I remember when it all started…back when I was in college and a social network called Facebook first appeared. You needed to have a college e-mail address to register, and I recall disliking this because many of my friends were not in college at the time. Still, I joined and left my page mostly unused while MySpace still reigned high.
But then MySpace began to give its users too many options. Suddenly, a simple online space to leave quirky messages to friends and share photos became a mess of sparkly backgrounds and drama surrounding who your “Top 8” friends were. MySpace began to lose its appeal. That’s when many friends began escaping to Facebook.
“Anyone can join now as long as you’re 18 and older,” they said. I liked the fact that it was open to my non-collegiate friends and so I ventured over and began to update my profile and add photos and comment to friends walls and click “Like”…a lot.
And suddenly, it was like that house party you’d decided to have one weekend while your folks were out of town. Small and contained at first but then someone brought a friend, and then they said, “Hey, my friend Max wants to come but they’ll bring some beer so is it cool?” And you say, “Suuuure!” But Max brings Jamie who brings Alex who told their entire dorm who told their cousin who, well, you know. And then suddenly you can’t remember if your folks were coming back Monday or Tuesday except they show up at midnight instead with more of your family members but they want to be cool so they just join the party and now you can’t kiss your girlfriend or drink those Jaegerbombs cause Nope.
But then you somehow found that you still couldn’t leave. Because someone was parked behind you and then when they finally moved, you had two flat tires and someone accidentally stepped on your glasses. So you sit there and have a nice conversation with an old friend and it’s all good until suddenly, a fight erupts about abortion rights and you hear your grandmother arguing with your old professor and your friend’s band’s drummer and you start in on the argument but then you’re thinking, “What the fuck is going on here?!”
While Facebook can be great for some things, and some people, sometimes it just gets to be…too much. And when I find myself obsessively checking it every chance I get:
- While I wait in line at the grocery store
- While I wait for my food to finish heating up in the microwave
- In between bites as I feed my kid
- While I partly listen to my husband to finish venting about his commute frustrations
- Under the covers before bed…even if it’s 4 a.m.
…I decide that it’s time to take a break.
Because there are so many other things I could be doing or thinking about and I put them off claiming “There’s no time!” But really I’m wasting the precious time I do have scrolling thru posts of some mom ranting about how she’s tired of her kid climbing the walls and another post about ethics in journalism vs. #GamerGate and another about the evils of GMO foods and holy crap the explosions of anti-vaxx vs. pro-vaxx and most recently the rise in subtle racism regarding #BlackLivesMatter and I just don’t have the time or stomach for it all. Not to argue with people who can clearly only see things in one direction (I’m too old luckily to suffer through actualy One Direction posts, fortunately).
So for at least the entire month of May, I’m taking a sabbatical from all the Facebooking in order to reassess my priorities. I’ve taken shorter breaks and it always feels like coming up for air after a long swim so I don’t doubt this will have the same effect on a grander scale.
How do I propose to spend my time instead?
- Doing more yoga
- Sleeping more
- Playing more with my son and teaching him more things (we just started baby ASL!)
- Walking/jogging more
- Working on my novel(s)
- Spending more quality time with my husband
And sure, I’ll still be scrolling through Twitter and Instagram because I find those places to be more relaxing. And I’ll miss some of my Facebook groups and friend (I’ve met so many great fellow loss moms and feminist friends on there that it’s sometimes difficult to not have that sense of community that I often lack IRL). But I know a break is good and necessary every so often. Feel free to join me in May Free From Facebook (or June or October or whenever you read this).
P.S. This is the first time I write an entire blogpost on my phone so let’s hear it for productivity!