In the past year I have read approximately 60 books. I have picked up the pace in the latter half of the year and average two novels per week. When I told someone recently, their response was:
“How do you find the time?”
But I could say the same to this particular person about running. We all make time for what is important…
Or most distracting.
I love social media. It is here to stay and the challenge is not how to resist it, but how to use it as a tool for connecting without letting it replace connecting in person, with people and the world around us. And also, not letting it use up too much time. Time that we’d rather spend elsewhere.
All social media platforms have an inherent ability to distract. I’m not going to say anymore about that as we’ve all watched the urban poetry videos, read the blog posts, and seen the critical posts by FB friends (who don’t get the hypocrisy of posting social-media-slamming posts ON SOCIAL MEDIA). They all induce guilt and leave us trying to start a social media diet.
“Tomorrow I’m only going to go on FB once.”
“I’m just going to opt-out completely for a week.”
Sound familiar? (Token boring disclaimer: not criticizing these decisions…)
As I’ve probably said, I’m not keen on diets. Food-related or anything else. The best thing to do, in my book, is ask yourself this:
What is the reason behind my addiction?
Over-eating = sugar-addiction, most likely.
On social media more than you would like = ?
Only you can judge this. How much do you want to spend on it? What’s your purpose there? Don’t compare yourself. Don’t make the choice out of guilt. There are lots of good reasons to be on there. Perhaps it is your job., for one.
Here’s my answer to that question (why am I on social media more than I would like to be):
- I want feedback for my writing. I care too much sometimes. But I’d rather spend time getting better at writing than relentlessly checking my emails or FB. So I arrest myself by picking up my Kindle instead of my phone. Reading is good for writers, and also anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the world around them.
- I am bored. I don’t like going on social media with no purpose. I check notifications and try to avoid scrolling the news feed for too long. Again, I arrest myself with my Kindle.
- I want to connect. Being at home with children can be lonely. I notice myself getting down and melancholy if I haven’t seen friends for a while. If I’m constantly reaching for my phone I try to arrange something to do with people, you know, in real-life.
- I need to respond to a message, see what my friends are up to, catch up on news, see my friend’s holiday pics so I can ask her about it, post a picture I know my friend abroad would like to see, see how many people are attending an upcoming event, check how my friend who is struggling is getting on since she posts a lot on social media. I like these reasons and some days there are more good reasons to be on there than other days, which is why I can’t stick to a specific regime of once per day, for example.
A lot is out there grabbing at our attention and it can be hard to be intentional with our time and direct it towards the most important things. A relationship that can easily take a backseat in life is our marriages. We can take for granted the need to connect in person and can just allow ourselves to co-exist. Rather than just slamming the impact of social media on our relationships, I take the same approach as above.
Use social media as a tool (if applicable) and don’t let it take over.
How much do we all love a cheesy public declaration in a romance novel or film? Admit it. In a novel I read recently, one of the characters would always propose to his long-time friend (who was secretly in love with him). He had to make sure he’d not done it in that establishment previously and he would stand up and get everyone’s attention. They would get offered free drinks and the atmosphere would change as everyone was feeling joyous and romantic, under the impression a genuine engagement had just taken place.
If it makes your spouse feel loved then tell all of FB how your wife/husband can be compared to a summer’s day. But if it makes them so embarrassed that they want to hurt you… perhaps not.
Let’s not get all critical about vomit-inducing declarations on FB. Perhaps someone isn’t just showing-off their lovely relationship. Maybe they just want to make their spouse feel special.
It might make your spouse feel more loved if you always put down your device when they walk into the room. Give it some thought because here’s the thing:
Romance takes thought.
It is a choice. As soon as I make a choice to see my husband as lover, not co-worker, the feelings follow. I find myself wanting to embrace him instead of bark orders at him.
I’ll admit something slightly embarrassing here. The majority of the 60 books I’ve read in the past year are romance novels or contain romance of some sort. But I have noticed that I have been and felt more romantic towards my husband this year and I think the two are related. Reading inspires your imagination and you need to engage your imagination to be romantic with the same person day-in day-out. If you like thrillers, I hope it doesn’t work the same way…
One Sunday recently, we were driving towards home and the kids ended up falling asleep. We pulled up outside the house with about 45 minutes to spare. Instead of cutting the engine I drove off again. We grabbed takeaway coffee and parked next to a grassy knoll, upon which we sat with some food we had just picked up for the lunch we expected to have at home. It was gloriously sunny and we sat close together, talking, kissing like teenagers and feeding each other olives (we didn’t do that, but if it floats your boat…).
We managed to avoid the potential distractions and choose each other for this brief, unexpected window of opportunity that was presented to us. We don’t always, but when we do, I never regret it.
Use the above hashtag to tell the world how you’ve chosen your spouse today, whether virtual or in person. Inspire us with your stories of romance!