I thought for sure that I'd wake up the next morning and need to look at it, but I didn't. Didn't even think about it. I figured as the week went on that I'd start to be curious about what's up with people or what's happening in the world. That I'd want to share a picture or two. Or that I'd feel compelled to comment on some injustice somewhere.
I've often said social media is the devil, and I believe it. The devil certainly uses it to facilitate all kinds of wrong doing and invoke hostility.
Over the years I've gone through bouts where I needed to unplug and therefore deactivated for a while. This time though, was different. I REALLY had felt myself letting so much get to me. Unfollowing people or pages wasn't enough. I was consumed with frustration and bewilderment and had nowhere to go with it. I felt myself becoming bitter and sad, and hence, taking it out on my family. I could no longer take the negativity, impropriety, lack of integrity. Or the hubris, pretension, hypocrisy, ambiguity, and all the sanctimonious bull sh!t I was seeing. Then throw in politics, fake news, alternative facts, buzz words, tit for tat. And "like if you agree," memes, causes, hashtags, soliciting, pop culture and O. M. G. my head was spinning after a two minute scroll!
I felt like I was living in an alternative universe.
And I kinda was.
I don't know why I'm ever surprised at what I see or read, I mean, when you put hundreds of personalities together in an impersonal environment, what is to be expected? Madness.
During my week long experiment I learned a few things.
- I was reminded Facebook and other social media is merely a tool - beyond that it is sure to suck the life out of you and spit you out through the portals of hell it provides. Social media is great for communication, business, information, education, news, or keeping in touch, but it's hardly a lifestyle.
- I had more time in my day. With four kids, schooling 2 1/2 of them, 473 activities a week, making meals no one likes, chores I don't keep up with, changing diapers, cleaning up apple juice 84 times off the floor, and calling poison control - I'M BUSY! You'd think I wouldn't have time to pick up my phone and check FB, but somehow I did. It's called needing a break and vegging while the kids rot their brains in front of the TV or sneak a snack or bite their baby brother. Instead, this week, I took those five minute moments and did other things to satisfy my much needed break.
- I was in a better mood. All the stuff that was bringing me down every day was no longer invading my brain. I can't control my own little world half the time, so I don't know why I let the great big world around me get the best of me. People have gone batshit crazy, and there's nothing I can do about it - can't control anyone's thoughts, feelings, values, views, opinions, beliefs, lifestyles, or decisions. This week was a lesson in living IDGAF to its fullest.
- I was a better mom. I'm with my kids 24/7, but that doesn't mean I'm always attentive. Even without FB no one in my house gets my undivided attention every moment, and they don't always get the best of me either - I'm human. But I had really been lacking in attentiveness lately. By the end of the day I was feeling guilty. Praising another Minnie Mouse coloring page and watching another flip on the trampoline can get mundane, but those things are important to them - I never want them to stop being excited to share their lives with me.
- I lived. I live with or without FB - what I mean is I did my own thing and lived without comparing or expectation. Those are two of the fastest ways to kill a person emotionally. I didn't worry about how I homeschool or what recipe I should be making for optimum health. I didn't care about the latest and greatest or what's bigger, better, and faster. And I wasn't bothered by the constant reminder that some people suck - and that includes the people I thought mattered.
- Friends, an invention of FB, is a thing. My 500+ *friends* aren't all really friends - we're not all invested in one another, and that's ok. It's still nice to stay acquainted through FB, and it's great to interact on chance encounters, get together now and then, and hang out at events. I certainly have those I consider friends without seeing regularly, but I'm talking about deep, meaningful friendships - those with whom relationships survive without FB...those are friends.
- People are whatever. I say that because I don't know what all inclusive adjective to use, and because it's true. Family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers - it doesn't matter. People lie, embellish, flaunt, antagonize. It was nice not to see all the drama whether in a status or comments. The negativity was gone, and the weight of all that is wrong with the world lifted.
Although only a week, not a Lenten sacrifice, a boycott, or a yearlong sabbatical, I needed this break, and it needed to be more than well-intended will power. "I just won't get on" wasn't going to cut it. I needed no access - to know I was "deactivated." I'm guessing we've all been there at some point during our stint with social media, especially Facebook. Many of us have personal rules about what we post, comment, and share, but others don't. Obviously, some people have no filter, and some are completely ridiculous for various reasons and just need to stop. There are a few perfect people out there (which is why FB needs an eye roll button), and let's not forget the unrelenting, always right, overly sententious people. And some just need an etiquette refresher.
Seriously, you've all thought the same thing so don't judge my judging.
Really, social media is about us as individuals - we know our limits and what we can tolerate, and we know what we need to do to stay sane.
We can let stuff go or be baited.
Be respectful or hateful.
Scroll or troll.
Sincerely ask or willfully incite.
Debate or argue.
Sincerely ask or willfully incite.
Debate or argue.
This was effective if only for a week, and it was a reminder that I need to go back to what social media is for me - a tool. I need to set the example for my kids, not get consumed with the particulars of headlines and opinions, and invest my energy, time, and devotion where it belongs.
Virtual life isn't living.