(I write this typing with my left hand as my almost-1 year old naps in my dominant right arm. There might be plenty of typos and a little rambling in this post!)
Like all of you, the events of the past month or so (terrorist attacks, mass shootings, kidnappings, black deaths, and cop killings) have really shook me up. I have truly grieved over the things I have been watching on the news, not to mention stayed up late way too many nights worrying about this world and raising my little ones in it.
Strangely, I've found myself also thinking about my pursuits in blogging and on Instagram. I've wondered a lot about if these mediums are of any worth in this world at large, and if they are of any real value to my own precious time. And with the news, I have a bit more perspective on how precious time really is.
I didn't have any real answers by last week's end, but I did have a thought: to take a big step back and really evaluate if these pursuits are valuable, or how I can make them so.
That weekend (mostly) away from social media was definitely insightful for me. I usually do my best to keep my phone on a bookshelf and to only do things when my kids are napping, but the pull to check on my latest posts or write the next one (not to mention procrastinate my chores) is very real and always lurking in my mind. It was good to simply take that option completely off the table.
So with those days of clear thinking behind me, I've come to some conclusions:
1) I still want to try: As consuming as this blog and my Instagram can be, both have been a creative outlet for me in ways that even I have been surprised by. I have found my voice. I have found joy in sharing, whether is was a recipe or a TMI post on my personal history. I have found inner fulfillment in having something to "work" on outside my mothering duties. In many ways, these pursuits have refilled my well. I feel that I personally would like to try to see if that can continue, and even increase. With that in mind, I think the way to do that is to. . .
2) Make my social media pursuits more purpose-driven: My initial goals in starting these online ventures was to focus on making realistic progress in my life without the pressure of perfectionism, a pressure I personally think is all over the internet. I wanted to be real. I think I have done an OK job of this, but I want to do better. I have felt an outward push to post only the perfect things, to mimic others, and I have come across as more of a know-it-all than I've wanted to be. I also started this blog and Instagram with hopes that it would lend fuel to the fire of things things I love to do, and perhaps even lead to a career within them once my children are older: at first this was mainly writing and interior design. But as I've blogged, I've been surprised by how much I have enjoyed doing the style and recipe posts. I still want to post about these things too, despite them not being outright "progress' related.
So, how can I make all these topics and posts more purpose-driven? I'm hoping to make sure the heart of what I initially wanted to project is still there, and that is this: none of us are perfect, all of us are a little scared, but we can all TRY. Whether it's a recipe, a life-history post, or a fashion series, I want the feeling to be there that this is all in pursuit of making myself a better person, finding joy in experimenting and pushing myself, getting over fears, and hoping it's contagious enough to encourage others to do the same. The specifics of accomplishing this is still foggy for me, so I'm going to work on it. (How's that for progress? Ha!)
3) Clean up what I personally ingest: I am a bit embarrassed how much I love blogs and Instagram. In general, I'm simply not enthused by the things on Facebook, but I still find myself on there while procrastinating washing my dishes or putting away the laundry. There are a LOT of good people on the internet and I love being inspired by people's voices and what they are creating. But there are also a lot of people just in it for them, and projecting an image that is impossible to compete with, (even if its just my own internal war). I want to only follow people and read blogs that inspire me--personally--to be better and to do better. That, and laugh! I am enthused that I have found those unicorn-women who have seem to have found that balance of being inspiring, real, funny, and motivating. I want to find more of them! I also want to unfollow and stay away from people I find myself being discouraged by, even if it's not their fault.
In terms of using my time on social media, I want to challenge myself to get back to my roots when I initially got my smartphone: LEAVE IT BE (meaning, on my bookshelf) and to take it off only when the kids are sleeping/in quiet time. And when I do, still limit it to a half hour on Instagram. (That's probably a lot of time to most people still, but that is also apart of the business I'm attempting to be in.) I want to spend .1% of my day on Facebook, if that, and when I do make it to only check my playgroup page or share my latest blog post. I want to really connect with authentic people, build valuable relationships, and leave any time I've spend on social media feeling encouraged and happy, rather than mindlessly scrolling. I don't want social media to be my go-to time filler or my procrastination method-of-choice; I want it to be a useful tool I integrate in my life to make myself better. That's probably an impossible task, but I'm going to do my best before I shut it all down. And I guess that's my final decision . . .
4) Know when to shut it down: Beyond those daily moments where I realize it's time to turn off the computer or put the phone back down, I want to be aware of when my pursuits and my time spent on social media needs to come to an end. Perhaps it's a little break that is in order, like this past weekend. Or perhaps it will be a full-on sabbatical or even an official "retirement." I want to be wise and know when I can no longer feasibly accomplish my goals in these arenas, or when they are still controlling me rather than vice versa.
How have you better navigated the world of social media? Any tips you can share with me?
Also, are there any bloggers or Instagrammers who you feel meets that unicorn description I set up? (Real, motivating, inspiring, funny?)