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  • Writer's pictureBen R

The 12 Days of Christmas...I mean Social Media Detox

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Expected and uninspiring, except for one thing, well maybe two.

But I'm not going to tell you that right away. Ha!

I'm not going to give you a day by day blow, because that would just be boring as hell.

Glancing at my first day as I kept a small journal on my iPhones Note app, I just read that it says "saw friends". I had a brief brain fart as I thought to myself, I've had little social interaction in person, minus neighbors, neighbors with dogs, my parents, and some people with NAMI. Then the light bulb went on. Must be slow because I'm trying to wake up with coffee, but wanted to get this blog post out before I get out for a bike ride in some of the remaining nice, warmer weather here in Minnesota. My partner and I have another couple as friends and we went to hang out with them in their backyard so that Hazel (we do it all for you girl!) could meet them, their dog, and their son. It was wonderful to feel human for a couple of hours.

To be blunt, I really didn't miss social media at all. I honestly wasn't tempted at all to check either Facebook or Instagram for the first few days. I left the apps on my phone, front and center. Why not go BIG I thought?

Actually I need to admit something. Well, I don't, but want to. If you want to call it a cheat, you can, but I did actually get on Facebook once. It was a valid reason though (I never looked at one post, minus a link I needed). Of course, go figure when you want to take a social media detox break something comes up, right? My mom informed me that a second cousin was getting married on her birthday and they were doing it "Live" on Facebook. Being the good son (and only son) my parents have, I of course invited them over to watch the brief ceremony as we put it onto our Apple TV. I remember looking at my phone from an unconventional angle, so as to not see much else that spawns on Satan's book of faces (where's that devil emoji when you need it?) Seriously, the shit out there now just turns ones eyes into a demonic glaze!

Speaking of that, Mr, Zuckerberg stalks you when you don't go online for a few days. All of a sudden, I'm checking my email to find one from Facebook telling me that so and so just recently commented on a post. The next day another so and so has posted an updated status.

Pardon my language, but F-U Mark Zuckerberg! I don't give a rat's ass about updates. Go work on messing around with more privacy updates and recording people's conversations about Disney, so that when they go online the next time, ads for "The Magic Awaits" pop up, offering a 15% discount if you sign up in the next 30 days.

Ok, I got that out of my system. Phew!

Solitaire is fun, when you're waiting for your dad to get done with his appointments. Of course, if you can't win a hand because you have it set on "draw 3", just go ahead and set it to "draw 1". You'll feel like a champ in no time!

Being off social media gave me a chance to spend more time with family, furry and non-furry.

Hazel continues to amaze us.

My partner wasn't feeling too well one day and was in bed for a large part of the day. If you can believe it, Hazel was quiet with her for two hours in the bedroom in the afternoon as she slept. She's freakin 15 weeks old at that time. Puppies don't do that!

I did a lot of walking her during the break. It started to get colder, so I wasn't biking quite as much. She loves her walks, that's for sure.

I have a recommendation for you. Download the Audible app for your iPhone or if you are on the dark side and use (cough) Android, whatever is equivalent for that thing. My partner recommended a couple of great podcasts to listen to. Tina Fey's, "Bossypants" is a must! It's 5 and half hours long, so I listened to it over several days. I even fell asleep once to it. No, it wasn't boring at all. I was just tired. If one could tell their life story in an audio book as she does, no wonder she's so damn good at what she does. She's absolutely hilarious!

Storytelling is at the heart of human emotion. I will get to that with you in a couple minutes.

I watched a lot of Ted Talks. If you ever have aspirations of being a speaker, this is an avenue you want to follow, Seriously!

I was so inspired that I did something about it.

I rewrote my personal story in a Ted Talk format. I actually haven't recorded it yet, but I believe it's under their magical number of 18 minutes or less from reading verbatim.

Click here for the "science" behind the reasoning. Ohhh science!

What else did I do?

I started a book from Simon Sinek called, "Start With Why." I purchased that book and his follow up, "Find Your Why" as well. I've been a bit slow to read it, but it's an easy read. In short, the synopsis is that most companies (but you can apply this as an individual, which I'm trying to do now) start with WHAT they do. Most companies know WHAT they do (they'd better if they want to be in business), some know HOW they do it, but few know/explain WHY they do what they do.

It's an interesting concept to think about, at least for me it is. He does a wonderful job in talking about how Apple (I love my MacBook Pro) has been able to sustain success in a technology-driven environment for so long. He mentions other comparisons as well. If it's any consolation, he has the 3rd most watched Ted Talk online.

