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Ormond Beach Observer Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 4 years ago

Big Kid Now: I took a week off social media and the world didn't end

My FOMO (fear of missing out) was put to the ultimate test.
by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

I have a pretty flexible morning routine, with each day being vastly different from the last. But one thing that never changes is my wake-up-and-check-Facebook-while laying-in-bed-and-contemplating-going-back-to-sleep ritual. Except for the occasional dropping-my-phone-on-my-face-and-thinking-I-broke-my-own-nose moments. Those are fun. 

The first thing my tired eyes and non-functioning brain takes in is an endless feed of humblebrags, vacation photos and political rants. It's no wonder I usually get out on the wrong, more bitter side of bed. 

Because we basically share a brain, my best friend, Lauren, texted me out of the blue and said "Do you wanna do a social media cleanse with me?" Even from across the country, she still knows exactly what I'm thinking. 

So we set out on what seemed like an impossible task at the time: one week, no social media. This included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. Instead of filling our days with updates on what life "should" look like, we were going to spend some time experiencing what it really was. 

The first few days were, er, difficult. With all my go-to apps no longer on my phone, I found myself just staring at my home screen wondering what the heck I should be looking at. My mom was no help either, as she was constantly asking me if I had seen so and so's new haircut or what my brother had tweeted that day. Knowing that I was missing out on some juicy gossip was making it hard to focus on living in the moment. But I tuckered on, and something kind of amazing happened. 

I forgot about it all. 

On the fourth day, I woke up and stretched. I rolled around in my bed for a few minutes, stared at the scenery outside my window and listened to my neighbor yell at her dog for not going number two. Instead of waking up to a feed of fake, I was starting my day with real life: unfiltered and unedited. 

At the time of writing this column, I'm on my final day of the cleanse. Though part of me feel like I've missed out on so much, I know in the grand scheme of things nothing has changed except my own perspective. Rather than seeing social media as something I have to participate in to feel like real human, I'm looking at it as another way to stay connected. It's a quick peak into the parts of my life I want to share, an overview of who I am as a person. 

Though I plan on logging in come tomorrow, I don't think I'll go back to my old morning routine. Without social media my phone might be boring, but life surely isn't. 


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