It's Good Friday today, technically Lent is over, so I popped back on Instagram to do a quick scan and clean things up a bit-- but I haven't publicly returned. When I popped back on briefly I was flooded with some feelings and thoughts that I wanted to get down before I welcomed all these strangers back into my life. This break has been very eye opening and refreshing... It's made me realize the power social media has- both good and bad. So while not all of my lessons will apply to you, I do encourage you to take a break and learn some of these lessons first hand and also learn your own personal lessons as well!
1. People Don't Care About You
This is one that I've known for a long time. I fortunately learned this lesson really early. When I was in High School I was obsessed with getting my name announced on the intercom every single time I won a race or set a record or was mentioned in the newspaper. I started this sport being told by the Headmaster of the school that I'd have a hard time making the Varsity XC team because they were "one of the best"... so I used to keep track of every single time he has to announce my name. Our team was 73-0 for the 4 years I was there (and the year immediately after and immediately before) we never lost. It started to get hard to "top" myself so I felt this immense pressure. When I had to defend a big title for the third time I stressed so much until I realized no one actually cared that I defended it last year - NO ONE ACTUALLY CARES... all that matters is that you care about whatever it is you are documenting or doing.... and you can do that without daily validation!
2. People DO Actually Care
The great paradox here is that although, for the most part, no one really cares PEOPLE DO STILL CARE! When I went back on Instagram I had messages from dozens of people wondering where I was or missing me. As mentioned in a previous blog, people found me on facebook, I found people on facebook. My strava requests went up, hits on my blog went up, I have real phone numbers of many of the people I follow on Instagram now, and we text like normal long distance friends... But here's the thing, The people that care are the ones that will support you with or without running. People that feel a connection to YOU not what you have or (in my case) have not, accomplished. Thanks to those of you who reached out! It really means a lot!
3. All Social Media is not Equal
I keep my facebook and my instagram pretty different. My facebook is primarily posts of my kids and family things with a few running posts here and there... and pretty much every person I'm friends with on facebook I have met in real life (with a few exceptions). My Instagram is pretty much the exact opposite. I'm primarily posting running content with a few family posts sprinkled in. When I got off Instagram I was on facebook more often for sure... and although I can certainly use a purge of Social Media all together, it felt good to be on facebook again... I felt like my family posts were more important. My actual family is on facebook... my actual friends are on facebook... being on facebook felt nothing like being on Instagram. I think it is important to keep a place in your life that is just reserved for those that care about All of you. Strangers don't need to know more just because they want to know more. It's okay to accept someone on strava but not let them be your friend on facebook... or follow someone on twitter but not really care about more than their wit. Compartmentalizing aspects of my life on Social Media helps keep things more clear.
4. I'm a Phone Addict
Hello, My name is Caitlyn, and I am an addict. I'm just like all of you, addicted to my phone. Not social media, not validation; my phone. I don't feel badly about it- the people who create these apps design them to be addictive and like any addiction, it can take you away from other, more important things. So, I tried to turn the tables a bit. I downloaded apps that would benefit me. Whenever I had this urge to go on my phone I had to be able to make it productive. I have been on a mission to fix all my debt and improve my credit score with Credit Karma. I've been using Mint to organize my budget. I used to be obsessed with it but then I made a few huge errors and got too depressed about it to deal. My number one stress in my life is my debt and financial situation. I've done just about everything I can to fix my Plantar Facsiitis and it's not gone. So instead of trying to find internal, neuromuscular imbalances, I've been fixing the stress outside my body. I set up appointments with retirement people, and with the benefits office to get a better understanding of what I have going for me. I have been craving that phone usage so bad, so instead of going to social media I went to (big breath!!!.........) My student loan account and other places I have debt. I paid off 3 credit cards, consolidated debt into one spot so it stops confusing the shit out of me. and also I have some medical bills that I've organized and will be able to settle in one big swoop this upcoming month when I get three paychecks in a month instead of just two! (yesss! love these months!) I also threw out and donated like everything in my closet. I signed up forPoshmark- no luck yet- if you're interested I'm just trying to get rid of stuff. Best offer! Man, that place is crazier than instagram. No way can I stay on there! If it's not gone by May, I'm donating all of it! I even downloaded this Marriage Counseling app. Matt and I by no means need counseling, we were actually trialing it to see what we thought for a friend, but we really liked it! We work opposite hours often and barely get a chance to communicate with two kids and running and full time work... We've really enjoyed the applasting... so we've been using it. I highly recommend it! You get to click around on your phone and take quizzes that can actually help you in the long run. A phone addicts DREAM! But yes, I am addicted to my phone.
5. I Lived instead of just Narrated
In order to maintain relevance on Instagram, you need to be posting content. Most of my content has been anything but good since I'm constantly injured. I would find myself thinking throughout the day "how am I going to put this into words?" I would actually spend many of my runs thinking about the mood and the picture and the caption. I would miss living in the moment I was in by narrating the moment I was in. I've listened to Ryan Hall on three different podcasts now and resonate so much with so many of the messages from the book Run the Mile You're In. I can't wait to get myself a copy! (right after I pay all those medical bills and put some clothes in my closet that actually fit me).
6. I Like Writing
On the flip side of the narrating, I like to write. I craved writing. but I don't always want to write about my run or exactly how it went. I have deeper longer thoughts than that... and quite frankly I don't really care who reads! Its just good practice for me to put things down. Instagram started as a way of doing that that was a little quicker than a formal blogpost, but then the messages became more about the people following me and less about me.... I tried to keep things really authentic, but my thoughts were changed a little by the audience and by what I thought would be more popular. Lets face it, my injury story isn't something that deserves reposts and reshares (not yet at least)... so always trying to find a way to make it relevant or appeal to the masses was not my favorite thing to write. I think I prefer to stick to the blog- I figure the people who take the extra step to click and read instead of just scroll are the people in lesson number 2, that care regardless of how inspiring or how much mass appeal the post has. Who actually still following if I fail... which... I will... and I do.. ALL.THE.TIME. It's exhausting to try to post something people might like especially out of something that I don't even like! FU injury!
7. The World Keeps Spinning
I wasn't on Instagram, but guess what, I still ran. The Boston Marathon still happened, I was still there, I still felt really amazing when the snow melted and I could hit the trails and I still felt really crummy when I woke up with pain after a day on my feet where I thought I was finally better. I'm still doing drills to get better, I'm still feeling motivated, I still have a coach, I still have running goals, I still am stuck in this love/hate paradox- Trying to find balance. I don't need to document it for it to happen. If tree falls in the woods an no one is there to hear it it does make a sound. You don't need to be there for something to happen. The world keeps spinning on.
As a whole, I guess I didn't learn anything new, but relearned a lot... and also just changed my habits a bit in a way that has been more freeing and enjoyable for me. The hardest part of being off instagram wasn't missing people engaging with me, it was missing engaging with others and seeing all of your updates. I'm just dying for all the Boston updates right now... better go log in and read! I am hoping to blog more and instagram less. Back to a weekly recap of my runs on Sunday and maybe a bonus post in the middle of the week.
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!