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 â€” FOMO can be hard to navigate.
I didnâ€™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 disconnectedâ€¦ 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 wonâ€™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 hereâ€™s the short version. I was listening to the NPR Politics podcast (OMG I love that podcast!) and it got to the â€œCanâ€™t let it goâ€ segment. This is when each participant shares something they just Canâ€™t Let Go â€” 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. â€œShould I turn off the New York Times?â€ she asked her traveling companion. â€œThereâ€™s so much happening. I could miss something!â€
(Okay I just tried to find a transcript but couldnâ€™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 itâ€™s a â€œreality show,â€ itâ€™s actually more like a soap opera. You think youâ€™re going to miss something, but actually thereâ€™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 youâ€™re back. You may have missed the adrenaline of being There As It Happened. But you didnâ€™t miss anything.
Thatâ€™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.
Iâ€™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 itâ€™s eating into my brain unbidden. If nothing else, itâ€™s been a good exercise in not getting caught up in every detail that goes by.