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.