Five weeks ago I set myself the challenge to go one whole month without Facebook, twitter or Blogspot. I wanted to measure just how much of an important element it had become in my life, so as well as July without social media, I gave up three big loves: dairy, caffeine and alcohol.
Today I report on my findings.
My initial hypothesis was that as a good vegetarian girl, my biggest sense of loss would come from cheese. I was so wrong. Not to be misunderstood, dairy was the hardest vice to give up in that it was all around me. Day 1 I accidentally ate the little chocolate that came with my decaf-tea. Week 3 I brought spinach and ricotta tortellini for a quick dinner. One morning in week 2 I was running late and grabbed James' up'n'go from the fridge. But it wasn't the vice I craved the most.
I spent most of 2010 under the influence of alcohol. Back to full-time study with a part-time job in a pub and no car... You do the math. But since shacking up with the boy we hardly drink at all. James only drinks when he parties, and I don't really do that. = Easy.
Now caffeine is a vice for two reasons, sure the obvious one is coffee, but rest assured a soy hot chocolate is a pretty fine substitute. But Diet Coke has been my crutch for forever. I tried caffiene free Diet-Coke week 1 (don't) and it nearly made me ill. After that I settled for sparkling apple and soda water with lime. Not too hard.
From day 1, my biggest challenge was the overwhelming need to 'check' something. I'd get to work in the morning, put the kettle on, open my inbox and it was there, haunting me. The question that never left my head, the entire 31 days: What's happening? I learned I could quiet this desire with The Australian, The Age and abc.net.au, followed later in the month by Steve's suggestion, Time.com. Before I knew it, I'd developed a second addiction; current affairs. I figure, hey, better to know what's going on in the world than what my old high school chums are having for dinner.
So i survived it. But isn't the biggest lesson I learned.
At some point in the last two years, I have stopped thinking like a normal person, and started thinking about events in my life as status updates. Constantly, I'd hear something, or have some good news, or something stupid would happen and I'd think of a witty one-liner in which to relay such information to my extended network.
And when I didn't get to post a status update, I felt ripped off. Not only for myself, but for everyone else who missed out on my pure genius.
Where to from here?
I'm not going to reinstall the Facebook app on my iPhone. I have access to the internet at home and at work. That'll do. But I did realise that Facebook wasn't the reason I can't walk down the street without playing with my phone. My phone is. So I'm trying to leave it behind more often.
I've accepted Facebook does have a place in my life. I freaked out when James and I had 2 weeks to sell our Splendor tickets and 600+ potential buyers I was ignoring for 2.5 more weeks. WHOOPS! Luckily James knows my password. Thanks baby.
I'm happy not eating as much cheese, or drinking as much alcohol or coffee, and I've given up Diet Coke.
Next challenge; a month without bread and sugar. Because a detox hardly feels like a detox at all when it includes olive sourdough bread with hummus and raspberry licorice. But that can be a month down the track. I owe Anna and Harry a belated Xmas in July.
I can't encourage you all enough to do the same; if not for a month, then a week, and if not for a week, try a day. Remember what life was like before it all got so instant.
PS Hi Matt.