Somewhere around four years ago, I quit Facebook. I wrote about my initial thoughts a few years ago, and at this point my feelings over the whole thing remain rather unchanged. Which surprises me a little bit. There are times I definitely feel like the only human being without a Facebook (especially in this particular age-range, and with my being someone who does a fair amount of internetting). But overall, it's just not a big deal. And it's been a huge benefit to my entire mindset and the whole comparison game that most of us play on a day-to-day basis.
Although I continue to browse social media at some point each day, there was something about Facebook that just felt like more of a trigger for all my ugliest feelings.
Of the few things I've given up over the past several years, this one ended up being the easiest—even though I thought it would be much harder than it was. I think a lot of it was the whole anticipation. I kept going back and forth, wondering what I'd be missing out on, whether it would be the worst idea to not have a Facebook page for my blog, why I couldn't just figure out how to control my reactions to things I saw in order to enjoy what so many other people were obviously enjoying. But I'm glad I followed my gut and did what I had to do for my own peace of mind.
Granted, before I go any further, I must admit that I do technically still have a rather boring and intentionally-friendless Facebook page that I use to sign into for coupons or apps that I don't want bugging me on the regular. So, I'm not completely Facebook-free…but I just get to feel smug when I use it for my own needs and refuse to give it any further information (or spend an hour looking at status updates that make me stabby or jealous or wildly dissatisfied with my hair/home/husband/shoe selection/lack of babies/etc.).
Aside from saying farewell to Facebook, there are a few other notable things I've quit in the past few years (and have lived to tell the tale):
I think it's been a little over a year now since we ditched the expensive satellite and have survived on Netflix and our digital antenna (here's the one we have). If you had asked me even five years ago if we'd ever give up all those channels, both my husband and I would have said something to the effect of, "Give up TLC reality shows and ESPN? Have you gone mad?" (I'm thinking it's fairly obvious which of us is still mourning the loss of Sister Wives.) I don't even remember what led us to finally making the decision, because I think we surprised ourselves by even agreeing to it. But once it was gone, it made us realize how much mindless channel-surfing we actually did, and how few channels we actually watched on a regular basis.
At this point, Jay still gets plenty of football for free on regular network channels (in HD, even!) with our digital antenna. I binge-watch shows on Netflix and have another reason to bust out my reliable Friends DVDs in the evening. But I love that we don't automatically have the TV on every evening after dinner like we used to. And whenever we do watch TV, I almost can't handle it because man, the commercials. I so rarely watch anything on a network, that when I do I'm like, "Could there be any more ads for pharmaceuticals? For the love."
The verdict: I could never completely get rid of the TV (and I love my Netflix), but I don't see us ever paying for fancy TV (be it cable or satellite) again.
I've weighed myself maybe a handful of times in the past year. The batteries went out on our scale ages ago, and I purposely didn't replace them. Instead, I shoved the scale under the bed as far as I could and never looked back. And you know what? Not keeping that scale on the bathroom floor has been one of the best things I've ever done for my body image, hands down.
I know this isn't the case for every woman, but I know of many people who are of the same mindset as I've always been. If the scale is there in front of me, I'm going to use it. And I'll let that number dictate how I feel about myself. I can't tell you how many times I'd be having an awesome week, making healthy choices and feeling all easy-breezy in my favorite jeans. All it would take would be stepping on the scale, realizing it did not reflect what I thought it should, and I'd be back to tearing myself down.
At this point in life, I'm just going to let myself have that awesome week. If I'm feeling great and taking care of myself, then I'll leave it at that. I'm going to let myself enjoy it. I'm done with the number game.
There have been a few times I've used our Wii Fit again to get back into a routine (you can weigh yourself to keep track of progress) but I always feel myself slipping back into old habits and thought patterns, so I know when I need to step away and clear my head.
These days, I have a general idea of how much I weigh, and for the first time in my adult life, I've spent my time focusing on overall health and creating lasting habits, instead of hoping and praying for a smaller number on the scale every morning.
The verdict: I struggled with body image for so many years, that sometimes my lack of interest in the scale almost surprises me. But I'm so glad this is where I've finally arrived.
Okay, okay, so I still technically eat meat. I actually love meat. Meat is still my jam, in many ways. I mean, the other day I had a tiniest sample of pot roast at Costco and made borderline inappropriate noises for longer than was socially acceptable. But, still…making the decision to not buy meat to have at home a few years ago was kind of a huge deal.
It was definitely my husband's idea (and I'm still not exactly sure where it came from) but the more I thought about it, the more I was okay with it. Again, if you'd asked us five years ago if we'd ever go almost exclusively vegetarian, we would have both openly mocked the very idea. I know we were those people who couldn't imagine even doing one meat-free dinner a week, yet somehow we're now easily managing 7 days a week (unless we eat out, because if I'm paying money for something, I'm going for the meat—I'm no hero!).
Our mostly-veggie lifestyle started out as more of an experiment, and more to do with saving money and finding healthier ways to get protein (especially because we can't afford organic-everything). But at this point, I also like the idea that we have reduced our meat consumption rather significantly.
The verdict: We still eat seafood, eggs and dairy at home (and at least once a year I buy a packet of pepperoni or lunchmeat due to a craving of some sort), but we used to eat a ton of cheap chicken breasts and ground beef. I'm glad I forced myself to do things a little differently—a challenge I'm surprisingly grateful for, at this point in life!
Is there anything you've (happily) quit recently? Have you ditched your cable bill or scale? Am I the only thirty-year-old woman without a Facebook page? Will you invite me over for dinner and grill me up a steak in a moment of meat-craving weakness? Please share!
— Further reading: Things I Never Thought I'd Do
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