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My Own Personal Thoreau Experiment
Curbing My Social Sally Field Fix

Can I do this? This is the question I have been repeating over and over for a while now. Now I realize my definition of “a while” may differ from yours, but it’s safe to say I’ve been mulling over this idea for longer than a minute.

It has become clearer and crystal clearer to me that I like texting. A lot. And I admit to you that I have also fallen victim to checking/changing/updating/liking others’ Facebook statuses a bit too much as well. Yep…just a bit. The scenario is always the same: I have a minute so I’ll see what’s up. Two, all right, three hours later I find myself with a sore toosh and even more damaged psyche from scrolling through all the non-life changing updates and clicking on all the probably-could-have-spent-my-time-elsewhere attachments.

So why have I continued this pattern day in and day out for “a while”? Honestly…I am addicted to what I call the “Social Sally Field Fix.” That little red notification light goes on or my phone lights up with a new message and suddenly an instant you-like-me…you-really-like-me endorphin goes rushing through me. Nothing can stop me from checking who contacted me. Let me repeat. Nothing. And it’s this awareness to my no-limit, no-filter reaction that has me pondering.

It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it? Getting a Social Sally Field Fix. The only way to keep getting that red notification, those texts, is to send a message. Send one, get one. When you’re jonesing for that hit, what do you do? You send a message. And then another. And another. And another. And before I go all Faberge Organic, you get the idea: I’m a message flooder.

To my Sunday Boyfriends who have put up with my texting, emailing, Facebooking ways; who out of the goodness of their beings kept sending notes back to me, let me say…why the hell didn’t any of you tell me to knock it off? Er…wait, this was me trying to say sorry. Let me try that again…I’m sorry your SG has been a tad mashugana lately.

So now I know I have this thing; this beagle-like behavior with certain social technology (beagles are notorious for consuming anything in front of them until it’s gone; as if they have no gauges to tell them when they are full). Now what? Well I tried to remember if I had this same type of behavior with anything else. And guess what. I do/did.

Popcorn.

Yep. Popcorn. I have no self-control when it comes to popcorn. It started when I was working at a movie theater in high school. One of the benefits of selling tickets was not only getting to see flicks for free, but I also got to munch on gratis popcorn. And if you haven’t noticed, movie theaters have a plethora of popcorn. And while some of my colleagues grew tired of the treat over time, I never did. There were many occasions where popcorn was my dinner while working the late shift. I can, and have, consumed popcorn to the point of becoming ill only to eat it again the next night. When it comes to popcorn I have no filter. When it comes to popcorn, I am a beagle.

Knowing this is good. Knowing meant I could start fixing my overabundant popcorn love. The first thing I did was to vow to not eat popcorn. I know this sounds funny. Either you eat it or you don’t. But I had to make a promise to myself to not eat it so I could be subconsciously accountable. Then I told others of my popcorn issues to not only be accountable to myself, but to others as well. And this worked. I wasn’t able to rid myself of popcorn entirely, but I was better able to stop myself from my Snoopy-ish ways. Eventually I learned how to enjoy popcorn in moderation.

And now, as I find myself in the similar position of reacting to impulsive behaviors, I said to myself I have to stop my love of messaging. I tried by first telling myself I have to cut back on the texting and Facebook voyeuristic tendencies. But this social technology fix is strong. I was able to hinder myself for a couple of days, but then it slowly crept back. Couple this awareness with my overthinking and now, well now I’m in the position of telling others of my plight in the hopes I can curb the urge. I don’t want to be a social beagle.

I started by coming clean to my significant other. He already knew I spent way too much time on the computer and on my phone, so he was clued in. By telling him, I released that overthinking weirdness I’d been holding on to and it started to help. Then I shared my social jonesing with my Foodie SB (remember, he started out as my texting SB). I’m not sure he understood the magnitude of my issue…but then again, how could he not with the sheer volume of texts I’d been sending? Regardless, his first response was, “You’re fine.” Hmmm…I’m thinking that was either a willing projection or a I-don’t-want-think-about-it answer. Either way this is my thing, not his thing, to work out.

I seriously tried to cut back. But I continued to find myself in the all too familiar position of telling myself, “Don’t do it!” with each press of the send button. It’s clear I was still jonesing pretty hard for that Social Sally Field Fix. So not to embarrass myself any further, I’m making some changes to get to that Oz place…that place Sally didn’t know at the time…that I’ve always got the power. Until I spend a little more time and get comfortable with this, I sent my last text to any of my SBs, put my computer and phone away so I only check it once a day, and telling all of you. I’m now more accountable and hope this will be the start of spending more time on things I’ve been missing rather than on waiting for messages to come in.

But hey…just as popcorn never went fully away from my world, nor am I social-world Thoreau. If messages come in, they come. I just won’t be hovering with baited breath for the message light to come on. My motivation will be to remember how much better it is to eat popcorn when listening to “done” cues. And I’ll work on being Katie, rather than Sally.

As always stay comfy, be good to yourself and all your Sunday Boyfriends.

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