After experimenting for a week without Facebook, I realized just how much time it actually consumes. This revelation has definitely changed my daily routines, freed me from the pull of notifications and timeline scrolling, and made me happier in the process. I invite you to consider “Escaping Facebook.”
Yesterday, for the first time in a week, I opened the Facebook app on my phone and began scrolling.
I checked my notifications.
Caught up on my friends’ lives.
And then deleted the app for a second time.
I was as surprised as anyone. I told myself I’d take a week away from the draw of Facebook in an effort to limit my obsessive timeline scrolling. But after feeling the freedom that comes from not worrying about status updates or notifications, returning to Facebook was a great deal less enjoyable than I expected. I imagined feeling comfort at being “reconnected.” But all I felt was the pressure to catch up and “participate” by liking and commenting on posts.
Please don’t think that I’m disinterested in my friends’ lives. I genuinely care for their well-being, and I’m curious about their experiences. But the cost has become too great as of late. I’ve let the pressure to be connected and up-to-date build to the point that I feel forced to keep up with Facebook “news.”
Until this week, I didn’t realize how much I’ve let Facebook distract me. I used to spend every spare moment on it, always afraid I’d miss something.
But this week I accepted that I don’t need to know what everyone is doing all the time. In fact, I feel saner if I don’t. Consequently, I had more time to focus on things I do need to keep up on, like grading papers, planning lessons, connecting with family, and cleaning my home. Instead of clicking on Facebook while my computer loaded or the oven heated, I looked up new recipes, caught up on world news, or drank in a few moments of unscheduled peace.
It was lovely.
For the first time in ages, I enjoyed the freedom of leaving my phone in one room as I made my way to another.
Honestly, I feel more centered, more capable of focusing. As an active proponent of living consciously, I believe this is a step in the right direction for me.
I still see the value in Facebook as a tool to connect friends and family, and I have not deleted my account completely. But I have accepted that I am happier without Facebook as a part of my daily routine.
With this realization, came the desire to keep Facebook off my phone. So, unlike the first time, I felt no apprehension when I confirmed my desire to delete the app that has eaten up so much of my time.
Oh, I’m sure I’ll check in at some point.
But it feels wonderful to say I’m not sure when that will be.
No one’s life is perfect.
It’s a fairly obvious statement, and yet I seem to forget it often.
Just this weekend, I found myself in despair.
I guess it’s true what they say about the rosy façade put on by Facebook: it’s misleading. Everyone wants to share his/her positive life events, so inevitably, the occasional scroll might make it appear that everyone is blissfully happy and successful. Even though I post infrequently, I’m equally guilty for contributing to the endless stream of cheerful updates. It only seems appropriate to post when I have something positive to share, so by-and-large, my Facebook wall is filled with these misleading “date night” pictures.
Oh, I’m not saying that my life isn’t happy; I mean to say that Facebook is a poor representation of one’s full life. For it rarely reveals the darker, anxiety-ridden moments experienced by everyone.
We all know deep down that everyone’s life is just as messy as ours. Sure, we might not see it, but there is always drama of one sort or another. For some it is financial; for others it is illness. Many struggle with conflicts ranging from family to occupation. Very few of us feel content with our accomplishments, and fewer of us are content with our physical appearance.
I know better, but it was just the right number of frustrations and anxieties that successfully caused me to spiral into that place of self-pity.
Crying. Despair. More crying. It wasn’t pretty.
But then my husband intervened. He commiserated with my woes, but then wisely proceeded to remind me that we were not alone in our struggles. We all have burdens to bear. We all struggle with insecurities and self-doubt. Illness and finances plague more people than we realize.
Our friends, our families…their lives are not only the sum of their Facebook walls. To think so would be short-sighted. For they hide their struggles from the world, just as we do, thereby making it easier to think that we alone have been dealt an unfair hand.
Of course, I felt foolish. But that was not his intent. I truly believe my reaction was normal. I know the intricacies of my own life, but I cannot possibly know all of the struggles others face.
Now, I’m making an effort to remember that no one has it perfect. That when I am at my lowest, I am not alone, nor am I the first to experience such an emotion. While this fact won’t lessen my pain or frustration, I believe it will ease away the resentment, and that is essential to developing a mindset to get me through those times that threaten to knock me down.
Of course, not twenty-four hours after this realization, I attended a pre-arranged teacher conference that just happened to be all about the importance of mindset, not only in the classroom but in our personal lives.
I hear you universe, loud and clear!
I’ve tried to refocus my attitude this week. Sure, this may be a trying time, and very few things are rosy and ideal, but I am incredibly fortunate to be loved and supported by my husband, friends, and family. And while focusing on the positive will never cancel out the negative, it definitely helps me get through the day and keeps me cognizant of the fact that others might not have that support.
I know for a fact that many of my students do not. So, while I can’t fix their problems, I can provide an ear, a shoulder, or a hug, so that they know they are not alone.
After this weekend, I can speak confidently from personal experience…sometimes the best message you can share is a simple one:
You are not alone.