A Facebook hiatus does people good.

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This past Sunday I made the decision to temporarily de-activate my Facebook account, just for a few days.  It was a personal litmus test, to see if I could go about my day without obsessing about a virtual application that has seemingly taken over what little social life I have.  Often times I found myself grabbing my laptop and logging in simply to see what was “going on” on Facebook, only to find myself still “online” four hours later.  The problem is once you’re logged in, the warm laptop buzzing away in your lap as you lay on the couch in the early afternoon, it’s easy to meander over to other websites, click links, watch videos……..and the next thing my entire afternoon is wasted. Can we say addicted, much?

John Lennon once said “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted,” which is a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.  However, more often than not I was bored with surfing the Net.  Facebook would rope me in and I would aimlessly meander from site to site, hoping to find something interesting to capture my attention.  I would not define that as time wasted that I enjoyed.

It was a gradual decision to de-activate Facebook.  First I cleaned out my “friends” with whom I have no real semblance of a friendship – acquaintances with which I exchange a hello every now and then.  Or people who know me via other family members.  I don’t really know them as people – I just recognize their faces.  There were teenage girls that played basketball with my sister on the local team, for example.  A hello in person seemed like it was enough – having them as Facebook friends didn’t really add any quality to my life. Did I really need to know whether they were single, in a relationship, sad, or happy?  I wasn’t really interested in their love proclamations either.  I grew out of my teens long ago, and would never want to re-visit those years.  Bogging down my day with the inane, self-obsessed thoughts of teen girls was making me roll my eyes to the point where I’d be on the floor looking for them because they dropped out of my head.  No thank you.  NEXT!

My clean-up then moved on to people who I knew socially in another life, who were nice enough people but the only reason I kept them on as friends was for the trolling satisfaction of keeping up to date with their life without really caring about it.  They’re not my friends.  I don’t really know them and I don’t hang out with them.   See ya later!  My Facebook list is now composed of actual friends and people I like and appreciate; and most importantly, people with whom I can’t feasibly keep regular face-to-face or phone contact with – for this sliver of people’s lives Facebook is a good tool to stay in touch.

Eventually I made the decision to go for temporary de-activation – my motivation was to allow myself to get back in touch with myself.  (How new-age does that sound? I’m not a hippie, I swear.)  But that is the truth.  I spent countless hours in a virtual world without giving enough attention to my actual life and it caused me to feel anxious and frazzled.  I felt that I needed something more – spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

The honest truth is that I didn’t really miss Facebook much.  And I was able to do much more enjoyable things with my time: I took some awesome afternoon naps.  I went to the gym. I went out to coffee with my family.  I read a book (which I hadn’t done in what seemed like the longest time…I was too busy browsing the Internet.)  I did yoga.  I meditated.  Because I focused on doing things that were good for my mental health, coincidentally I smoked less weed, too. Taking a break from social technology, it seems, did me good.  Moving forward I’m going to try to use it in a more conscious way, although saying that feels like an oxymoron.  Social networking doesn’t breed consciousness, but it’s up to us to use it in a way that enriches our lives rather than bog it down with frivolous information.  (Aaaaaaand that is your life lesson for the day, people.  You’re welcome.)

The de-activation lasted three days.  Apparently I was missed.  And let’s face it; these conversational gems can only happen in the social networking world.

I'm taking suggestions on what my answer should be to all of them.

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About Voula (http://expatuncensored.com)

I'm a 31-year old woman living in beautiful Nafplio, Greece for the past two years. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and lived there up until the big move two years ago. Lets just say I'm an Oak-town girl at heart. I'm also a Greek girl at heart. And so that's a challenge. My brain may live in Greece but it still thinks in English - it makes things very interesting. I live with my younger brother in our parent's house in Nafplio and four months out of the year we revert back to teenagers when my parents visit the homeland for the summer. Talk about a life-altering situation. I also have a younger sister who is newly married and newly pregnant. We all look normal from the outside, but just like any family, we have our internal craziness going on. I work seasonally at a seaside hotel in Tolo, Greece. By "seasonally"I mean I work May-October and I sit on my fancy little butt the rest of the year. It is, as we would say in California, a pretty sweet gig. I try not to take things too seriously, I don't have too much patience for ridiculous people who try to dictate your life. I like quiet, I've never been much of a party girl and really am in awe of people who can just go go go without ever stopping to take a breather. I started this blog as a creative outlet for me to vent, express, observe, share, and perhaps even over-share (as I'm prone to do). Hopefully it will amuse you, interest you, or at the very least make you thank the Heavens that your mind isn't as twisted as mine.

9 responses »

  1. I concur. Facebook hiatus does people good indeed. De-activated by Facebook for a month and guess what? Was able to finish reading three books! I can say I’ve weaned myself from Facebook. =p

    • That is so very awesome! Hoorah! It really does feel like this invisible weight has lifted off your shoulders when you no longer are attached to the constant check-in. And half the time there’s nothing worthwhile enough to justify the obsession. Makes me long for the days when everyone wasn’t constantly checked-in and available. 🙂 Which books did you end up reading? Anything good you’d recommend?

      • Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Teacher Care (a book by Filipino authors, helped a lot cos I’m a teacher). I recommend anything by Gladwell. I love the man.

  2. Ha! Very funny…as usual…yes, mass media deprivation can be a good thing sometimes…how free one can feel…I challenge you to take it a step further…give up TV, radio, Internet, social media, books, music….for one week….see what happens…you may write a novel! Or maybe just an angry poem….

  3. Well, I didn’t do this full time, I kinda did a part-time or “internship” media deprivation, lol. I drove around LA with no radio or music…which was interesting. Reminded me how bad radio really is. I watched less TV, seems to write more…hung out with dogs more…got outside more…My TV is kinda stealing my soul, but whatever…True Blood can’t really be missed 🙂

  4. Pingback: A Facebook Vacation? — Social Business Strategist

  5. I too started one in Nov 2013 and it’s still going today Jan 4, 2014. My birthday is Feb 3 and I may get on to not snub the 55555 people who all stop by to wish me a happy day…. but who knows. It’s been better for me mentally because it was drama on my end and I was becoming the angry poet lady. My uncle called me “venomous”. Ok, I’m too cute to be so angry so seriously?? I had to bow out gracefully before people figured out how big of a wombat I really was. I was mad at my so called bff and my noo so likely to be my boo ex person….Yea. these two still communicated and it drove me crazy no lie. So in order to keep my jealous bull in a box I just disappeared from the book and both of their lives. Neither seem to have died wo me and go figure, I’m alive as well. Fb is great I love it. Hating people you love that seemingly put stuff up to hurt you, not so much. I miss some of it. But my boyfriend has not one single social media page and I couldn’t for the life of me understand that. Now, it makes so much sense.

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