HAPPY AND CONTENT WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

Discovering how reducing your Social Media can free up space in your life

INTRO

My guest this week is Tomi from Think.Write.Inspire. When she saw that I was looking for Midlife bloggers to guest post for me on Social Saturdays, she very kindly offered to join the fun and suggested this post might be a good fit. I thought it was a great read and hope you enjoy meeting Tomi and reading about her encounter.

FINDING TIME

Recently I wrote about struggling with having enough time in my life to do all the things I want to do. I became aware of the fact that I needed to prioritize and spend my time on what’s really important to me. I have made some changes and I am liking the results. I am basically editing my normal routine to spend more time on what’s important to me and less time on what is not.

My time spent on social media, surfing the net, and emails has diminished greatly. I have found more time, and I am loving it. This new freedom made me think of a piece I wrote about a year and a half ago. I wanted to share it with you.



MAY 2015

Last Friday I attended my daughter’s regional track meet. As it often happens, I am there much earlier than when any of her events start. She likes me to bring her a sandwich from Jimmy John’s or Subway; however, she wants time for the food to settle before she has to run. So, I show up early.

I was looking through the stands, seeing if I knew anyone, and where I might find a good seat for myself and my husband, who would be joining me later. My random seat choice ended up being the best choice I could have made.



A CHANCE MEETING

I sat by a lady who is a teacher and middle school track coach. She was there for three reasons: 1) She had former students/athletes running; 2) Her son who ran in college was now a high school track coach; and 3) She just loves track.

We sat there for hours. Despite the cold, wind, and rain, we had a wonderful time visiting. My impression of her was that she was genuine, funny, smart, capable, and utterly content with her simplistic lifestyle. Being a teacher, she has her summers off. She lives in the country, enjoys gardening, exercising, reading, and seeing family anytime she can. She engages in no social media….none. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus+, Tumbler, etc. She doesn’t own an iPhone. She has a flip phone.


WHAT? NO SOCIAL MEDIA!

I’ll be the first to admit, I was really taken back by all of this. Actually, I was kind of astonished. I have aunts in their 80s who are on Facebook. Almost everyone I know loves Pinterest. Most people I know use some form of social media. Here was an attractive, sharp middle aged woman with no interest in social media. Not having a smart phone, she doesn’t take any pictures, she doesn’t check her email, she doesn’t participate in any social media, and she has the same ring tone no matter who calls. I know this because her son, daughter in law, and husband all called during the course of our day.

So, I couldn’t help myself, I did question her about her lack of interaction with the world. How could she not be on Facebook? She really only checks her email once a day? And, her phone gets put up when she gets home? She doesn’t keep it by her bedside or by her all the time? She was so sure of herself and felt nothing was lacking in her life.


FOMO

I guess what really got me was: What does she do with all that extra time? How does she not feel like she is missing out? How can she live that simply and be that content? She honestly seemed like one of the most satisfied, content, and happy individuals I have ever met. I was impressed and mystified all at the same time. 

At the end of the meet (yes, we stayed until the very last race) we had become fast friends. Obviously, we won’t stay connected through social media, but she said perhaps we would see one another at a future track meet and she would look out for my daughter’s future successes in track. They aren’t in our league, but there is a chance I will see her again. And, I believe her, she will remember my daughter’s name and she will cheer her on. She is that kind of person.

MY TAKE AWAY FROM THE MEETING

This whole experience made me reevaluate how I use social media and how often I use technology. I do think it’s important to have balance, and that is what I am striving for.


Tomi Rues is an adjunct college teacher and creative nonfiction writer. She teaches communication classes including Public Speaking and Oral Interpretation. Her writing has been featured in Prairie Ink: A Literary Annual, The Christian Science Sentinel, Lifehack (tips for life), and Midlife Blvd. She is a member of the High Plains Writing Group.

Blog: http://www.thinkwriteinspire.com/
Amazon Author Site: https://www.amazon.com/Tomi-Rues/e/B06XCWP4YN





Discovering how reducing your Social Media can free up space in your life

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29 comments

  1. A great story Tomi and Leanne, thanks for sharing. As I sit here trying to catch up on comments, blogs to read and share and all the time watching the clock as I have to get ready to go out to meet up with friends for my usual Saturday Coffee catch up (in person), I sometimes wish I wasn't on social media too. But the fear of not knowing something important or staying in touch with friends and family all over the world makes it hard for me to decide to cut it out all together. I agree, I think it's all about balance and I'm striving for that too. Great thought provoking post as we head into the weekend. Debbie from Debs-world.com

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    1. Hi Deb - it's something that I think about a lot too. It's why I haven't started a Twitter or IG account - what I have already takes up way too much of my time! I'm thinking of paring back on my blogging next year which will have a flow on effect of not being online for hours every day - and hopefully out in the fresh air and sunshine more often! Enjoy that coffee date x

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  2. Yes! I have logged out of facebook. I still check in, once a day or every 2 days, but I don't comment or like everything I see, I don't engage as much. Living on the far side of the world away from friends and family, cutting social media isn't really an option if I want to stay in the loop of what's happening in their lives, and I do!

