40 days away
Last year during Lent, I committed to check facebook just once a day and chronicled that journey here. This year, I found out, from a facebook friend, that I could actually deactivate my facebook account and return at any time with all facebook info still intact. In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, I conversed with myself over the possibility of unplugging from this daily distraction and then decided to follow through. There was a sinking feeling in my stomach and a bit of waffling on Fat Tuesday. But after announcing the decision in a status update and drinking a glass of wine, I pushed the deactivate button and jumped off for 40 days. Here is what I learned
- Very often, time on facebook is a distraction from thoughts and tasks that are important to me. It is sometimes like eating junk food when what my body needs is healthy nutrition. Too often it is a time filler when I feel restless or bored. Sitting for a time with boredom has value. Rather than doing the default of jumping onto an electronic device, I was reminded of healthier ways to cope. Prayer, meditation, mindful thoughts, picking up a book or shifting to a task that needs to be done are all more refreshing than social media.
- In the first few weeks, I often felt like there was a big party out there and I was missing out. I am guessing that when I get back on I will realize that the party wasn’t as exciting as imagined.
- It took me about two weeks to stop thinking in possible status updates as I walked through life. I want to ponder this more, but I have to say that approaching daily life this way seems odd and fairly narcissistic.
- I did miss keeping up with many of my friends. As they came to mind, I wondered how things were going for them and realized that there is a role for online sharing and relationship. But I also realized that deeper sharing and knowing of someone takes place away from facebook. Running into friends along the day and way and catching up face to face is more satisfying.
- It has been a particularly busy 40 days in our family and home. I could access more energy to complete tasks and remain present and available to those in our home.
- Blog writing suffered and did not flow during this time away. This is the one blog written in the last 40 days – actually, I squeaked out a second one the day before Easter. I remember when I first was deciding whether or not to blog, having a conversation with one of our sons. He had blogged a bit and then did not. I encouraged him to keep a journal. He said that he realized that he “needed an audience” when writing and I guess I feel the same way. I missed my facebook “audience” and the interchange of thoughts on my writing.
- I cheated one time – kind of. My husband is a very minimal facebook user, but his page was up one day. One of our sons had started dating someone. My “mom new girlfriend spy m.o.” is once a son drops the name, I try to locate her on facebook. I quickly jumped onto this son’s fb page, found the girl and checked her out. Well, at least I got to see how she presents herself on facebook.
- Anticipating a return to social media precipitated almost as much uncertainty and mixed emotions as fasting from it.
So I continue the quest of satisfying, healthy living. As the years move along, I desire to be connected to others in gratifying ways and continue to consider how social media fits into that desire. I would love to hear from you about the challenges and benefits you see in the world of social media.