Thoughts on Digital Minimalism and going off the Grid: Getting off social media for 30 days

This past weekend, I was able to do something I haven't done in a while...

I read two books.

These were not only books that interested me, they were books that convicted me to be honest with myself and confront some issues that I have.

What I found out, might shock you.

But first, let me give you a little background.

I grew up in a very small town called Mackay, Idaho. It had a population of no more that about 500 people. I knew everyone, and they knew me. In fact, most people were very polite and would wave and say hello to each-other, neighbors would help out if you were in trouble, or needed a hand.

Cell-phones didn't even exist, and dial up internet was really only used in schools. It was phenomenal.

My youth was spent climbing mountains, swimming in lakes and rivers, hiking, hunting, fishing, and constant exploration. A typical day for me would involve waking up, and looking out the front porch window to the view of Mt. McCaleb. I would then walk about a half a mile to school through a field. After school, My friends and I would go hunt rabbits or hike up to a place called hidden mouth cave or the swinging tree.

The swinging tree was a huge tree on the slope of a mountain. A rope was tied to a branch way up in the tree and it extended down into a handle that you could grab onto and run off the side of the mountain and swing over the slope.

We spent hours there.

Driving to school with guns in the backseat was commonplace (pre-columbine).

After high school, I joined the Navy, and I never owned more than I could fit into my SeaBag, and I didn't have a phone until a year before I got out. It was a simple flip phone that I couldn't even text on. ( I was ok with that)

This type of living is a far cry from my current situation and probably many of yours. In fact, I am yearning for this type of life as I get older and older.

So, back to the books.

The first book I read was a book called "Digital minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world", by Cal Newport ( I think he is an excellent writer with great content)

The whole premise of this book is to get you back to doing what you love, and realizing the grip that your phone and social media has on you. It's not for everyone, I get it. 

However, as you can understand. From my past, I don't really want to use social media or believe that it adds value to my life, but I find myself using it intermittently. 

I believe that it opens a whole lot of doors to be used for nefarious and scandalous acts such as sexting and secret relationships that seem to plague many marriages these days.

After reading this book, I didn't touch my phone, other than to see a few text messages and emails. I don't have any games or apps on my phone that distract me and all the notifications are off. I did this before I read the book.

What the book made me do was to be aware of how I was using the phone. In fact, I logged all the times that I even thought to check my phone on Sunday.

Guess how many times, I had the urge to look at my phone? In fact, when I got home from church, the family and I were just hanging out and I wanted to check my phone so bad but I didn't.

I got the urge 68 times on Sunday alone. Isn't that crazy.

Guess what happened on Sunday night after I had gone all weekend not checking my phone?

Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.

Guess what I missed?

Nothing.

It was liberating. So much so, that I am going to continue this for the next 30 days. In fact, I may resort at the end of 30 days to get rid of social media all together.

No more Facebook,...only Face Life.

I know, that means, no more Facebook groups or Instagram updates. I'm OK with that, and am already thinking about starting up an online weekly meetup for those of you that really want to grow spiritually, physically and mentally as men.

Stay Tuned for that.

The second book was a book called "Going off the Grid: The How to Book of Simple Living and Happiness"

Now before you call me crazy, hear me out. This book is not about living in a cave, or having now phone or water or showering facilities. It's mostly just about living the life you want to live, and living minimally and without the burdens of life and the stress of the culture wreaking havoc on your mind, body and spirit.

Living in Idaho was a much slower pace, and it taught me how to live in solitude, to listen to my own thoughts and to take the time to do the things that are important to me. 

I have allowed phones, social media, TV, and even life activities take me far away from that. 

I would say that those things are preventing me from being the man I was made to be. They don't add any sort of lasting benefit to my life. they are convenient at times, but not enough for me to continue letting them have so much time in my life.

I'm not trying to convince you to be convicted like me, but I do have to ask, am I the only one that is on social media too much?

Do find yourself with the same problem?

If so, I am starting a 30 day challenge. This challenge involves, for me, not using social media at all. For you it could be the same or something different. Maybe it's not playing a game on the phone, or using it at the dinner table.

Here is a 30 day tracker that I made for myself and others who want to do this with me:

Download the Tracker Here

Whatever it is, let me know in the comments below.

Also, I recommend getting a Notebook so you can write down thoughts, ideas or things that your mind might wander to during your hiatus from social media.

###Stephen


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