Impressions from My Ten Day Social Media Fast Part I
We Needed Help!
I lived in Utah growing up and now that we are retired, we are back to Utah after many adventures in the South Pacific and other fascinating places in the world.
This has been an extraordinary year in Utah. The weather was so dry that we had minimal rainfall. We live in a desert, but when a desert has a drought, you are in trouble. Thankfully we live near mountains that can occasionally catch some of the clouds drifting by and beg for a few drops of rain. Once in a while, they catch lightning strikes also.
Unfortunately, we had the worst fires Utah has seen in quite a long time. Many homes were burned and many dollars spent trying to get them out. Thank you to the firefighters and their families for their great sacrifices.
Trial by Fire
I had my own fire to go through. The Prophet, Russel M. Nelson, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked the women in a conference to take a ten-day fast from social media. Having become totally involved in all my family and friend's lives through this addicting medium, I realized this would be a trial indeed, but I was determined to see it through. Here are a few of my impressions on a day-to-day basis from this experience.
First day of My Media Fast
Today was Columbus Day in America. I noticed the flags on several homes on my drive. As I went bargain shopping, I was listening to the radio. The first song had lyrics that blared: “Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through hell with you”. That was disturbing and probably true for those not willing to try to get to heaven.
As I walked through the second-hand store, I heard some of the comments by nearby shoppers. One admitted she was a shopaholic. Babies were screaming in their carts as mothers frantically looked for bargains. I felt sorry for the little children begging for their parent’s attention. A little boy tried to get his father’s attention by saying “look Daddy” over and over for about two minutes straight. The father never did look and the little boy was frustrated. One little girl told her mother, “I want to go home now!” No wonder kids do not listen to their parents when they get older.
Peaceful solitude - my husband went to work and instead of playing songs or the television in the background, I wanted today to be peaceful. I realized how quiet it was in the house. Usually, I get a bit creeped out being by myself, but I enjoyed the silence and tried to think of positive things.
I realized at the end of the day that I did get more done than usual. I cleaned out my closet and exchanged summer clothes for winter ones. I also thinned out my older clothes and put them in a bag to give away to charity.
Since it was quiet, I didn’t raise my voice as much as usual. Without the extra noise that usually wafts through the rooms and down the hall, the only sounds I was aware of were the ringing in my ears (I have chronic tinnitus), the ticking of the clock, and the sound of the furnace.
I am not new to fasting. In our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught to fast, especially on the first Sunday of each month. We fast for two meals and then give the money that we would have used for our fast offerings. This money goes to the headquarters of the Church and is used to help people of all faiths who are affected by natural disasters throughout the world. I had more gratitude for being taught this fundamental exercise and lesson to help others in need.
Green Eyed Monster, Go Away!
I felt less jealous than usual. As I previously went through the social media, sometimes I would see “green”, especially when others post their many travels, dances with all the elegant clothing, beautifully made-up faces, and “braggings”. Some people have called it “Fakebook” - sometimes I think that is very true. Do they do it intentionally? Often it feels like it. You have to be strong mentally and emotionally to use social media daily. Also, you don’t want to offend anyone by “unfriending” them.
I definitely did get more family history done. I have had my DNA tested twice at two different services. I get new DNA matches almost weekly. I try to reach out to some of them to find out how we are related. I have heard from a few of them and it is fun to know my new cousins.
I have more time for my tutoring job. I teach English in China, Taiwan, and Japan. It does not bring in very much money, but it supplements our retirement. At least I can earn money for gifts for my grandchildren and any bargains that I can find for myself.
I feel a sense of accomplishment being able to control my urge to look at social media. It came up several times in my mind, but I pushed it aside.
With my husband, I noticed I was less moody. Hopefully, it will continue through the whole ten days.
I had time to meditate upon the reason why I was on a social media fast. Had I allowed this addiction to get in the way of other more important things. I believe I have. Hopefully, I will use my freedoms in a better way in the future.
I resisted the urge to look at my phone, and by so doing, missed two important messages. One from my husband and one from my dear friend in Hawaii. I was trying very hard not to look at any social media.
I did read my email, but most articles that I really like, I usually share them on social media, in particular: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sometimes Google+ and LinkedIn. I also have a couple of blogs that I own. I am a freelance writer and the best way to get “traffic” is to post on the social media sites. Many of my friends give a thumbs up or heart and occasionally make a comment. We’ll see if I have any friends left after the ten-day fast. I actually make a little money from my posts, so this challenge is harder for those of us who rely on a certain amount of “hits” for income. Many of my emails had articles that I wanted to share. Not today!
So, I spent quite a bit of time looking for my ancestors on ancestry.com. At least I felt like I was serving others by doing so. We make the time to go to the temple usually weekly. My husband is a sealer in the temple nearby, so he has a calling to work two days a week. I usually supply him with names from our family to take to the temple. If there is someone sick or in need of help, we submit their names to the temple so they can receive blessings.
If you want to see more impressions from the rest of my social media fast, go here.
Another testimony about fasting from Social Media
Have you gone on a social media fast?
© 2018 Elayne