By John Olivares
Within four hours of my social media exile, I began freaking out. I don’t exist without social media. My life only seems real when all of my followers know about it. For two weeks I made the decision to stay away.
Those 14 days were life-changing. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr were blacklisted.
I became a digital-native zombie. Creating more value in my life, reducing information hoarding, focusing on school and appreciating the time spent with friends and family were my motivations for giving up social media.
The first couple of days were full of withdrawal symptoms.
I kept trying to open one of my social media apps. My mind was corrupted 32 times that first day and 105 times in two weeks, according to my personal tallies.
On the first day I began feeling good but my mood started to change around noon. Anger and isolation lead me to snap at people. My room, the kitchen and bathroom were cleaned within two hours to keep my mind busy.
I slowly began to miss it less as the days went on.
It came up during conversations, which was when I needed it the most.
People I talked to consistently checked their phones.
Being left in the dark was agitating.
The constant check of family and friends on social media gives me a sense of comfort. Not being able to made me an outsider to my own life.
But then I sat down to talk to my mom. She had a deep conversation with me and I learned that my brother scored four of the six goals at his opening soccer game. Nothing meant more to me that day.
My old morning routine consisted of waking up, checking Instagram and checking Snapchat.
With those voids, there was time to cook an omelette and watch the news.
By the second week, it was clear my life had become less about filters and hashtags, and more about bettering myself.
Realizing that my happiness relies heavily on social media is not a good thing. I started drawing again, like I used to in high school.
Keeping up with everything I juggle during school was so much easier. My homework was done everyday no later than 8 p.m.
Not knowing what my friends were doing everyday turned out to be liberating. We had better conversations when there wasn’t a constant plug into their lives.
I talked to far fewer people, but had far more meaningful conversations.
Living a better, more present life is my goal and in order to do that it was necessary to stop bombarding myself with information on how everyone else was living theirs.
Most of my time is spent with my phone glued to my hand, texting, calling and checking social media.
Once the two weeks came to an end, there wasn’t an urge to keep checking my phone.
That was refreshing.