This summer is about focusing on what is important to me: my health, my family and my community. Making things and being creative. And in order to do that, I have had to trim a few things. Mainly, in my use and consumption of Social Media.
Earlier this year, I stopped using TikTok and Facebook. Yes, I have major FOMO (fear of missing out). But it was also a huge relief. I do not miss the negativity of my neighbourhood group, for instance. I stayed on Instagram because most of the people I want to keep up with are there. And because I don’t check into it a lot. For me, Twitter would be the tricky one. I do not like the new Twitter leadership and the changes they have made to Twitter have made it a worse place, not better, in my opinion. And while I stayed to be a positive voice there, I also realized how much anger and fear that it causes me. I could use a little less of that. When I kind of flirted out loud that I was thinking of leaving earlier this Spring, I actually had a teacher phone me out of the blue and ask me to stay. So flattering, but not enough to convince me. When the school year ended, I deleted my account. And yes, I have signed up for Threads. It’s like Twitter Light (for now). I don’t check it often, and most of the people I enjoy hearing from are there. I am still wondering why I feel this need to live “out loud” as I write this blog. Not only that, but I feel like since quitting Twitter, a few people have been reaching out to make sure I am okay. And I am.
So what am I doing to recharge this summer?
- Reading a ton. All books that are light, easy to read and fun. Another about being radical that was purchased for me by my priest (Thanks Kevin). I am also doing some reading for something I can’t talk about (so mysterious!).
- Creating stained-glass pieces. I have a big project underway. I am making birds that come to my feeder and putting them in an antique window that I have.
- Writing. Fiction. I don’t know if it will come to anything, but I have the first 2000 words down and a detailed plan about the characters and where the story will go. It might just be for my eyes only.
- Volunteering. Through beekeeping, a group of us have made donations from our honey sales to LUSO Community Services in London. We have donated about $12,000 each year for the past 3 years. It felt a bit transactional. So this year, I have organized a group of 10 youth from my church who are serving breakfast one day a week to young people. I am right in there working alongside them. We are preparing food, plating it, registering kids and developing relationships. Doing crafts and playing games. Fun, safety and relationships is the focus.
- Entertaining my very busy 7-year-old. Her big sisters are working this summer. My 16-year-old is a lifeguard and swim instructor with the city, and my 14-year-old is babysitting 3–4 days per week. The wee one is doing swimming lessons and going to day camp later this summer. It will be the first time I am on my own at home most days in 16 years!
- Gardening. My mom and I have a community plot nearby. I have been weeding, watering, planting and now cultivating. I am not much of a gardener. But I am learning a lot from my mom, who is a master gardener. As I weed the garden, I can’t help but think of the parallel to reducing my Social Media use. They are sucking the water, nutrients etc. out of the soil at the expense of my vegetables. We will have more vegetables than we can consume. Some will be donated to the Food Bank.
- Watching Wimbledon. For hours. With lots of coffee.
- Learning. I have signed up for some ETFO Summer Conference Virtual sessions. I will be teaching part of a Grade 1 class next year (French Literacy, Visual Arts and Science) and then spending the rest of the day working in the LLC as a Teacher-Librarian. It has been a minute since I taught Grade 1 (they are entering the French stream for the first time). Fortunately, the literacy block now resembles what it did back in the early 2000s when I last taught SK & Grade 1 in French Immersion. But I am looking forward to doing some reading and planning based on the Science of Reading things (IDA Conference) and other sessions I attended in the past year.
- Having coffee & tea with friends and colleagues. Doing some co-planning and talking about partnerships next year in the LLC.
And well, there is more to this list. But not everything has to be “out loud”.
I am not preaching that everyone should leave Twitter and Facebook etc. Do what serves you well. No judgment here. I am not saying that I will never go back, either. I have learned a lot from others on Twitter. I am often inspired by others on Twitter. But I have also had bad experiences. Over the years, I have quit and returned a bunch of times. Social Media and I have always had an up and down relationship. For now, I need a break.