I decided to give up social media for Lent again this year. It was (once again) a hell of a time to do it. I suppose it will always be a hell of a time — FOMO can be hard to navigate.
I didn’t completely give it up, full disclosure. I kept up a bit with the Compaas Twitter account. It follows many of the same people as my personal account. There were times when I felt disconnected… but also times when I treasured that disconnection. It can be all-consuming keeping up with all the bad shit happening in the world. I fall into the pit of feeling like something amazing will happen and I won’t be there.
Partway through Lent, I got an unexpected gift. Yeah, I should go look this up to get the details right at some point, but here’s the short version. I was listening to the NPR Politics podcast (OMG I love that podcast!) and it got to the “Can’t let it go” segment. This is when each participant shares something they just Can’t Let Go — politics or otherwise. On this episode, one of the reporters had a hot take about politics and the constant drama happening in the White House. She was on vacation, and clearing out all the notifications on her phone so she could relax. “Should I turn off the New York Times?” she asked her traveling companion. “There’s so much happening. I could miss something!”
(Okay I just tried to find a transcript but couldn’t, so this will probably never have the details but hear me out.)
Her friend said that while we all talk about the White House like it’s a “reality show,” it’s actually more like a soap opera. You think you’re going to miss something, but actually there’s a bunch of drama and nothing changes. Not really. You can go away from the news for a week. Everything is mostly the same as when you left. Lots of activity but very few actual changes. Save something extraordinary (like Parkland), you can pop right back into the story when you’re back. You may have missed the adrenaline of being There As It Happened. But you didn’t miss anything.
That’s kind of how I feel about Lent, looking back on it. I stayed connected to events, mostly. A high school friend lost her father while I was off FB, and another friend made sure I heard the sad news.
I’ll probably spend less time on social media for awhile post-Lent. And then it will creep up on me bit by bit again, until it’s eating into my brain unbidden. If nothing else, it’s been a good exercise in not getting caught up in every detail that goes by.