I have heard that when someone loses the ability to use one of their primary senses that the other senses step up their game and become heightened. For instance, if you lose your sight, your ability to hear becomes more significant, or your sense of smell is more perfected. I have no idea if that is true. I wonder if losing sight means you are forced to pay attention to your surroundings all the more. I wonder if not being able to see requires you to listen for clues around you and sniff out both dangerous and pleasurable surroundings.
A few months ago, had I been asked what I enjoy most about social media, I would have told you the pictures. I would have let you know that I was not worried by the arguing, nor did I feel a need to engage in rants. I would have said the marketing didn’t have much of an impact on me and that people who use it mainly to sell their wares don’t bother, neither do they tempt me.
However, having been on a social media break for a few weeks has shown me otherwise. I feel a lightness where the arguing used to be. I feel less anxiety because I’m not privy to anyone’s rants on the government or GMO’s or the weather. I’m less tempted to buy things I don’t need because I’m not watching the live videos about the flash sales or the latest version of the newest thing that I can’t live without.
Here’s what I miss: the pictures. The one thing I really enjoyed the most about social media is seeing pictures. I don’t miss seeing pictures of my friend’s dinner, but I do miss seeing that picture and knowing they went to a cool new restaurant. I miss seeing pictures of birthday parties and knowing that families from the church were celebrating their children. I miss finding out gender reveals and engagements and funerals.
I’m learning, or maybe I should say I am relearning, the value of personal interaction with friends. I’m relearning to pick up the phone and text or, get this, call people. The crazy thing is that social media is literally the only way some people communicate big news. Or any news. So I could see, if I never went back to social media, that there would be people I never hear from again. And truth be told, that might be okay.
In the absence of daily scrolling, I’m reading books I have wanted to read for a long time. I am watching movies I have always wanted to see. I’m noticing the birds in my back yard more. While waiting for my bathtub to fill last week, I watched a male and female cardinal share a white moth for dinner outside my window. Honestly, the way they fed each other was fascinating. I most likely would have missed that before. I would have been scrolling. I see the world around me with new eyes; eyes that aren’t as rushed and anxious. I hear music with fresh ears because I am focusing on the words and notes and not multi-tasking. I got a pedicure and shut my eyes during the leg massage, thanking God for the woman who was caring for my feet and legs so well — adding gratitude during this time that I used to scroll added immense pleasure to the entire experience. Taking away the scrolling has heightened all my senses.
I’m not sure how long this break will last but I am thoroughly enjoying the benefits. I know I will pick some aspects of social media back up; most likely before school starts because I don’t want to miss important information. But I am seriously considering my plan for when that day comes. I don’t want to be sucked back in to the daily, no, hourly temptation to numb the world around me with looking at various feeds. This awakening of my senses has been a delight for my creative soul and I am excited to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch what else God has in store for me.