Until last week, I spent an unatural amount of time logged into Facebook.
In fact, Facebook was the first thing I did in the morning, and the last thing I did before falling asleep at night.When I acquired my new smart phone, Facebook was suddenly available to me everywhere that I went... To make matters worse, I felt... compelled to "check in" everytime I walked into a restaraunt.
I wanted my three hundred and fifty six friends to know, "Yes! Look at me! I'm at Braum's with my children! I have a full social calendar! See? I'm not a pathetic loser!"
I was in a state of panic when the realization struck that my online relationships were overshadowing the relationships with those immediatley around me. I was losing touch with reality. Instead of calling my friends or family on the phone to arrange lunches or playdates... I would Facebook them.
Sick friends? Facebook.
Death in the family? Condolences via Facebook.
New baby? Congratulations via Facebook.
Birthday wishes? Phone call. Okay, I'm lying. I didn't even know it was their birthday. Facebook told me.
Interest in what "Susie-Whatserhoosit" was making for dinner superceded my own dinner, and it had to stop. On April the 2nd, one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of what appeared to be a Facebook vaccinne. I was drinking my coffee, and I had a sudden moment of clarity...It was something like this:
Holy Shit. I need a Facebook Vaccinne.
I needed more than that... I needed a Facebook colonic. I needed to flush Facebook out of my system, and learn to live without it. It was time. So, on April the 2nd at 8:35 a.m., I deactivated my Facebook account. I once read, when a person survives a tragic event or suffers through a tramatic time, they must tell one hundred people their story before they can begin to heal. ( I, apparently, felt the need to send out a mass text message informing everyone that I was quitting Facebook. I included a Howard Thurman quote at the bottom. It was downright poetic, to say the least. )
Soon, I recieved severeal reply text messages:
"April Fool's Day was yesterday."
"Was it something I did?"
"I don't blame you...Facebook is silly."
(and my personal favorite)
"Wow! That was quick... By the way, that Howard Thurman is a freaking wordsmith."
The first two days without Facebook were awful. I would see something hysterical and think, "I need to post this on Face-... Wait a minute. No more Facebook."
I've seen friends in the grocery store over the last week, and they asked, "Did you give me the X?"
I explained to them that I was breaking up with Facebook. Of course they asked why, but the thing that startled me the most... Every person that I've talked to about it has asked, "What's life like without Facebook?" People have not only asked me this question, they've asked with a heart full of wonder and hope.
Frankly, life is the same as it was before Facebook. My children are still hilarious, I still silently hex people when they are rude to me, and I still wonder about the absurdities of life... They just go undocumented for my three hundred and fifty six friends to see... Which is sort of nice.
In short, my sabbatical has forced me to interact with people more. I've made more phone calls in the last week than I have in a month. I've had two lunch dates, and I have only opened my computer three times.
When I'm having a great day, I enjoy it... and when someone pisses me off, I no longer look for the perfect quote or lyrics to vaguely express to the world that I'm mad.
Nope. I just tell them, "Now, you've pissed me off, sucka."
I feel more expressive, and I'm definitely getting more sleep. I've done some volunteer work, and watched new movies. Believe it or not, I've actually lost a little weight since being off of Facebook. Oh. My. God. Even as I'm writing this it's being affirmed that I really was in a relationship with Facebook... Yuck.
In short, turn off your Facebook for a week. I dare you. See what life it like around you, or in the words of Howard Thurman (a.k.a The Freaking Wordsmith)... "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”