New year, new you. That’s what they say anyway.
Fittingly, I started my new year with a detox. And let me tell you, if you’re looking for a detox that isn’t about your waist size but rather the weight of your soul, I’ve got one that made me feel so much lighter.
CAN YOU EVEN GUESS?!
As silly or logical as it sounds, this Facebook detox I’ve been doing has brought me so much peace. On one hand, it makes so much sense. I was an avid Facebook user, I followed all of the news outlets, all of the magazines and most of the people I was/am friends with. I was served ALL of the content. I couldn’t hide from the news, I couldn’t hide people’s terrible opinions, I couldn’t stop myself from reading the comments and I couldn’t help but be offended. On the other hand though, I love so much about Facebook. Getting to see all of the baby pictures and all of the kid pictures, getting to congratulate everyone on all of the life events, getting to keep up with old acquaintances, getting to read all of the funny stories and lend a supporting “heart” or word.
I did THE MOST on Facebook.
But you know what they say, it just takes one village idiot to ruin all of the fun. Facebook is as good as the friends you keep, it’s not much different than real life – except that people can say and do things they would never do in real life on Facebook. They can be people they aren’t. They can have lives they really don’t. They can treat people like trash as if it’s totally okay even though in real life they’d never imagine being so stupid. It started to feel like a trap. I wanted to unfriend 75% of my “friends” and create a safe space of people who had good intentions, were 100% authentic and didn’t seem to hate everyone and/or complain about everything.
I’d concluded life is too short.
At the end of the day, I want to share life with people who support me and my family, people who share my views and live their lives similarly. In real life, with all our wits about us that makes complete sense, I think it’s what we all aim to have. But on Facebook – where people can curate their lives and their stories and act as though they actually have 900 friends – it’s considered childish or rude to unfriend someone, regardless of the depth of your connection. It’s hard to protect the things you share when you’re too scared of hurting someone you hardly know’s feelings.
Life feels lighter without Facebook. When you really think about it, all of the good things about Facebook are outweighed by the cons: competitive bells and whistles, the human desire to be valued (i.e., popular) and included, the human tendency to compare and judge and the organic nature of jealousy. To me, it seems like there really are so many things working against us on a fundamental level, so I started to question why I was compelled to share so much with so many. Why do we share those photos of our kids and our vacation? Why do we share that hilarious thing our kids said? Do we share because we know other people would think it’s funny? Because it could brighten up someone’s day? Because we like the gratification of other people seeing it? Of other people reacting to it? Because the interaction and positive attention feels like a drug? Because it’s nice to feel like we’re not alone? Because throwing that picture in one place is easier than texting it to 15 different places?
Maybe a bit of all of those things? Sure, so we keep sharing and interacting and consuming.
But at the cost of what?
I think that’s where things become murky for me. Simply spending time on Facebook is taking time and attention away from someone or somewhere else and directing it at people or things you, or at least I, hardly have a real tangible bond with. A weekend or so ago, I got to see an old friend who said his goal for 2019 was to create more meaningful connections, to stop making excuses not to hang out or see people. I can cheers to that, “to getting up and going!” That’s what life’s about, right? Showing up. I have to say, not trying to be invested in everyone’s life with all the likes and all the scrolling and not being preoccupied with trying to share every ounce of mine, has given me more time to actually invest in, if at the very least, what’s around me.
I detoxed from Facebook for a WHOLE month. I had no idea what people outside of my circle were doing and, admittedly, I’m not sure I have enough fingers to count the number of times I’ve wanted to post a hilarious conversation Seth or I have had with one of the boys but I feel so light. About two weeks into the detox Seth asked if I had heard about some gruesome news story and I realized I hadn’t checked the news in, well, two weeks. News? What’s that?? I was genuinely caught by surprise. Maybe we could all use a really good unplugging. I know I’ve come out on the other side more aware of where I’m spending my time, where I’m focusing my attention and feeling more attuned to what matters.
Maybe it’s not so much about looking for things to do as it is about looking at what you’re doing.
It’s February already! How on earth did that happen?
And so into 2019 we go.