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I’m not the most observant of Catholics. That’s why this post is going up nearly a week after Lent has ended, and not the next following day or so. I also started my social media sojourn early, and finished late. Again, because I’m not the most observant of Catholics.

Why did I choose to forego Facebook for 40 days? Because I always choose to give up things that I think will cause me discomfort, I don’t like taking the easy option. So I’m not going to give up chocolate for forty days because, honestly, I wouldn’t really miss it that much.

As a member of the current generation of ‘linked in’ social media people that walk the earth, and there are many of us, I was also curious about how this abstinence would affect me.

It was great.

It’s funny how Facebook insidiously infects your thoughts and actions. What’s even funnier – or more disturbing – is how much more you notice it when you stop. It’s almost like one of those toxic relationships that you are so locked inside that you can’t see the problems until you are outside of it, looking in. You are blinkered to a certain degree.

So after I quit, and after the first few days of ‘cold turkey’ I actually noticed how my thoughts were my own. I wasn’t thinking up things, just to share with strangers¬† (and I appreciate the irony of typing that sentence in order to just share it with strangers*). Likewise I didn’t whip my phone out to take a photograph of a lovely scene, or particularly enchanting sunset, because I thought it would garner me 52 ‘likes’.

No, my thoughts were mine, and mine alone and anything I enjoyed I enjoyed for what it was, and not for what it would gain me.

And now I’ve had this time apart and have finally delved back in it’s changed. It’s like it’s become this odd thing that I can now view from a distance, and observe it coolly. A bit like the invaders from Mars in War Of The Worlds. Except I have no plans to let it kill me, figuratively speaking, through (re) infection.

No, I think I’ll make the most of this opportunity and recognise the gift that I’ve been given for what it is, a social-media detox.

Every year I give up something new, but I don’t always get something new from it. This year has been different, and I will always try to remain grateful for that.

Maybe next year I will try giving up alcohol for Lent.

Oh wait, I’ve just remembered, I have kids…so maybe not.