It is both very chic and very cliche to comment on how fast the year has gone, once we hit mid-November, right? Today I made a menu for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was doing. I believe my mind stopped calculating the passage of time around late August–I couldn’t explain to you why that happened, only that if you asked me when Halloween was, I would tell you it was quite a number of weeks away yet. Of course here we are barreling on towards Christmas, and today I made a new section in my bullet journal labeled Holidays, hoping to find myself ahead of the game, for once! We’ve started stringing garlands of oranges, cranberries and cinnamon, though I have personally banned myself from Christmas music until after Thanksgiving and have attempted to lobby for no tree until Christmas Eve, which will likely will not happen. I really love the Christmas season and I am always nervous about wearing it out by starting in on it too early.
When Ephraim was born and I first started staying home full-time I found my days blurred together terribly, and I (quite seriously) kept track of what day it was by what posts were going up on the Design Sponge website; Before-and-Afters meant it was Thursday, or home tours signaled it was Monday, for example. These days I am keeping up with the passage of time by the migration of Instagram posts, watching the feed dutifully move from one day to the next, one holiday to the next, one season to the next. Sad Mondays, Happy Humpdays, Thank-God-It’s-Fridays (or Friyays?), the slow-living Weekends, the late Sunday posts that lament how fast the Slow-Living Weekend went. The celebration of each new season by Starbucks drinks and cup designs. The yearning for spring in winter, for summer in spring, for autumn in summer, for winter in autumn, and the whole thing goes around and around. If I sound somewhat sarcastic, it is because I do find it all very tiring.
I know why my mental calendar stopped in August: it’s because I stopped my social media push in August. I stopped watching the merry-go-round so closely. I stopped participating so much. It was the Stories that did me in–I couldn’t handle the intimacy of knowing so much about so many people. I told my husband it was like I suddenly had five hundred best friends all telling me every detail of their daily lives…I think I lasted about two days in that environment before frantically unfollowing people and then, finally, just deleting the app from my phone altogether.
It around this time last year that I began really paying attention to my Instagram account, when I began to consciously build traffic, to learn how to use hashtags, to use better pictures and create a brand, a look in my feed. And it worked–my following grew. And, well, in August I got over it.
It was a lonely, hot August day and I believe I was vacuuming the floor when I realized that I was perpetually “touched out” and “talked out” with my kids because I’m an introvert with a small (but intentionally growing) reserve of energy for “people-ing” and I was spending it all on social media.
I just didn’t make sense, what I was trying to do.
I did add the app back to my phone, but I scaled back. I stopped watching the Stories of all but a very small number of people. I went from posting multiple times a day to posting every other day or less. I didn’t make it a priority to reply to every comment (I’m sorry!) And I stopped writing mini-novels in the captions. (Ok, I miss that part, actually. I read through a few old ones tonight and was glad I had recorded those thoughts somewhere.) I choose my posts based on photos that I like personally, not photos that fit the theme of my feed, or whatever it’s called. What a relief that has been.
Oh, what is the point of this post, O Mid-November? You have snuck up on me so cunningly; I have not even had a Pumpkin Spiced anything this season. Are they even still available, or is everything already peppermint and eggnog and Iowa Pine? Time to check Instagram, I suppose.