Goodbye, September and Farewell Instagram, for Now

September is turning golden.

I took a late afternoon hike last Saturday, when the trails were abandoned and the sun was beginning to set. The lowering light beams lit up a field of grass seed—I was so glad I had my camera to capture some of the beauty, and that there was no one else around to think I was crazy laying on the ground to get these angles!

Hunter enjoyed the solitude and open field too while I did my grass seed photo shoot.

In the spring, I had brought Scout on this same hike and he frolicked through the spring grasses. That seems like just yesterday and forever ago.

Time keeps moving.

Summer into autumn.

Moments become memories. Some of them grow sweeter, like the memory of my Scout, running through a meadow.

And others, with space, grow harder. Or rather, the distance allows the space to acknowledge the losses more accurately. I’m strong enough to hold the pain more—simultaneously with much joy and new life.

It means a daily balance of sorrow and joy, grief and gratitude each day.

Contentment in singleness and longing for relationship.

Gratitude for free time for creative pursuits and sadness over childlessness.

—>> What both/and is part of your daily life?

As I’ve grown into this raw and real way of living, one thing that is becoming more and more clear is this—that I want to live in my body, in experience. Not in my head, not virtually.

The simple gifts of being human—of hiking in nature, of playing with and holding my nieces, of laughing with family members, of baking with my hands, of picking apples with a friend, of wading through a creek with my dog Hunter, of drawing with chalky pastels, of practicing soccer with my 9-year old girls team…of taking photographs of grass under the golden sunshine…these are the gifts that have been healing. The gifts of being human.

I’ve decided to more fully lean in to this prescription for joy.

For a while I’ve been struggling with how “social media” fits into my life. As an elder millennial, it’s been ubiquitous in my adult life. And for me in particular, it’s been a source of great harm, and good connection as well. A both/and.

For now, I’m taking a break. I admit, it feels particularly confusing as a “creative” (I don’t want to use the term “content creator!”). My art, photography, and writing have been sources of great joy and healing, which I enjoy sharing…and of course social media marketing is a significant aspect of that these days. So, I admit—I don’t know what this looks like. Perhaps in the future I can figure out a balance. Come on occasionally to share work/connect. I don’t know. I just know that I need a break, and I have serious questions about the role of Instagram and social media in my life long-term. Is anyone else struggling with this? (Leave a comment below👇🏼.)

I don’t think I’m the only one wondering about this. We’ve become so used to our phones, that I think we forget how much technology and the Internet have changed life. In a very short amount of time. In many ways, we are in this historic junction. What is social media, technology, the Internet, doing to us? To me? To you?

This really hit me recently at a soccer practice. During a water break I dropped in on a conversation among several girls and I could tell by their energy level and the decibels of their chatter that they were really excited. As I heard more, they were exclaiming their excitement that when they turned ten, their parents would let them get Tik Tok. They were so excited to get Tik Tok.

My heart just sank. Not that Tik Tok or Instagram are inherently wrong, but to see 9-year old girls awaiting the arrival of Tik Tok in their life like it’s the best thing they could hope for…that was heart-breaking. Because yes, it might be fun, surely it will deliver some dopamine (because that’s how all of social media is engineered), but it’s also likely to have a lot of other detrimental effects, like anxiety and depression. My soccer girls are still pretty sweet and innocent right now. I want them to be excited about books, and sports, learning, and playtime, and new experiences…not Tik Tok.

(My heart and prayers go out to all the parents navigating how to do this and set boundaries and help their kids be part of the world too!! It is hard, I get it!!)

We’re all in this whole new world together. Technology isn’t going away. Will social media one day? I don’t know. Is it really sustainable in the future? I don’t know.

What I do know, is that for me, I need a break.

I plan to hang around here more, on my website, with my creative pursuits, but I’m actually quite excited about the social media break—I’m hopeful, praying, and expectant for a renewed season of being human, of being me—not the “somebody” I think I need to be online.

My prayer is that we all find wisdom in navigating life when the Internet is all around us. May you feel the sunshine, the breeze, and soak in the beauty of the changing seasons.

2 responses to “Goodbye, September and Farewell Instagram, for Now”

  1. Thank you for your boldness in pursuing hard questions and your vulnerability in sharing your wrestling. I’ve been really struggling with my love-hate-mostly hate feelings towards the role of social media in our lives and I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one.
    Your descriptions of the beauty you experience and the embodied joy you are pursuing is inspiring!

    • Thanks Katelyn! I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for sharing you’ve been struggling too—it is definitely a battle. I think to give ourselves grace it’s helpful for me to think about this being a whole new phenomenon, and it’s important as Christians for us to wrestle with it, and figure out how to live faithfully. I look forward to continuing to engage with your thoughts through your beautiful writing. And thank you!!

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