Last week I took a break from The Facebook. I fled in the night after seeing a post that irritated me. I looked through my inbox and messaged everyone who didn't have my email address that I was leaving. Everyone else, I figured, could come find me somewhere else. I hit send, found deactivate and vanished.
I don't think Facebook is some great evil necessarily; I just think that the way I was coming at it was not great. Just like in any dynamic, all of the parties involved contribute. Anyway, I'm on Day 8. I didn't set a minimum time or anything, and I don't know how long I'll last. But here's what I'd love to work on during this little sabbatical.
1. Moment presence. I'd love to stop anecdotalizing my life into chewable bits as I sail through each minute. I've been telling stories for as long as I could talk; my poor sister knew everything going on in my third grade class on the daily. So I'm already predisposed to removing myself from moments in order to begin writing them in my head (and hardly ever committing them to paper). And I'm already predisposed to sharing those bits with people. And Facebook gave me great feedback nearly instantaneously that made me crave it more. Miss more moments, get more feedback. Again, again, again.
2. Less-careful (and less careful) communication. Because of professional constraints, I edited very carefully what I put on Facebook. And yet I was posting all of the time. But with so many topics I couldn't talk about, I often felt left with frivolity. The person who I was on there was some strange version of myself. Nothing that I ever said was untrue, but there was so little of it that it didn't feel real. I would talk to people in real life, Facebook friends, and we would not even reference anything that was on there. So then what made it so important to say in the first place?
3. More real communication. It's easy to tell myself that I was communicating with people as I kept up with whatever they chose to tell all of their Facebook communities (and whatever Facebook chose for me to see out of all that) but knowing how much I edit, I must have been seeing very little of what they were going through, too. When I step back, I see it's just not a forum for that. But in the day-to-day, that was getting lost. Since I've been off, I've had good exchanges with people. Sure, it's only the first week, but I've at least felt real in all of them.
4. More interior monologue. My urge to say things is strong. And frankly, I think being in an office at the other end of the building from most of my co-workers doesn't help. I stay in there all day by myself, craving communication. Facebook helped me get some of that, but I think what I really need is to be able to control that urge better. To have a thought, and keep it to see if it goes away, or if something grows from it.
5. More tolerance for boredom. When I was a kid, we'd go on long car trips and I would cherish the opportunity to stare out the window and daydream. I lived a Walter Mitty-ish existence, excited for every moment that I could get lost in an alternate reality. I never felt bored because I always had my brain with me. And if not, I had a book. But my ability to battle tedium is almost completely gone. I can't really blame this on Facebook, but I definitely used it to make things worse. It was getting to the point where I had it with me a lot of the time in some form or another. I couldn't even watch a television show without checking during the boring parts. But *everything* was boring to me. I would tell myself that my brain worked at a certain frequency, able to appreciate what was going on but also check Facebook at the same time. But what I think was really happening was that I was losing the ability to appreciate anything, including mental quiet.
So, those all seem pretty big now that I type them out. And there's a lot more I'm not even including yet because it's not fully formed. But I'm hopeful that I can gain some of this back.