It was about a month ago I decided to challenge myself. I call it a challenge because if we’re all honest with ourselves you’d agree with me it’s not easy. What was this challenge? To walk away from Twitter for thirty days and focus more time in the outdoors.
Now for those of you who are not on Twitter, you’re probably thinking; “how difficult can that be?” Good question but let me answer it with a question; how difficult would it be for you to walk away from (fill in the blank with whatever social media platform you use often.)
For the past year, I had become more involved with Twitter. At first, I increased the amount of time I spent on it simply tweeting posts throughout the day to drive traffic to my website and broaden my connections. Eventually, my time on Twitter grew as I got involved with what is known as Twitter Chats, weekly chats with a topic usually hosted by an outdoor brand. It started with one chat and grew into being involved in several chats throughout the week every week. These chats can be very informative and educational as people share their outdoor experiences and skills. While I’m not telling you to avoid chats or say anything negative I eventually was awoken to a simple fact. Why was I spending so much time chatting on Twitter? What was I gaining other than some knowledge of the outdoors for which I can gain from other sources?
My evenings became about Twitter chats with the TV running in the background. All the while my wife and I were not communicating and interacting. Here I sat one night realizing half the stuff being tweeted by others was more like junior high school jibberish from others most likely doing the same thing as me, wasting time. I remember looking over at my wife and realized what I was doing. I was completely wasting valuable time I could be spending with her all over what is the equivalent of a mass texting service. At that moment I thought to myself; “dear lord, am I am man or boy? You’re wasting your time.”
It was then I decided to walk away from Twitter for thirty days. It started with removing the app from my phone and then making the concious effort to not login to my Tweetdeck anytime I was on my computer. I was suprised how easy it was to avoid each day. Maybe it was the depth of my frustration and termination to use my time more wisely with the people right in front of me. Whatever it was I spent thirty days Twitter free and it was freeing.
Time seemed to increase as if suddenly I had more of it. After the first week I thought if I’d gone this far why not try it out with Facebook and Instagram. So I backed off of both limiting my time to just a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes in the evening before settling down for the night. When I did, time seemed to increase even more.
It was during the second week of my Twitter fast while at my private camp that I noticed something that to me was profound. As I sat sipping a fresh cup of coffee brewed over a fire I noticed my phone was missing. For a brief second I panicked. Be honest, you would panic as well. Then I remembered I had stuck it in the side pocket of my rucksack. Now is the that profound moment I was telling about. Once I realized where my phone was I did not get up to go check or even get my phone. I left it right where it was. Wait, what? Yes, that’s correct, I left my phone in my rucksack and that’s where it stayed until I reached my car where I called my wife to let her know I was heading home. Not one picture was taken to be shared on social media. I had spend four hours in the woods working on my shelter, cutting firewood, built a campfire, cooked some lunch, brewed some coffee, sat on the bench I made from logs and stared off into the forest marinating on the things in life that matter.
I’m now past my thirty day challenge and while I’m back on Twitter I am not spending time lingering on it. I don’t login everyday and only when I need to to post information about the upcoming #LHX2018 event or other happenings with HBF Outdoors. Twitter is a great tool to connect and network, but can also be a digital snare that will trap and steal your time away. Learn to discipline the amount of time you spend on social media and see what happens with your time and experiences in the outdoors.
Now, I know there will be some who will disagree with what I’m saying and may even comment and try to justify their time on social media. And you know what, that’s okay. Because I am not you and you are not me. I’m not here to tell you Twitter is bad. We each know our limits and boundaries. Determining those boundaries is for you to decide. I know for me if I’m going to truly enjoy the outdoors the way I know my heart is called to it, limiting my time on social media must be a daily discipline. I can’t speak for you, but let me wrap this up by saying; spending less time talking about the outdoors on social media has freed me up to spend more time IN the outdoors. And I’d rather tell you about my outdoor experiences through photos and stories as an overflow of my time outside then posting one hundred and forty creative characters throughout my day from my office talking ABOUT the outdoors.
Why not give it a try? Take the 30 day challenge and fast from social media. You’ll be surprised how your time seems to increase and how acutley aware you become of surroundings in the outdoors. You’re senses will heighten and the one thing that needs to be recharged the most for overall health, your soul, will suddenly be set free.