When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to be famous.
My parents gave me a Star Search microphone stand for Christmas when I was seven (or eight?) and I would perform for their friends and our family during gatherings. I’d climb up onto our giant brick fireplace and stand in front of the wood burning stove and sing my little heart out. I would watch Kids Incorporated and sing along with Stacy (Fergie!) and Robin (Jennifer Love Hewitt!).
In middle and high school, I got into theater and choir because I still wanted to be famous. I loved singing, especially in front of an audience. I yearned for the spotlight, enjoyed every second of being on stage, performing alongside my friends. I sang the national anthem at some home basketball games and lived for the applause at the end. Someone told me they heard me “kill it” on the local radio station that was covering the game and I rode that high for months.
When I graduated, I intended to get my first year of college done then go on to Indiana University and major in voice performance. One week into my college career, I realized I didn’t have the desire to be a starving artist the rest of my life, so I better find something else! Fast forward a few years, after a couple of false starts and several doubles in the restaurant biz, I found myself back on campus getting an English degree, with a focus on writing and literacy.
Shortly after I got back into the college routine, I had an experience that made me never want to be in the spotlight again.
This essay is published in full on my Substack.
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3
Over the last two years, I finally (major emphasis on that word) finished the novel I have been kicking around in my head for the better part of a decade. A whole ass decade!!
I largely have the pandemic to thank (really weird to thank such a horrible thing, lol) for getting it off the ground. When I started working from home permanently on March 13, 2020…
Over the last decade, it’s no secret that social media has wildly grown and become an essential piece of our daily lives. There are SO many pros to using a social media network, like connecting with friends, co-workers, family, or meeting awesome new friends. We can make connections around the globe and aren’t limited to the people who live in our vicinity. It’s truly a beautiful thing, when used correctly.
For me, Facebook became a site I logged into out of habit and rarely enjoyed my visit. I would endlessly scroll through the timeline and became increasingly annoyed at most of the posts I read. I got to a point where I would log in and think, “Why am I even here?”
Sure, I enjoyed seeing updates from friends and family about their happy lives, but i could no longer tolerate or scroll past the users who would blindly share incorrect information or misleading/fake news stories. I wanted to shake the person posting and scream, “Seriously, it takes 30 seconds to open Google and verify something these days!” I even texted a friend and said those exact words. Their response? They didn’t care or think it was a big deal. I finally reached a breaking point.
I decided to actually do something about it. I couldn’t continue correcting people in the comments (yeah, it’s fine, I was that person…). It was time for me to bid my adieus and bow out gracefully. But that isn’t the answer for everyone!
How do you know a social media detox, whether it’s in the form of deactivation or deletion, is right for you? Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Is this adding joy to my life, or is it simply a way to pass time?
- Would I miss it if I didn’t have it?
- Am I wasting too much time endlessly scrolling through a news feed, only to find myself annoyed or angry at the content I view?
That third question was a big YES for me and that’s how I knew it was time to detox. I ended up deleting my Facebook account in May after having it for 12 years. TWELVE YEARS! I mean, the archive this website had on me was insane (which, to be honest, was a great reason to delete it). I was worried I would have a serious case of FOMO, but I don’t. Sure, I miss connecting with friends and family but deleting has (happily) forced me to make phone calls and send texts/emails to the people I love.
I still have Twitter and Instagram, but I’ve changed my habits on both of those platforms after this detox. I took a small break from posting anything on those networks and even deleted the apps off my iPhone for a couple of weeks. I missed those much more than Facebook, though. It didn’t take long to reinstall those and I didn’t have a sense of dread when I did. I kind of had the “first day of school” feeling — you know, when you’re excited to get back to see all your friends and hear about what they did during the break!
When I decided to end my detox with Twitter and Instagram, the first two questions I mentioned before were now easily answered: yes, these do bring joy to my life (but also to pass time when I am waiting for someone or something), and yes, I did miss it when I didn’t have it. That’s how I knew I took enough time away.
Deleting Facebook was a bigger decision, given I was connected with family and friends. That, and I used Facebook for professional purposes. I help moderate several pages and groups on different networks for the podcasts on which I work, and I simply can’t abandon them. I found a way to work around this and still have a successful detox and/or removal of my main account, but it does require some effort.
- Make a new “burner” account. Create a new, separate profile without any friends or personal details (or what you consider to be the bare minimum of information for your profession).
- Log back into your original account and make that new burner account an admin/editor of all the pages you run. If you work for a company, make sure you clear this with your boss first!
- Log into the new profile and test! Double-check your permissions are correct and that you have access to everything you need.
- Wait a couple of weeks. Make sure you have everything you need from your original account before pulling the plug. Or, just rip off the bandaid – honestly, what’s the worst that can happen?
- Click that delete button! It’ll feel so good, I promise.
Would I detox again? Absolutely. I think it’s healthy to take a break from everything in life every now and again – it’s just like taking a vacation from work. Sometimes you just need to unplug!
Love to learn? Hone your craft or pick up a new skill via these websites to enhance your learning experience!
Calling all creatives, professionals, and lifelong learners! If you’re a vina who enjoys learning something new or honing a skill you have tucked away in your back pocket, there are many resources available around the web that can fulfill your educational needs on the cheap. Some require subscriptions, are free, and others are pay-per-course. Below, I’ve gathered some of my favorite sites to take online classes that are not only fun, but provide a great end-user experience.
Brit+Co is a great place to browse for classes. Prices are in the $25-50 range (never more than $90) and they offer many online classes to help you cultivate your creative side. The artsy courses they provide include calligraphy, how to kill it on Instagram, cookie decorating, how to throw a great cocktail party, and much more!
Level up and take a course with your vinas! They have a cool painting course you can purchase for a lovely Saturday night in with your vinas for just $29.00! Hit up your local hobby store to purchase the supplies (a list is provided) and have everyone pitch in to make it even more affordable. Just don’t forget the wine and snacks!
There are a few sites you can check out for courses that will help you advance your career. One of them is Canvas, the network that provides classes taught by some of the most prestigious universities in the world for free! Learn about Molecular Epidemiology from Ohio State University or The Best Practices for Biomedical Research Data Management from Harvard Medical School. Browse their course catalog to see if there’s something that piques your interest!
Skillshare is another favorite I discovered last year when a writer I follow on Twitter, Ashley C. Ford, promoted a course she was teaching about creative writing. Their categories include Creative, Lifestyle, Business, and Technology. There’s truly something for everyone; you can learn about accounting, management, graphic design, web development, and so much more—all taught by seasoned professionals. Skillshare is a paid service. You can either pay $15/month or $99/year. I recommend signing up for their free trial (an entire month) so you try before you buy.
FOR THE BIGGER BUDGET
Got some cash to burn and want to learn something from someone famous? Got’cha covered, babe. I’m a big fan of MasterClass, a site where you can learn specific skills or professions from the greats themselves. Take a course on cooking taught by Gordon Ramsay, learn photography from Annie Leibovitz, or enroll in a class on writing by Judy Blume or James Patterson. Each instructor provides video and workbook (PDF) lessons and walks you through how they’ve becoming successful over the course of their varied careers.
Once you enroll, you can go at your own pace and get involved with other classmates through their community, The Hub. The courses are $90/each but if you plan to take more than one or two in a calendar year, I highly recommend the year pass for $180. It’s so worth it!
Now that I’ve given you some different venues to check out, open up your browser and start checking out what these sites have to offer. You’re sure to find something you enjoy, either solo or to take with some friends. Don’t forget to share with us what you find in the comments below!
This post was originally published on the VINAzine <3