3/25/13

On quitting Facebook.

In the middle of last week, on an ordinary, if not somewhat emotional Wednesday, I quit Facebook. 

Posted a final farewell and off I went. I'd been contemplating it for a long time, months, if not years. And wow. Whew. 

I've written a lot here about busyness and my own busyness and my issues with city living and hustling and bustling and the like. I've also written at length about the constant comparing that comes, inevitably, from seeing everyone's highlight reel as their daily life.  What I haven't written about is the perpetual checking in to see who 'liked' my blog post, or who commented on it. The validation and insecurity that comes from being able to access instant commentary on your life at a moment's notice. It's more habit than anything. Which is why it was so hard to turn off. My pointer finger just always lead me back to that little blue icon.

I remember a time in my life when I didn't have a cell phone. It wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things. I really can't even imagine it now though. Here's the thing about technology: no one is forcing it on you, you can pretty much take it or leave it. But it's so shoved in your face and at your fingertips so closely all the time, it's near impossible to say no. It's just too easy. So I knew that it would have to be an intentional decision to take the option for the finger to touch the icon away. 

In recent months I've felt a shift in the way that I'm living. Despite, or maybe because of, a jam packed schedule, I find myself moving more slowly, and yes, gracefully. It has been a blessing for a lady who has lived on the edge of near franticness for so many years. I find myself being more considered about the way I'm living. Not being so rushed through every moment and on to the next. Being more conscious of the person I want to be. And if you want to be the type of person who has an attention span longer than a mosquito and who can sit presently at a bar while her dining companion uses the restroom without picking up her phone to see what everyone else is doing, well, then you have to choose to be that person. And for me, that person isn't on Facebook. 

I decided that I'd like to use my horn a little bit less and my patience a little bit more. And stop comparing my life to all of yours. And my timeline to all of yours. And my failures to your successes. My unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant to the photos of all of your sweet, lovely children. I want to live my life without "checking in." And, fuck, I just wanted to see what it felt like to sit at a stoplight and just, well, sit at a stop light. I want to stop picking up my phone at every spare, dull moment. I want to learn to sit, still, and to use my brain again. For reading. Watching the clouds go by. Hanging out with friends and not feeling the need to photograph it for my 'timeline.' This life is short, and I am constantly reminded now that we only have one of it. It is going by so fast. And I just don't want to spend it on Facebook anymore.

It's been five days and, as dramatic as it seems, it's different. It feels like I have more space in my days. I would find myself wandering over to my computer in the middle of cleaning the house only to sit down and realize there was nothing I needed to look at. A few weeks ago I would've gotten sucked into the void and there would have gone an hour, seriously, wasted. And when I say wasted, I mean, wasted. Because I'm not doing anything that I actually even want to be doing. Not reading, or hanging out with my dog, or designing, or being with my husband. Just wasting my time. I find that I am more patient in traffic and I do, indeed, use my horn less. I am not in such a rush anymore. There's no need to rush because those 30 seconds in the car that I spent diddling around on my phone are spent sitting. 

I've also been able to step away from the comparisons (this isn't an isolated feeling...check out this article). I had mild pangs when I thought about giving it up that I would be out of touch and have no idea what's going on with everyone. It does feel like that a little bit. But I also don't really need to know where and what you are all eating every Friday night. And I really don't need to know if you do or don't like what I'm eating. Or if you like what someone else is eating more. I think there's validity in being a little bit disconnected. I also had fears that I would lose readership without the daily reminders in your feeds that I had blogged! read me! But I'm just going to go ahead and let go of that too. If you like me enough, you'll keep coming around to check in. And I'll love you all the more for it. 



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3 comments:

  1. Well Done!
    I too tinker with this idea FB is such a time waster. I will continue to check in to your blog I love your honesty and your posts G'day from OZ.

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  2. I completely understand your struggle with FB! I go back and forth too. In all honesty, I would not be on FB unless I had a small business to promote. I know... that's awful to say (but true). :-/ I may just join you at some point.

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  3. I dumped FB a couple of months ago. Right around the time I found out my grandmother was a lurking under another family member's account. Then I felt I had to self-censor and combined with those other issues you talk about, well, all of the sudden it just wasn't any fun anymore. I've toyed w/ the idea of getting back on with a fake name and limiting my friends to a small number, like 20. I'd like to keep up with people I don't see every day but still have a meaningful relationship with (like my sisters). I haven't been able to pull the trigger though because I know it's a slippery slope.

    As an aside, the safest thing I do every day is chuck my phone in the backseat of the car so I can't reach/check it while driving.

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