Today I received a message from a friend who I haven’t talked to in a while. She forwarded me a message about one of our high school classmates who passed away. Until the message this afternoon, I hadn’t seen nor did anyone bring up that a classmate died. It’s crazy knowing that on February 22, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone and logged out of them from my computer, and our classmate passed away four days later. I found out about her nineteen days later.
When I decided to do this social media detox, I wondered what I would miss. I thought of my friends who just had babies posting pictures or maybe missing out on living vicariously through my friends who don’t have kids and watching their travels. But I didn’t think it would be something this tragic.
Life has gotten crazy. With three kids, a full-time job, and just as many sports that it feels like another full-time job, I’ve been slacking in the friend department. I am disappointed with how much I rely on social media to keep up with friends and families, especially those living out of state.
My girlfriend, who sent me the message lives in California. We haven’t seen each other in nearly eight years, but I follow her life through the screen in my hand. There have been times when I wanted to reach out and see how she was doing, but social media has a way of tricking you into believing that you know what’s happening in everyone’s lives. I hate feeling like I’m inconveniencing people, so it’s much easier to like a picture and leave a comment than to reach out.
We talked a little, asked how each other was doing and joked about how we were much happier in our second marriage. We talked about how we should be better about reaching out. It’s a routine repeated over and over again as we all get busy with life. We’ll send messages on holidays and birthdays, but nothing significant until something eventful happens.