Yes, my friends, I am 22 days off You Tube. I thought it was going to be hard and I’d be bored, but honestly… I’m feeling pretty damn good.

The first week, though, was weird. The first full week I had no “desires.” After that first week, that little voice started to chime in. “Just watch one little video… it won’t hurt anything!”, “Instead of 30 days, let’s do a week.  A week is enough.”, “But I’m booorrreeddd!” I say about 2 of these 22 days I ALMOST gave in. But I stayed strong and willing and said, “No. I committed to 30 days and I am doing a full 30 days.” I am not doing this alone. I downloaded this cool app called AppDetox which allows you to set up a period of time to block opening an app or limiting the number of launches. I added the app to both my phone and tablet and blocked You Tube. Voila!

The only time I’ve used You Tube is to pull up my workout videos.I follow Tracy Anderson pretty religiously, but sometimes a girl just wants to grab heavier dumbbells and do some basic squats and dumbbell curls.

Why am I doing this detox? Well, there’s a lot of noise in the world and even louder noise in the internet world. From the moment we get in our cars until we turn off the lights for bed, we are slammed with ads, opinions, selfies, photoshopped images, instructions, and rules. For me, I was getting the usual daily dose but compounded by the opinions and rules of YouTubers. It’s not their faults either! I adore the few people I follow (all 8 of them) and I get a lot of value out of what they share. It’s just how my brain interprets their content that caused reason for a pause.

I needed to recalibrate my internal filter and hear my own voice and opinion again.

A few days into my “fast” I stopped doing a lot of the things I unconsciously picked up from bloggers and vloggers.

I stopped tracking certain things that frankly I do not need to be tracking or obsessing over. I won’t go into detail, but tracking something for the sake of tracking it based on someone else’s life or goals without establishing goals yourself is well… pointless and, quite frankly, stressful. For example, I love BlondeonaBudget’s blog. She is fantastic, but my finances are completely different from hers but I found myself trying to follow her example to the letter rather than pulling some great ideas and applying to the things I already do and know. I spent the first part of 2016 tracking every single penny, putting myself on a shopping ban and for what?

I don’t know? I don’t have any debt to pay off and solid in my savings because I already know how to manage my cash flow and I have for years. It was unnecessary. Sure, I loved creating my charts but it became yet another way for me to praise or punish myself. So, I stopped.

I stopped tracking a lot of things that I don’t need to track.

When I started the fast, I was not sure exactly what would come of it. I just wanted to stop wasting so much time and get back to ME. But when the 30 days is up, I doubt I’ll dive back in and chain watch every single video of my precious 8 (one of whom is my husband but I see those “live.”). Another 1 is a yoga instructor. So of the 8, there are 6 that fall within my no-watch category. Those 6 are like friends. But no matter how long I go without them, they’ll always be there for my viewing pleasure.

 

 

Little girl reading book

Photo credit: Huffingtonpost.com

At the beginning of 2016, as I began my 2016 reading challenge, I saw that I had well over 100 books on my GoodReads To Be Read List. This list had been growing since I opened my account in 2012 and I added any and every book on the list that I thought I would read someday. As I scanned through the titles, many I did not even remember and more were saved in 2012 and had yet to be remembered, let alone read. So I did the unthinkable: I cleared my To Be Read list and started from scratch. The only exceptions made were those I do remember as an on-going “I want to read!” or those added in late 2015. That worked out to be about… 3. Then it reduced to 1. At this point in time I have only one book outside of the 2016 adds and I have 16 on my list.

I am also happy to report that I have added to that list  in 2016 and have read those books within days of adding. Now they sit proudly perched in my “Read” folder.

I tend to read across many genres and time periods. I do have my “safety nets” of World War I and II fiction or family sagas. When I am in a rut, those two topics are my go-tos.  As I review my 2016 choices, I have been in the mood for mystery/thrillers and a few non-fictions. My reading goal this year is to expand my genres, genders and setting. I’m looking to read more books written by men, plots outside of my usual choices, and in places that I know very little or nothing about.

As a reader, I evolve. We readers evolve. We go months or even years gravitating toward the same author, genre, or theme. We get cozy, but a little too comfortable. The fun of reading is to escape and learn. While I am leaning toward mystery/thrillers this year, I welcome this season and soak it up: not looking toward the past seasons or the seasons to come. But soaking up the current season of my reading life.

Since my first search in 2009 on “How to Curl Hair” I was catapulted into the “wonderful’ land of You Tube Oz where things are not always what they seem. Of course the hosts of these channels create an “image” where they too forget things are not what they seem. Countless videos are in circulation of explaining themselves, getting “real”, or rants about this and that.

 

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photo credit: laughingsquid.com

The truth is, it’s all fake. I too tend to forget that those I subscribe to are putting their best face forward and present their idea of their version of perfection. Where it gets muddy is when you follow along with these personalities and your views get muddled with their ideals.

I’ve tried “fasting” from You Tube in the past. I made it 5 whole days. It’s hard to abstain because it’s one of my favorite pass times: watching people talk about their favorite this, their least favorite that, what they ate, how they workout, what do they do when they are tired, bloated, happy, and hungry. I get wrapped up in their lives they I forget that I have my own.

Now, I don’t watch videos all day every day, but sometimes I hop from video to video and before I know it an hour has gone by.

When something you enjoy becomes a borderline addiction, it’s time to make some changes. For me, these videos are having more of a negative side-effect rather than positive. I decided yesterday after getting sucked into nonsense to take 30 days off You Tube. The only thing I am allowed to use You Tube for is my workout play lists. Other than that: no videos whatsoever.

Now, if someone sends me a something to watch (generally random clips) I will watch those. I will not respond to them saying, “Sorry. I’m not watching You Tube for 30 days.” This is more about abstaining from watching my usual lifestyle videos.

 

So here is to day #1. I will update progress along the way. I will be honest: if I do break this “fast” I will start the 30 days all over, I will not make excuses, and I will post on here how each day or few days go.