About a month or so ago I made a very drastic decision in my life. It changed life as I knew it in ways beyond what I expected. Since this event I have learned a number of things about myself, my family and basically about life in general. It might surprise you. You might think that you could never do it – you could never do something so life altering. Are you wondering what major yet ever so simple event could have done so much in my life? I quit Facebook! I heard that collective gasp from all over the world. But it is true. And the lessons have been beyond what I ever thought they might be.
First of all, let me say that I never thought that I had a problem. And I’m still not POSITIVE that FB was the problem. I believe the way that I USED it was the problem. I’m sure there are people all over the world tonight who use FB responsibly every day. I was one of them – for about two days. Somewhere about day 3 something snapped and I became addicted. I know you are saying “I’m not addicted to FB” in between games of Bejeweled, Farmville and perusing the same person’s profile for the 10th time today just IN CASE they MIGHT have stopped by in the last 5 minutes and done something new and exciting.
Let me take a minute right about here to make sure that you understand this post is about MY experience. I’m not accusing anyone. While the post is serious I am also writing it in jest. I am BY NO MEANS WHATSOEVER suggesting that everyone delete their FB accounts or even that FB is wrong (IT IS NOT!!!!). I am still quite sensitive about the topic myself. The purpose of this post is merely to share MY experience and the things I have learned since quitting it myself. After all, there are many chores that need avoiding, chatting that must be done and connecting with old friends that have to be made. Ok – that being said – ON WITH THE SHOW!!
So, in the last month I have learned a few things. I can’t really even say I learned them about myself. Most of them were things that I already knew but that had been numbed by staring at the FB screen for hours each day. So, some of these are new things and some of them are new-again things. I have compiled a list of 5 items. I’m sure there are MORE but my mind still sometimes thinks in short “status update” bursts. It’s a work in progress to retrain it to think in full ideas/essays.
1. I am thinking with much clearer thoughts. What in the world does that mean? It means that I can think through something now from beginning to end (ok, not ALL the time but a lot more then in my FBing days). When I read a book my concentration is better. When I am studying for Bible study I can put the points together more clearly in my mind. I can even follow a conversation better. I think I even have more to add to conversations. (No comments from the peanut gallery are necessary here – thank you very much) Ok – I admit it – I talk more – OUTLOUD to people in the same room as me. I’ll let you judge for yourself if that is a positive or a negative. Moving on…
2. I am more creative in a lot of areas of my daily life. I feel like my sense of humor is sharper. Ideas just pop up in my head many times throughout the day. Like I mentioned earlier my mind had relegated itself to thinking in “status update” bursts. Now it seems freer to develop those stats into fuller thoughts – which you are benefiting from right now actually by reading this blog post. I am thinking about how I can use my gifts in a more creative manner – whether it’s a job, volunteering or new things to do with my kids. My creativity has not spread into the kitchen. But take my word (and my family’s word) that is a GOOD thing – none of us want that – believe me!!
3. I have so much more family time. This one is a given. I learned that leaving comments on your kids’ walls or replying to their stats did NOT count as quality time with your children. Because it is summer and my kids are going in 83 different directions I haven’t gotten to spend as much time with them as I would like. But at least now when the opportunity presents itself I’m not distracted by FB. Ron and I have had a lot more time together. You would be surprised how much time in the evenings is taken up with FB – I mean that’s when your friends are on and can chat and play games with you. I’m learning that whole “there are people in the same room as me that want to chat and play games with me too” thing.
4. This one is super obvious but here it is anyway. I am being much more productive at home. We have already established that is NOT the case with that room they call the kitchen. But that doesn’t really count anyway. I’ve noticed my house is staying picked up more (of course that could have something to do with the fact that Michael is gone to Truth & Peace). I’m thinking about cleaning BEFORE it gets to the DESPERATE stage – which is a BIG improvement for me. And I really don’t even MIND housework anymore. It’s not gonna be on my top 5 list of favorite things to do. But I don’t dread it anymore and I don’t try to avoid it anymore. FB was a HUGE avoiding mechanism for me. If something needed to be done around here I convinced myself that it could be done LATER. After all I had VERY IMPORTANT things to do…….on Facebook……….admit it – you do it too. I’ve read your stats – I know you do it.
5. Finally (for now), I am worrying less about what someone else is thinking about me. I’ve always had a problem with that. But since dropping FB I realize just how much FB played into that. Now IF you have a FB then you KNOW that FB is “all about me”. Don’t try to tell me it’s not because you’ll be wasting your breath. It’s all about you – what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, what you’re planning, what you’re avoiding (see #4), what you’re talking to your family/friends about. To someone who already has a complex about what people are saying/thinking about them this is like gasoline to the fire. My life is no longer about the 456 other friends I shared my days with. It is about the 3 other people I share my day with. And about what God thinks about my life. Those are the ones that matter. Leaving FB has reminded me of that and I kind of like it. It’s a whole lot less pressure.
Now – FB has many redeeming qualities but that is for another entry. I realize that if you FB regularly I probably lost you at about the 600th character. So I will save that one for another entry. But if you’ve made it this far you deserve a challenge. If you find yourself lacking in any of the areas I have grown in I challenge you to go on a FB fast for a few weeks. That means NO FB. Not sneaking in “just” once a day to see “how everyone is”. A fast is a fast is a fast is a fast. Give it a shot and see what you learn about yourself.