It’s quite a surprise when I read that there’s another gal who not only gets life, but my life. After grumbling to myself about the social media overkill at every turn, with no where to vent, I found myself reading a picture perfect post by my fellow blogger Deborah, The Monster in Your Closet. (Tame your fears…she sweeter than she sounds.) Well placed for my current frame of mind, and having someone to bounce my thoughts to and fro with, I have been inspired to write the following, and yes…to post it.

There is a world beyond my screen. (As I stare at one, mind wandering) In a society so ill prepared for the outside world I find it ironic that the same world is discussed in depth from our beds, chairs, cars…never fully appreciating what is just beyond our finger tips…life.

Posting about being humble while waiting for that glorious thumbs up to appear. Uploading a picture and holding your breath for a comment about how cute you all are. (And you are I’m sure.) Perhaps a tweet is sent out on a birthday in anticipation of being a retweet a hundred times over.

I use to put pictures up and count the moments until I got a comment, like, re-posting. I would linger, then return to my screen over and over while I groveled at the virtual feet of my ‘friends’. Staring into the screen as if just one click would be life altering. The let down of not taking the perfect picture of my child for posting, their lack of understanding my urgency to try again.

The world is filled with wonder and splendor, which most people seek out, so they can share it.

There is a togetherness found on social media, that for some, gives them the ability to socialize from far off lands, and find peace in their world often filled with war. Lost loved ones are found, good deeds are shared. People are given a chance to help those they would have never encountered without sharing, joining, clicking. If ever there was good to come from connecting this surely, is it.

The choice is always a private one…or public? The question remains…Is there a line?

My kids aren’t allowed to do social media until they are 13, just like they can’t drive until they’re 16, smoke before they are 18, drink before they turn 21. The reason for this is their safety. It is for their innocence, and my peace of mind. The world is harsh, cruel, and narcissistic. A child’s self esteem can be decimated by posting a picture with the wrong hair style. A teens small thought of being less than will become a tragedy and loss for many by online bullying. The individuality for some can be turned into a sideshow for the amusement of others. A simple picture can be turned into something vile by the wrong minds with a simple but all consuming click.

Unintentionally void of real, tangible human interaction…. Social networking and all its glory has taken intimacy out of the most intimate of moments. A child with special needs has a post made to boost the morale of their parents and memes are made about their appearances. A home made meal at the table no longer consists of the small talk so many families need to feel a sense of togetherness, instead replaced with pictures of said meal posted and watched…to remain connected. Stopping to take a quick pic for the grand first steps of your child, and missing the second…maybe even their arms reaching out to you during the third, because you just had to post the first step. A kiss is no longer a private and loving affair, but a reason for another because the lighting won’t look right when it’s uploaded. Marriages fall apart as a woman watches her husband exclude himself from what’s sitting in front of him, all so he can post about what is on his mind rather than talk to her. Private messages are sent to someone other than their spouse/partner they knows….they can’t compete with what is posed perfectly, edited just so, coloring, glossing, unrealistic. The snare is set. The desire for human contact dwindles with each click.

It’s been over two years since I closed my Facebook account. I’ve never sent a tweet or posted a picture to Instagram. Releasing myself from its grasp was well, painful. For a month I had to literally stop myself from logging back in. My desire for a status update was almost intolerable. Almost like I was addicted. Withdrawals long gone, I don’t regret it, not for moment.

In my journey of self exploration I have found little long term value in my life from being ‘liked’ by those who would otherwise be oblivious to my existence, despite their repeated friend requests. The few I still remain close with need not poke me to know I care or vice versa. I long for life in its truest form. A life I can touch. Hair I can run my fingers through. Hands to held, and a kiss that will linger.

I have, since removing myself from the digital realm, found my anxiety to be less. My children call my name and I am there. Life moves forward with real moments, loving and whole. My life is not on display. There is no high and mighty gossip filling my time. My trials are not for show. The deep satisfaction of watching my child run after our dogs is perfectly ours. The world doesn’t miss my selfies, and I feel less narcissistic for it. Beyond all that…I am living. I am laughing. My adventures are planned to be had, to be lived. The joy of making dinner with my husband is a deliciously private affair.

Life is meant to be shared in real time. Put down your phones, tablets. Turn off your laptops and computers. Take the time to enjoy time, as it should be, hand in hand.