve figure out how to get Parker interested in football. All I needed to do was sit him at the kitchen table with his homework in front of him and the game on TV. Suddenly he can’t tear his eyes away from the screen.

Day 6

The kids went back to school today. Hooray!

Zoe isn’t feeling well, but I told her to suck it up and go to school. I can’t tell whether I’m the meanest mom ever, or I’m teaching her good life skills.

I took her to the walk-in clinic, which turned into a 2 ½ hour ordeal. I’m sure we’ll both end up coming down with some horrendous disease from sitting amongst all those sick people.

Tonight was the official first night of the “Bachelor.” I have been watching this show since it began in 2001. I think that technically makes me an expert.

Case in point: I picked the girl most likely to have a meltdown simply based on her intro segment. Not only was I right, she completely came unhinged before the end of the first cocktail party on the very first night.

Jeff said, “You were right. You spotted the crazy. I think you were tuned in to her frequency.”

I pretended to ignore his implication.

I always wonder what the friends and family of these emotionally fragile (unstable) women are thinking by encouraging them to go on this show. They should be in therapy, not plying themselves with booze and thrown into a houseful of catty women, just so they can be rejected on national TV.

And yet, this is why we watch.

Oh, and the quest for true love, blah blah blah. I think after all these years I have developed a healthy cynicism for the whole endeavor, in spite of my inner romantic wanting to believe in fairy tale happy endings.

The limo pulls up, and the girls begin to shriek and giggle. I mumble to myself, “Girls are stupid.”

My husband responds, “Oh like you never acted like that?”

After a long silent stare I said, “Do you even KNOW me at all?”

Trust me, I’ve never been the type to titter and flutter around a man. I’m more the “punch him in the arm” type. Less Betty Boop, more Lucy Van Pelt.

As these women pour out of the limo, they’ve already imbibed more than enough alcohol to enable their truly awkward introduction shenanigans. Hint to Juan Pablo- Any woman who shows up on the first night with a fake baby bump talking about having your baby…run! As fast as those nice little soccer legs of yours will carry you. Run far away.

I did like Andi the attorney, though.  I said, “She’s cute and smart. She’s a prosecutor.”

Zoe: “She’s a prostitute?!?”

This is how nasty rumors get started.

I’m a little stunned by the reaction of the girl who received the first impression rose. I don’t think anyone in the history of the show has ever answered the question, “Will you accept this rose?” with a grimace, a long pause and a terse, “Sure.”

This, of course, means she’s likely to be the one he will chase after the whole season. Mark my words.

Day 7

I’d have to say the most frustrating part of this whole experience is the fact that I’m not cheating, but everyone has taken it upon themselves to try to catch me doing what I said I wasn’t going to do.

Now, if I had said to them, “I don’t think I have enough self-control to do this on my own without supervision. Please harass me several times throughout the day to make sure I’m not on Facebook,” then I could understand. But I didn’t. This was my choice, and if I fail, I am the one who has to live with it. I’m not a fan of being babysat.

Today at school pickup my friend said to Parker, “Thanks a lot Parker. Now that you have an Instagram account, MY son wants an Instagram account.”

I looked at him.

“You have an Instagram account? Since when?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

I looked at Zoe.

“Did you help Parker create an Instagram account without my knowledge or permission?”

“Yes, but he hasn’t posted anything yet.”

I’m only off Social media for a week and I have one of my kids creating Instagram accounts, and, so I hear,  a Facebook friend using a close-up photo of my t-shirt (boobs)  as his cover photo.

Fantastic.

One week down, two to go.

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One thought on “Dear Diary- Musings From My 21 Day Social Media Fast (Pt 1)”

  1. Great post, Katie! Great job on your fast, and welcome back. I often daydream about completely going off of Facebook, but my faraway family would protest. I giggled at the “suck it up” comment about Zoe not feeling well for the first day back to school. Recently the school nurse for Truman called and said: “Truman isn’t feeling well, but when I asked him if I should call his mother, he said ‘no, she’ll just tell me to suck it up.'” Too funny!!

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