Just as quickly as 2022 became a reality, the first month of it has absolutely flown by. January 2022 was a bit of an experiment for me, as I tried to give up some things that bring me instant gratification. This took the form of social media and mindless television for me, and for my boyfriend – who came up with the very mindful idea – it also meant giving up video games and buying new cards for a card game he plays.
Now, there were some caveats to our conditions. My boyfriend was allowed to play video games one night because he got together with his cousins he hadn’t seen in a while to do so. I was allowed to watch the television show I am currently going through with my best friend, which occurred one day out of the month.
However, even with those special circumstances, we still molded the rules to fit our needs. That brings me to my analysis of the month and what it did for me. Here are four things I realized during my instant gratification cleanse.
There’s no reason to punish ourselves
Something I learned pretty quickly is that the social media and television ban was supposed to be a cleanse – not a punishment. Before doing the cleanse, my boyfriend and I watched a lot of television together. Turning to something else for entertainment like reading a book – which we each did – was a breath of fresh air. However, at times, the no TV rule felt like a slight punishment.
For example, we watched Les Miserables with my boyfriend’s sister and her partner because neither of the boys had seen it before. Before turning it on, my boyfriend and I debated whether or not it was appropriate for us to watch it with our ban in consideration. In the end, we decided punishing ourselves and the other couple because we decided we can’t watch any TV seemed counterproductive. It was a fun bonding experience for all of us.
Another instance of us molding the rules to better fit our needs came the last weekend of January. New Jersey got hit with a massive snow storm and we were snowed in the entire weekend. This meant we had no plans and no one to see besides our families. So, we used that time to finish watching Star Wars. Why did we feel like it was okay to technically “break” our rule? Because finishing the series when we had literally nothing else to do was the best way to utilize our time. Hey, we played in the snow, too!
I felt disconnected for no reason
This was not the first time I gave up social media. I went completely off of it during the summer of 2017, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. During that summer and the past month, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders because I was not always itching to post some cute picture or shared evidence that I do have a life. That part was great. However, the part I did not like was feeling disconnected from my friends. I know I can text or call a friend to catch up with their life, but I wanted to be able to comment on their pictures and let them know they looked great or that I was proud of them for the achievement they posted about. Of course, the whole issue here is literally instant gratification; I want to be able to keep up with my friends the moment they share their life with the world. In all honestly, I don’t see an issue with that. As long as I’m not obsessing over social media, I think I can set healthy boundaries to enjoy the instant connection of social media without it taking away from my life. Plus, it’s so much easier to keep up with friends on social media rather than texting multiple people every day to see what’s new with their lives – who has time for that?
I missed it, but I didn’t
I’ll admit here that I was actually on social media every day for the last month – but it was for work and my thrifting endeavors. I promise! So my social media ban was strictly personal. While I did miss the immediate connection with friends I get on social media, I wasn’t totally upset to be away from it. In fact, I even debated extending my ban. I think what the month taught me is that I can have my cake and eat it to when it comes to social media. I can be on it, but I don’t have to constantly be scrolling. I think my biggest lesson here is that I should continue limiting my consumption, but allow myself on it. What will that look like? I guess I’ll find out.
I’m still conflicted
One thing that the social media ban didn’t do for me is help me with my internal conflict regarding what I should be posting. I post a lot for the average Instagram user, but when I was off of it, I became disenchanted with showing my whole life online and I started questioning my motives. Who was I posting for? What actually made me happy? I could write pages about my feelings about this, but I will keep it short.
First, I love to post because I love to scrapbook. When I don’t post, I take less photos, therefore hurting my scrapbooking abilities. So, I need to post.
Second, I still don’t know what to do with my social media. As many of you reading (Hi Pop Pop) know, I thrift quite a lot and I sell clothes as a side hustle. Sometimes I dream of becoming a thrifting influencer, taking my followers on thrift trips with me and showing off my super cheap yet super cute outfits. I’m still deciding if I should be more quiet about my social life and just focus on that. Maybe there’s a happy medium. I definitely need to figure that out.
All in all, I think my instant gratification cleanse was super beneficial. It made me realize I can stay connected and post on Instagram and other platforms without needing to constantly scroll through it, which is a huge win. In terms of television consumption, I definitely feel like I will be more mindful about how much I watch going forward.
Have you ever done such a cleanse? Let me know in the comments below!