Saturday, January 18, 2014

So I de-activated my Facebook account for all of 24 hours.  It is now re-activated, but not because I dearly missed it.  In fact, it felt amazing during those 24 hours I was "off the grid."  I turned it back on because a family crisis was occurring, and I realized this was one of the biggest ways we communicate, and I also had some things I was in the middle of taking care of, and all of the information I needed was buried in my Facebook messages.  All this means to me is when I re-de-activate (yes, I just created a new word) I need to plan it a little better and make sure there is no unfinished business to take care of. 

I never intended for it to be a permanent "fall off the grid" experience, and I still don't.  I just want a break of having a life that is so "out there."  I am ironically reading a book right now called Intentional Parenting, and the chapter I read AFTER I decided to de-activate touched on Facebook and how relationships are losing their authenticity.  I agree with this whole-heartedly.  Gone are the days where people met face-to-face to catch up and see those vacation photos (just log in from the comfort of your own home with zero human interaction and look at the vacation photos of HUNDREDS of people!  Easy-peasy.  I am a particularly active Facebooker.  I literally take hundreds of photos of my kids, for my own personal enjoyment, and iPhones make it so easy to share them instantly, so I do.  I know my close friends and family genuinely enjoy them, but they become accessible to people I hardly know.  That makes me a little uncomfortable when I really think about it, and I will be honest, when I post them, I'm not thinking about it.

We also open ourselves up to criticism.  My guard is down when I post, and people put their guards down when they comment.  It's all the beauty of being behind a screen.  You are safe.  Until you read words that aren't necessarily kind.  Then it's a whole new ballgame.  Tones are impossible to read and feelings get hurt, causing possibly unnecessary tension in relationships.  Is it really worth it?  I don't think it is.

Now when I say this, I say it from my perspective, but I know it's not just me.  It's everyone.  I have been on both the giving and receiving end of having things misconstrued via typing something.  I have also commented or criticized things when no one asked for my opinion... I just ever-so-unkindly gave it.  And that is not something that rests easy with me.  That is not who I am.  But again:  guard goes down, safety is felt from being in the comfort of my own home and not face-to face.  Authenticity is gone.  I don't ever want to lose my authentic self.  Ever.

And lastly, I lose valuable time staring blankly at a screen.  Valuable time that could be spent with my family (face to face!) or doing things around the house.  Reading a good book.  Going for a walk.  Visiting a museum or visiting a friend.  Those kinds of things fill your heart with a sense of goodness.  Nothing good comes out of staring at a computer or phone screen, for sometimes hours on end.  Your mind essentially shuts down and nothing gets accomplished other than the things I mentioned above.

In the meantime, I am going to tie up some lose ends and make sure people who rely on Facebook to contact me will know an alternative method.  I will wait until after my Aunt Carol's funeral, as family will be coming together over the course of the next few days and Facebook makes it easy to reach everyone fast.  But then I will refocus my time and energy in, to me, more positive ways and see how it goes.  My thought is that it will go very, very well.

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