Before I get to my "aha" moment, a couple more fun and interesting things.

I believe I've mentioned this in a previous blog post, but I did a phone interview with a local online news outlet about NAMI and my personal experience. It hasn't come out yet. It will be closer to the annual NAMIWalks (this year is virtual), which is coming up real soon on Saturday, September 26th.

Hopefully you're entertained enough at this point that you would do me a favor and help me reach my goal of $250. If not, let me share this with you:

You can donate here.

“I had no idea,” said Teresa’s mother Denise.

She was the happy, go lucky 15 year who was not just an A student, but president of the schools writing club, an after school mentor for an autistic child, and was excited to be taking a drivers ed course in the next couple of months. She made friends easily. I never saw it coming. I just never did.”

Unfortunately, what Denise is experiencing is all to common in today’s youth. You see, Teresa took her own life.

In the age group of 15-24, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in 2017, just behind unintentional motor vehicle deaths.

Sadly, Denise missed some of the warning signs; the somewhat frequent talks from Theresa about feeling burnt out with being a teen. Then there was the two separate occasions when a guy she liked stood her up. Also, she agonizingly realized the one time when her daughter had suggested she needed someone to talk to, but she had told her that she was just going through “a phase”.

While this is a story with fictional names attached to it, it is highly likely, a similar situation has arose that resulted in an ending like this.

But it doesn’t have to be!

People struggling with life have a place to go. A place where they can learn to feel comfortable to reach out and open up.

NAMI means so much to me. From weekly peer support groups to speaking personally about my mental illness, they have given me a platform to open up, to be vulnerable, to be authentic.

Won’t you please help me by donating what you can to support NAMI’s biggest fundraiser of the year?

The National NAMI Walk is on Saturday, September 26th.

Thank you!

Anyway, getting back to my phone interview, I and a couple other people were invited to do a photo shoot for the article. So on a windy Thursday (of course that would happen) me and another individual ended up getting professional shots taken. I'm sure I will look fine. I've been losing hair since my late 20s. The other gal, well she had an adventure trying to keep her hair out of her face. It was a fun event and we ended up talking with some other NAMI people for a couple hours afterwards.

The last thing during my detox break is something that makes you go, WTF!

I was letting Hazel outside in our backyard for a potty break. I take a turn to my left and my eyes literally pooped out of their sockets. The house next door is being finished next to us. It's about 11:30. No, not at night, but in the broad daylight and some cement worker is slowly walking along the side and turns face forward to the house he's working on.

And then it happens...

No, he isn't checking on the wall with the Tyvek logo all over it.

He's taking a F***ing leak!

I froze. Hazel, the friendly pup she is, was probably thinking. "Can I be his best friend?"

The guy never saw us.

I told my partner to which she contacted the builder (we had the same builder). Later that day or the next a supervisor comes over and rudely asks my partner about "some apology" that he needed to make on behalf of his employee. Seriously dude?!

I wasn't home at the time.

I get it. You gotta go when you gotta go. But c'mon, as a guy, it's not that hard to bring something with you to the construction site. A milk jug, a Mellow Yellow bottle, or maybe you have a used urinal from that one time you broke your leg.

Think idiot...THINK!

Going back to those Ted Talks did something for me. They didn't so much inspire me as instead reinforced something I knew and now know HAVE to do if I'm going to inspire change/action in others.

What is it Ben? Enough about your social media break!

Storytelling. The power of telling a story.

You can have all the facts and proof in the world about a problem and people will not be moved to think differently about it (Ahem, kind of like our society right now).

BUT...if you tell an audience something that they can RELATE to and get an EMOTIONAL reaction from, you are on your way to success.

Think about it.

Before AOL, MySpace (Hi Tom!), Satan Book, Instagram, or Tik Tok (looks so lame), people had to share stories, whether fiction or non-fiction.

It's biology. It's's how our brains work!

Dave Lieber tells us WHY (your WHY) in storytelling in a simple, easy, and humorous talk.

The power of storytelling to change the world: Dave Lieber at TEDxSMU 2013. Click here (17 min video)

With all that said, look for my new storytelling version of my personal story to come soon.

Until next time,

Be safe and know you're worth it.

"You Are Not Alone. Together, We Are Stronger!"

- Ben

PS - I'm gathering articles for my second newsletter (September or Sep/Oct edition). Submissions due October 8th.

To Submit or for more information, please shoot me an email at:

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