    But yes. I'm learning to cut back. Games are my worst time-suck. I was doing well to limit that, too, for a while. I need to get back to that.

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    1. I think a lot of people have pulled back from Facebook Red - most of my children's generation only post major events (births, engagements, weddings) they've moved on from giving daily updates. Having less to look at means less time waste - and that's a bonus for all of us!

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  3. Hi, Tomi - It's a pleasure to meet you here. I'm finding that I am using Social Media less and less. Surprisingly, life still goes on :) . Not surprisingly, this has given me much more time for other things that are important to me.
    Great guest post!

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    1. Thanks Donna - I often wonder whether I'd spend much time at all on SM if it wasn't for the blog! I'm going to take a few weeks off over Christmas and it will be interesting to see how I fill my time when I don't need to be online as frequently.

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  4. Great post, balance is the goal for me. "Living" online is too much, checking things constantly takes over your life. I am starting a new routine this week where I check platforms tied to my blog just 3 times, morning, noon and around 4:00 p.m., that should be enough! Thank you again for the post :)

    Lori Jo - 50 With Flair
    www.50withflair.com

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    1. It can take over your life if you aren't careful Lori Jo - the more time we invest in our blogs, the more time we seem to spend on SM and promotion. I think paring back on the blogging equals paring back on the SM suck of time.

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  5. I learned long ago that too much of most things can be negative but ruling out anything can also have drawbacks. Balance is key. I think when it comes to social media it also depends on how widespread and large your family and friend group is - having lived in several states and countries, it is difficult to keep in touch otherwise.

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    1. I think SM has so many benefits - Facebook has brought me a lot of joy over the years, but you're right Janet - it has to be in balance. If I end up online all day long then it drains me and I know that I'm not getting the physical exercise or the mental break that I need to keep truly healthy.

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  6. Funny that I found this post through social media, and I am sharing it on social media. But I do get the point. I'm 65, meaning I've spent the majority of my life without social media. I do use social media, and more than I should. But it's become the main way I have to keep up with certain members of my in laws. And, life would be so much harder without texting, as my mother in law ails and I have to keep various people posted (not social media, but still part of our electronic world.) Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. You're right Alana, SM has so many useful options and it can be such a godsend for us at times. The time and money we save by being able to message or post is amazing - I think the secret is to use it wisely and to know your limits - it can take over your world if you aren't careful can't it?

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  7. Hi Tomi, how refreshing to find someone in this world who is not consumed with interacting on social media. My mantra for life is "everything in moderation" and I apply that to social media as well. I no longer post on FB, and rarely like, comment or even scroll through my feed, but I won't delete it, for the same reason others have mentioned - staying in the loop. I love having an Instagram account, and post my photographs there regularly. The validation that I receive is very encouraging to continue that hobby. My Blog is satisfying, but not time consuming since I post only when I have something I want to share. I enjoy reading posts from Blogs that I subscribe to, but again, in moderation. Leanne's Blog is a favorite because she introduces her readers to interesting people - like you! Thanks for the reminder that there are folks out there that are contented to live sans social media.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - thank you for the lovely compliment about my blog. You're quite right about using our time online wisely. I don't use IG (I'm not a photographer) and I don't have a Twitter account. I sometimes wonder if I used all the platforms if I'd ever get off my computer or phone! One day I'll stop blogging and I'll have so much spare time I'm not sure what I'll do with it all!

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  8. Balance. What we're all seeking. What a grand lesson!

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    1. I think it's the magic word Diane - if we get the balance right then SM is a wonderful addition to our lives - out of balance and it can become a nightmare!

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  9. Hi Tomi, lovely to meet you and a great reminder that we all need a technology break regularly. I love Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch with family and friends but when it takes over and stops us enjoying life with new experiences, we need to take stock and pull back. I'm taking a technology break, including a break from my blog, in October for two weeks as we cruise around Japan. Although I love the connection with readers and friends, it will be lovely not to have the pressure of checking in regularly. There is a big world out there with exciting experiences for us to discover and we won't do that stuck to a screen. Thanks for the reminder and a lovley story.

