But lately (and by lately I mean, pretty much the past couple of years) I've been getting this nagging feeling like maybe Facebook has taken over my life. As a modern, independent woman of at least average intelligence, I'd like to think that I can live without something like Facebook, but I was starting to have my doubts. I mean, it's so easy. Between computers, smartphones, tablets, it's everywhere! As long as you have Internet connection, you have Facebook connection. Even when I went to London, a year and a half ago, I thought for sure I'd be out of touch for two weeks, until I was able to connect to my friend's wi-fi at her flat. I was in London for goodness sakes!!! I was in one of the coolest cities in the world, and a personal favorite, and I was still updating my status nearly every night. Now, at the time I was thinking I was just staying connected and keeping people back home updated. But really, if being in a foreign country isn't an excuse to send postcards snail mail, I don't know when else you get to do that.
It all hit a boiling point when some discussions in various threads started getting a little heated and I started taking things personally. To me, that's sign #1 that you're having problems. Facebook discussions shouldn't be taken personally. You should be able to say, "it's just the Internet, it's not that important." Or another favorite, "First world problems." I mean really, boo hoo, something on the Internet offends me or hurts my feelings. There are worse things that could be happening. Now, this isn't to say that the Internet doesn't possess the power to hurt, anyone who was paying attention to the Internet violence against Anita Sarkeesian knows just how much damage the Internet and it's users can do. But in my case it was simply that people didn't agree with me. Not a big deal. At all.
I clearly needed to get over it and, as much as it embarrasses me to admit, get over myself.
So, I did what any sensible person would do. I logged off Facebook. I posted a "See ya!" status and I logged out of Facebook on my laptop. I closed it on my iPad. I turned off push notifications and moved the Facebook icon on my iPhone to the farthest home screen so that I wouldn't see it. And really, the fact that I had to do all that just proved to me how accessible I'd made Facebook to my life, and just how addicted I'd become. Sad.
Early on it was hard. I wasn't banning myself from the Internet, just Facebook. But the first place my finger moved the cursor to was the shortcut on my shortcut bar. It wasn't even a conscious decision! That's a sign #2 you've got a problem. You don't even THINK about it!
At first it was definitely hard. Wondering what people were saying, feeling disconnected. My parents were out of town and I had the house to myself. There was plenty I could be doing instead of sitting around wondering what cool things I was missing on Facebook. Because let's face it, while it's definitely fun to see what's going on with everybody, I don't need to spend half my time each day scouring Facebook for new details about all my friends.
So, what did I do with all this extra time I had over the weekend? A lot. After taking my parents to the airport on Friday I went to IKEA to get a new bookcase so that I could start reorganizing my room before school starts. In the evening (my first without Facebook) I watched all four hours of North & South, one of my favorite movies and ate gelato that I had brought home from my trip to Frost the night before. It was delightful.
Saturday was cleaning day. I took half my furniture out of my room and then built the new bookcase and brought everything back in. There's something about rearranging furniture that just makes things feel all new and fresh. After a long day of cleaning I watched a couple more movies, enjoyed more gelato, and didn't miss Facebook one bit.
Sunday I picked up Mom and Dad, and didn't get home until later, had to run some errands, and was thinking I could live without Facebook indefinitely. Alas, some people apparently had started to worry, I guess my farewell status gave people the impression that something was more seriously wrong so I felt I should log back on to make sure people knew all was well. (Sidenote: If you don't already know, I was a theatre major, once upon a time, and am definitely prone to melodramatics. What is worrying is when I DON'T say something.) So I enjoyed one more night without Facebook and then on Monday morning logged back on.
In the end, it was only one weekend away, which is nothing that amazing, but it was eye opening and refreshing for me. I'm definitely more conscious of how much I use it and have tried to occupy my time with other things. Like writing syllabi and lesson plans, getting ready for a new semester, cleaning the mess that has buried my desk, and playing on Pinterest (a girl has to have her priorities).
And I now have an awesome new bookcase that makes my room feel just a bit more organized. :) See below for pictures of the build process.
|Cleared out the bed and old shelves to make space for the new bookcase. Luna thinks she's being helpful but she's right in the way of where I need to work. Poor puppy.|
|All the pieces laid out. Let's build this.|
|All finished with stuff loaded on the shelves. SO much better that what used to be there!|