Well, well, well.
We meet again. Or something.
Last we spoke I shared about my woefully pathetic inability to moderate my Facebook use in spite of kind of hating Facebook, and declared I was no longer going to be scrolling through statuses.
Weeks later, I’m both proud and, frankly, amazed that I’ve actually stuck to it. If you see me liking things or leaving comments, it means something was at the top of my feed when I opened Facebook, which I occasionally still do. And I cannot even tell you how much of a difference this seemingly small change has made in pretty much every area of my life. It admittedly seems silly to say that because no, I had not been spending all day, every day parked in front of my computer or smart phone, but the mental and emotional space it took up was still apparently too much. And I know this because I have since found the time and, even more difficult to come by, inspiration, to organize and clean stuff out that has been calling my name for years. Leisure time feels more leisurely. Last week I got back into touch with a dear friend from childhood whom I had not spoken to or heard from in three years (she’s not on social media, see), and it was so very good to hear her voice. I am planning a major kitchen remodel with my husband and not losing my sanity (yet). I am reading good books.
And I don’t miss my social media habits in the least.
What I perhaps find most interesting about all of this is that I’m thinking more now about the things, relationships, and values that I really, actually care about. Probably because there is, simply, more quiet in my life. Fewer distractions and fewer superfluous interactions allow for a higher quality of interaction and a better understanding of yourself. Go figure.
The thing is that I really have no issues with the medium (in this case, Facebook) itself. I love being connected with the many people I’ve encountered throughout my life, people who knew me as a child or who discovered me through the blogosphere. I don’t think it’s some huge objective mistake to engage on these platforms, nor do I think everybody should deactivate their accounts or get rid of their phones. But how we use something is probably worth considering, and I do think that social media has the tendency to eclipse some pretty important things in the culture, namely authentic interaction within the context of face to face relationships, and also the possibility of quiet. That is perhaps what finally drove me away in the end, the incessant noise. The articles and arguing and hand-wringing and (un)professional posturing. The things that I knew deep down had absolutely NO bearing on my actual life, which by the way is quite beautiful and worth protecting from the daily onslaught of frustration and anxiety.
Social media is here to stay and can be a fantastic tool, but I am no longer compelled to invest there like I used to.
It’s funny because when I made the initial decision to stop scrolling through my Facebook feed, it was mostly an experiment. I was curious to know if I could do it, if I could simply say “no more!”, and walk away. Turns out I could, and I really haven’t looked back. I don’t believe I’ve lost anything, because I traded the feeling (more often than not, an illusion) of online connectedness for the fictional world of Harper Lee and the practical wisdom of Marie Kondo, who may actually be my long-lost soulmate–oh the things we could throw away together! True story: I love getting rid of stuff.
So friends, what have I been filling this social media void with? Most of my time lately has really been consumed by this kitchen project, none of which is DIY but all of which necessitates some sort of complex decision making. Also, mathematics are involved. So yay for a husband who actually enjoys numbers. It has been a lot of fun but also a bit of a pain, too, and construction hasn’t even begun yet. I am fairly certain that when the IKEA kitchen planner shows up at my home tomorrow morning to help us lay out our kitchen, she will not really have much work to do because we may or may not be the most control-freakish customers in all the world, who already have the whole thing planned out, right down to the inches and the sort of cabinets and drawers and pull-outs, and where they go, and how many inner drawers they contain. Not that we stayed up until 1 am last night planning that out or anything. Today I have to order a ginormous faux beam for the ceiling–unfinished–and figure out some sort of dark stain for it. The sink is on its way, the range hood and pendant lights and garbage disposal are pending shipping, and I FINALLY chose a backsplash I actually like. That was a real pain by the way, because it turns out there aren’t a lot of backsplash options I actually like. And it turns out that 2″ x 8″ is not a particularly common size for white glossy glass modern rectangular tiles. Who knew?
Meanwhile our contractor is getting ready to scrape and refinish ceilings, and cut into our floor and walls and stuff. The nice thing is that we’re completely relocating the kitchen, so we won’t lose our current kitchen–with its malfunctioning and smelly appliances–during the process. That’s winning, if I do say so myself. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me to blog this process, which I will indeed do because what could be more inspirational than diving into a remodel when you’re pregnant and you have eight kids?
Wait. Have I told you I’m pregnant? Numero Nueve. Due in June. Couldn’t be more thrilled when I stop to think about it, but I admit that doesn’t happen all the time because I’m typically busy chasing my toddler through Target or squinting in front of the laptop pondering whether 15″ or 18″ drawer pulls are best. (Three inches MATTERS, people!) But in any case, another baby Heldt will be received by all with delight and joy this summer, and the toddler will become a Big Sister, allowing her further opportunity to control and dominate assorted vulnerable family members.
So that’s my life these days, in a nutshell. If you’ve ever considered attempting to tame the beast that is social media, I highly encourage you to give it a shot. You will have more time for reading, playing, the purging of belongings, and obsessive type-A planning. You won’t necessarily be in the know about the latest cutting-edge remarks by Donald Trump or Pope Francis, but you also might not really care. If you’re looking for a good place to start, choose the social media platform where you spend the most time, and decide not to scroll. Easy peasy.
And then let me know how it goes! Because now that I’m no longer scrolling in my spare time, I can always use a diversion.