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    1. I think your Japanese break sounds delightful Sue - to be able to turn off the screen and just look at the beauty of nature and a different culture - without the need to be looking through a camera every moment - will be a wonderful break and time of refreshment (I'll miss you though!)

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  10. I am so thankful for Leanne and to all of you who read the post and those who commented. I am smiling ear to ear. I LOVED reading all the comments. My daughter just started college and I went to visit her for the first time this past weekend. I noticed at the beginning of our time together she was on her phone a bit. I noticed as the day went on she hardly ever picked it up. We were having real life, wonderful experiences. We got pedicures, got drinks at Starbucks, shopped, when to her university's football game, ate out, and ended the day by watching a movie. How wonderful to experience life fully, not to try to capture every moment so we could post on social media. We did snap two shots and posted those on Snapchat, but that was the extent of SM.
    What I am hearing everyone say is "Balance" and, yes, I feel this is the key.
    Once again, I am thankful for Leanne, I am thankful for the woman I met a few years back that I reference in my post, and I am thankful for this new way of life I am living.

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  11. Leanne,
    You made my post look so good! You have a way with headings and pictures. I so appreciate this opportunity to be featured on your blog. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Hi Tomi - it's been a pleasure having you as my Social Saturday guest for this week. I'm so glad you liked what I did with your lovely post and I think it was a great reminder to all of us (especially those of us who blog regularly!) to get off our SM and be present in real life as much as possible - or we're missing out! xx

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  12. Hi Tomi - Your post certainly makes a great point. The truth is, social media is a huge time suck!! I'd be less likely to be engaged if I weren't an author, but with books out there social media provides an avenue for meeting readers that would otherwise be unavailable, so I do have to schedule time for Facebook, Twitter, etc. And of course, you know I blog! But I have cut WAY back on social media in the last six months, and I have to say I'm enjoying all the extra time. Great post!

    Leanne, nice to meet you! If you need anymore guest bloggers, please let me know. I'll be happy to contribute. :)

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    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for popping over and I know what you mean about needing SM so our friends and readers know what and when we're writing something. I tend to also veg out on Pinterest and a couple of other sites I enjoy, and have to remind myself to close my laptop and get out in the air and move (or I'll become a potato!)
      I'd love you to write a guest post for me later in the year and have left you a note in your Contact Me section of your blog xx

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  13. I see it as an addiction really , that constant checking of the phone facebook whatever it is and while that is going on they have missed the joy of a child on the slippery dip , the eagle circling overhead, the letterbox shaped like a train, the smile in someones eyes as they pass. balance you say. seems to be very difficult for the younger ones - and I read of so many women who admit they are checking in all the time.I have middle aged friend with only a house phone , knows nothing else , doesn't even drive - yes very eccentric she is and another who has a phone and nothing else not even email.
    I blog every so often, use the email and send the daughters msgs- all very handy but I also ignore the whole thing as much as I can to maintain a balance for me because what is really important to me is to stay connected to this planet earth and all her Beings the majority of which dont do social media either but they do communicate and I so want to be available to hear them. thank you tomi and leanne, very thought provoking about how far down the rabbit hole we want to go.

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    1. I rarely use my phone - other than to send an occasional text or take a random picture Sandra - it's almost never in my hand and I have no understanding of the need to be constantly attached to it. Today's generation are different, they couldn't imagine not being permanently online - FOMO!
      We still have a landline telephone and I prefer it to my mobile for some reason - once they became cordless they were the best things ever! I also don't Tweet or Instagram - so I'm a bit of a Luddite!

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  14. I took a break from all social media several years ago and was amazed at how much time it opened up in my schedule. There are still times when I fall into the black hole, but my use of social media is much more considered rather than a mindless thing these days. I also try to have at least one social media/computer free day each weekend to keep that balance.

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    1. I aim to be offline all morning on the weekends Janet - it stops me being so rushed and I'm really not missing out on much. Everything is still there waiting when I log on! SM eats up time and is so easy to get sucked into - that being said, I'm off to do some more of my jigsaw and get off this laptop!

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  15. I don't do Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+ or anything else except Facebook, and I made a decision a while ago to "unfollow" most of my FB friends (no offence if you're one of them!!!). I've considered several times just quitting FB entirely, but having family interstate means I would be even more isolated by missing out on their posts and updates because that's the way they roll (yes, that's my FOMO). That would be my main reason for sticking with it (for now). I don't log in often, and I don't miss it, and can check in whenever I want to see what my loved ones have been up to. I really enjoyed your post Tomi, and thanks Leanne for introducing Tomi to your audience xx

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  16. I love Tommi's description of the lady she sat next to at the track event. That it inspired a self check on time and purpose of social media.
    We will feature this post it goes well with another feature of a similar theme from Hugh.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com