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Friday, May 4, 2018

The vacation from social media

It was on the flight that we made the decision.

The plane was dark and quiet, just the stillness of the droning white noise, as passengers fell into the late-night after dinner sleep. I turned to L and whispered "What if we took a break from social media? What if for the next two weeks, we just focused on us and the baby and being on vacation?"

I didn't expect him to agree, at least right away. I thought it might take some convincing. After all, we were both so involved in all aspects of social media. We lived and breathed it. It wasn't just our jobs. We are both so interested in it, that it's just a part of our lives, a big part of our lives.

Instead, immediately L said yes. For two weeks we wouldn't be posting anything personal online. There would not be constant updates of where we were. No requisite shot from the chaise lounges of our feet against the ocean blue, captioned #blessed. We wouldn't be posting our tropical meals, sunsets or the baby's many firsts in Hawaii. Our first vacation as a family of three would be just for us.  This vacation was part of L's paternity leave and we had decided to get away to just focus on the three of us.

The first couple of days were HARD. We were so used to posting everything in our lives as it happened that it felt odd to order the perfect fish tacos and not post it, or the fact that we all matched in our Hawaiian clothes one day. Sure, I took pictures from the food trucks and driving along the cliff at Haleakala but we didn't post them. We also refrained from text messaging. We did send several photos of Waverly to our family and to a couple close friends but we tried hard not to send constant updates.  It was hard to break the habit but slowly we did. By the third day, when I saw something stunning, I didn't automatically think "I should post that!"

There were hundreds of moments over the two weeks that would be have perfect to post. Too many perfect sunsets, so many moments of the baby splashing in the ocean, L smiling at me in that "I just had lunch by the pool and I am just so happy sitting here with my girls" kind of way. These moments were just for the three of us and to be honest, it made them all the more special because we weren't posing or rearranging the scene so it was pretty or more Instagrammable.

Instead, we banked these happy moments. I wrote a journal for Waverly so she would remember this trip somewhere in that evolving 8 month-old brain of hers and next week, I'll post some of the things that make Hawaii such a happy place.

What I learned from this social media break is that when I was focused on creating popular posts, it didn't make me happy. It took me away from being present. I think of the moments that I would have missed if I said "Hang on. I've got to get my phone." Instead, on a balmy evening with an orange sun setting into an indigo sky, with the palm trees swaying and the island air smelling like plumeria, I looked over at L and Waverly and thought 'happy.'


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