During my senior year of college, I had a senior project titled "Silent Fingers." This project was me chronically my journey of not using a cell phone for 30 days. Now, this was right when Instagram had just come out and still had bad filters and the only thing you posted on Facebook (at the time) was a cringe ending to "Patty Lauren is..." All that to say, I didn't have the connection to my cell phone that many of us have today.
I also had a landline at my apartment. I think I was the only person in my 20s with a landline, but I loved having it. The only way I communicated with people was e-mail and my landline. I loved every second of it. I worked with a couple of my best friends so I was seeing them every day already, the guy I was seeing at the time would send me these amazingly long, funny emails every day, and I would come home to a few voicemails. It all seemed so simple and carefree.
I aced my project, but the lessons have stayed with me. The constant yearning for more simplicity and less immediate gratification. Technology and social media since then have become like kudzu and trying to untangle yourself from it feels impossible.
At the start of 2023, I ditched my social media for some time away. It's not the first time I've done this and it's not the last, but it might be the most impactful. The older you get the more you realize social media is a total farce. There are parts of it I love (the beautiful pictures, ideas, keeping up with friends, sharing knowledge) but there are parts of it I hate (the endless scroll, the anxiety, the comparison, the unnecessary shopping.) I use social media for work so I can use the excuse "I'm working!" anytime I feel some of those icky feelings come through.
It's been less than 3 weeks but I can tell you a few things are certain. I have 95% less anxiety. I already have a creative's brain - it doesn't need more help being active. I have 100% less foxes to give (IYKYK.) I don't really care what I'm missing out on. I am waaaay more productive in the things that truly bring me joy. I've read almost 12 books so far this year! I'm spending intentional, quality time with my people.
If you aren't sure who your friends really are, get off social media. You'll find out real quick. Sometimes people don't understand why I have a very small circle of friends. It's because the thousands of people who follow me on social media aren't going to check in and see how I'm doing or know the crappy moments of my life, but my little tight-knit group will. Those are the people that matter in your life. Don't abandon and ignore them for likes and comments in the world. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will save you and you them.
It's not impossible to ditch your phone. Maybe not permanently. Maybe not for 30 days. But, you can set boundaries. You can delete apps. You can start living the life you are IN instead of the life you experience through a screen.