When I was in high school I discovered AOL chat rooms. I found it fascinating I was able to talk to strangers and be unknown. My friends and I would spend hours in chatrooms causing trouble like any normal teenager would. In the early 2000′ the internet was the wild west. No one used their real photos or name. The moment we signed off, we were back to normal life.
My friend had this cool cousin, who told us about Myspace. We created profiles and sent friend request to each other. We were now part of a secret internet club adults didn’t know about. We would say, “What happen’s on Myspace, stays on myspace.”
When I moved to Sydney, I was extremely home sick. My new friends were annoyed at me, “You’re not in California anymore, you’re here.” Having a hard time transitioning, I decided to deleted my account. Then, deactivation wasn’t a thing; contacts, messages, photos – everything would be deleted with one click. When I did it, I remember feeling brave. I was leaving the comforts of friends behind, I was deleting my status of how many friends I have. My friend’s back home was mad at me, but I was now able to invest in the people around me. Deleting myspace took me to a new season in my life. I was able to see the world around me and embrace where God was taking me. I was able to focus on where I was.
When I moved back to California, Facebook opened their network to anyone who wanted to sign up. It was now my Australian life I couldn’t seem to let go. It wasn’t until a visit back to Sydney did I decide I had to more on. I stood there at the Darling Harbour, looking at the Opera House and said good bye out loud. When I returned I left Facebook for a while.
Today, social media is everywhere! Everyone has an account, even the distant aunt or the business down the street. We can no longer escape each other. I can now click through my profile photos and see my life happen in front of me. I see myself aging, changing, and becoming someone different – and I am also witnessing my friend transform. The dynamic of relationships dramatically change over a course of a time. I can’t leave snippy comments anymore to a friend to be funny, their wife is probably watching or their grandma.
Recently, Gus asked me, where was I when a certain part of history happened.. I answered, “Probably on Facebook,” The truth was, I probably was on Facebook, and if I’m not careful, I could spend the next ten years on social media, missing life happening in front of me. I didn’t like the truthful answer that came out of me. I began to think what if I left social media for a year. The answer to that question got me excited for the unknown. I don’t know what would happen. Maybe it would cause me to develop some deep meaningful friendships, and stop lying to myself about some of my friendships that, “we’re still close.” This time, leaving social media is about time- a time in my life that I am holding on to.
The next day I deactivated Facebook, Snapchat, and Instragram .. I’m still on Twitter since that’s easy more about information. The first day without social media, I found myself alone with my thoughts. I recorded an audio recording and what came out surprised me. My soul was speaking, and my heart was starting to pour out. I hadn’t expressed this much personal feelings in a long time, I knew I would never share it publicly, this recording was for me.
As the week went on I notice I am paying more attention to people – I was hungry for social interaction. As I walked around at the mall or church, I noticed I was receiving fresh insight on life that I haven’t had in years. I’m also enjoying listening to my husband talk, and give him my full attention. I can feel myself changing already. I want to use my time here on earth to do something other than scroll looking at photos of people who I don’t know.
I am 33, the age Jesus went to the cross, this was his last year on earth. He spent that time with people, and miracles were preformed. If I want a life of adventure, it requires sacrifice. I want to reconnect with myself, and the people around me.
Can you believe we are a few days away from 2017.
Time — the most valuable thing on Earth.