I am mentally exhausted from all the COVID-19 news, discussion, and debate.
I want to take a social media break. I just don’t think I can leave it right now.
Over the last week, we’ve all tried to sort through what is media hype, what is a fact, what is fiction, and what we really need to be concerned about.
We’ve given advice and been given advice and, no matter what, someone’s been there to judge our opinions about what needs to be done next. We are all trying to understand how to plan for our jobs, our kids, and what to have for dinner. Processing this dramatic change in how we live our lives is incredibly hard, and parents have to do it while maintaining a sense of safety and routine for our kids, even when we aren’t necessarily feeling the best ourselves.
I decided to leave social media for four days. That was two days ago. Why have I not left?
There are more reasons than one. I do find most of my up-to-date local and national news on social media.
But the truth is, that the major reason I cannot just take a social media break right now is that, suddenly, the real world is lonely.
Not only can we not have in-person play dates, ladies’ nights, and dates out, but even what we can do is lonely.
Going out into the world to take a walk and making sure we walk six feet apart from the person coming the other way, despite waving and smiling, is lonely.
Leaving my kids at home and going to the grocery store, as full as it is, has an eerie aura. Many products are hard to find because demand is exceeding supply. People are quieter than usual. People are scared. You walk out feeling like you’re in some alternate universe, waiting to figure out how to get back to everything you’ve ever known.
Even dreams are disrupted, as my friends post about anxiety-fueled dreams where we’ve forgotten our locker codes and can’t make keys work.
Social media is the only way to vent to your BFF, the easiest way to know when it is possible to virtually watch penguins at the zoo, and how one learns Mo Willems is doing ‘lunchdoodles’ on the Kennedy Center’s website. It’s how we share art project ideas to help us fill the time, how we know where the last rolls of toilet paper are being sold, and how we figure out who else in our communities need help.
Without social media, I don’t know what free bagged lunches I can pick up for my children on weekdays and when to do that, and how I know what local restaurants are still offering take-out so I can make plans to support them.
Most of all, however, social media is where I find humor amid the chaos.
It is where I find the memes about ‘homeschool dropouts’ and ‘homeschool’ students skipping class or being expelled. It’s where we joke about how much our children eat when they are home 24/7, about our failed attempts at schedules, and about wanting to give Alexa tutoring capabilities.
Social media is the place where I currently don’t feel lonely. It’s the one place I can let loose and share my feelings, and it just doesn’t feel right to leave that place of comfort (or knowledge) right now.