March 2018 Editor's Fix

Over the last two months, I have inadvertently been without Internet and cable at home. Inadvertently as in, we tried as hard as possible to have it hooked up but to no avail. “We’re looking at three months.”

At first, we panicked. How will we survive? What about the kids? How will we get our work done? The Olympics!!!!!

But within hours of moving in, our habits transformed. Seriously. Sure, we make efforts to download shows off Netflix, and Starbucks with its Wi-Fi is just a quick trip down the hill. But otherwise, we have resorted to what might be our norm under different circumstances.

Spending quality time with our girls, logging time on the trainer, tinkling the ivory once again, and reading. A lot. And I can’t get enough. Of any of these things!

I started noticing how different I felt. Fantastic. Confident. Happy doing what I’m doing, when I’m doing it. Being present. Then one day at work, posting something to Facebook I got sucked into the newsfeed. Half an hour later, I realized how much time had passed and it didn’t feel good. Ah ha! While the hours doing the things I love has been on the rise, the hours spent on social media has decreased significantly.

Leading up to this, I had come across articles and studies on the negative impact of social media on adolescent girls, and now it worries me even more as I’ve seen the change within myself. As girls and women, we are already confronted with unrealistic standards of success and beauty on TV, in movies, in magazines and through advertising. Now, as we scroll through social media feeds we see only the best of the best. The perfect cup of coffee, the happy family on the beach, the epic ski run. Everyone seems so happy, living the best life. While previously it was celebrities and models who seemed to have it all, now it’s also our colleagues, our classmates, our friends. And while most adults can filter through this and walk away with nothing more than maybe feeling blah about having been sucked into the vortex, its impact on youth and especially young women is something we should all be concerned with.

It’s a time in life when we already feel so insecure, so vulnerable. We’re looking for acceptance. We’re trying to ‘fit in.’ I can’t even begin to imagine what life during this time would be like with social media.

2018 has been called the Year of the Woman. And it’s been amazing to see the positive changes being made, the empowerment it is garnering. But it’s also important to remember what has had to happen to get us here. What still needs to happen for true equality to take place including how to navigate the new tools in our age of information.  

The most important lesson learned during our forced “time out” is the positive effect it has had on our girls. Not only are we leading by example, we’re present. And this is something I plan on remembering as they continue to grow alongside the challenges coming their way.  This, and invoking my inner Maya Angelou, "Grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."