Recently, we were blessed with a gorgeous day on our little campus. After days of dreary skies and icy rain, we were greeted by a clear, sunny day. It was one of those afternoons where you relish in the feeling of warmth on your face, smelling the fresh cut grass as a gentle breeze rustles through the trees. It was perfect.
The lush, grassy hill by the amphitheater on the green is everyone’s favorite spot to enjoy the nice weather, myself included. I had my sunglasses on, an iced latte in my hand, and my phone was off. You think I’m kidding, but seriously, it wasn’t on “Do Not Disturb” or “Airplane” mode, the thing was off. Really and truly off. I had given myself permission to take an hour-long social media hiatus.
Complete disconnection is unheard of nowadays and an utterly foreign concept to millennials – social media is an enormous part of our lives. Our society is built on connectivity and it is virtually impossible to go off the grid for any length of time. The sensory overload can be truly overwhelming at times – we have almost unlimited access to unlimited information anytime, anywhere. We’re constantly bombarded by emails, phone calls, texts, and snaps, to the point where a social media hiatus is no longer just a desire – it is a necessity.
As a college student and a freelance writer, I’ve fallen into the bad habit of not actually “ending” my days. After a long day of class and work, it’s easy to open up my laptop and decompress by planning my wedding on Pinterest or “quickly” checking Facebook because I’ve hit a rough patch of writer’s block. I’ll send mass snaps to my friends to vent about current frustrations and spend an hour mindlessly scrolling through Twitter before I go to bed. Social media is a wonderful and, obviously, it can be super entertaining (the face-swap filter on Snapchat, anyone?), but with the opportunity it affords, it also requires a certain sense of self-control.
But disconnecting is hard. We feel like we’ll miss out if we don’t constantly have our finger on the pulse of pop culture, or if we miss a text from our best friend filling us in on what happened at the latest party. But the constant stress and anxiety aren’t always worth the connectivity, and there’s no shame in wanting to take a moment to disconnect, to leave something undocumented. Just because we don’t take a video at a concert or capture the perfect selfie in Times Square doesn’t mean we didn’t hear the music or feel the rush of the city. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have those experiences. It means that we lived those experiences.
Taking a brief social media hiatus allows us to remember what it means to have an experience. It shows us how to live in the moment, how to be present. It reminds us that, unfortunately, we can miss out on experiences because we’re trying to document them.
The world will be there when you return from your hiatus, and you’ll be able to tackle whatever comes your way. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and escape in pursuit of a glorious disconnect.
Image via Amelia Kramer