Friday, February 17, 2017

My Year without Facebook

Sitting on my couch at 11:30pm New Years Eve, my husband and I were all snuggled up watching the new documentary, How to Make a Murderer. We were so glued to what was on the TV, we hardly noticed that midnight was approaching. I had flirted with the idea of challenging myself with going a year without Facebook, but hadn't really accepted the idea fully until about 5 minutes to the year.

We pried ourselves away from the documentary long enough to watch the ball drop, where I decided on a whim to just go for it. I made my last Facebook status and set my phone aside, ready to get back into our show.

For a lot of people, leaving Facebook isn't that big of a deal. Either they don't spend a lot of time on there anyway, or they are annoyed with everyone in their feed enough to really welcome the break. I, on the other hand, really love Facebook. I feel like I have the most hilarious and interesting friends so I genuinely enjoy interacting with people on there day to day. I love the updates, the different opinions and the witty memes. I don't find myself falling into the trap of jealousy based on everyone's "highlight reel" as it's so popularly described. So for me, leaving Facebook was a pretty big deal. Here are a few things I learned!

1. Withdrawal was Non Existent

I expected to wake up on January 1st feeling sad or like a piece of me was missing. However, for some strange reason, my brain adapted to the idea of not having Facebook in my life immediately. My head knew it was not an option, so I didn't think about it. It was completely blocked out. That was SHOCKING to me. I honestly thought I would pick up my phone out of habit and click on Facebook, even by accident. It never happened. I run my husbands business page, so there were about five times or so when I posted something for it, but I never scrolled through my feed, never checked my notifications, nothing. The desire was gone, and I did not expect that.

2. I am Not Important on Facebook

You know, I was absent during an election year. Not ONCE did anyone text me, call me or try to contact me in any way to ask me my political opinions. Doesn't the world need to know my stance on any given subject? Doesn't random dude from high school I never talk to in real life need to know how wrong he is by me posting a passive aggressive half truth meme? Nobody needed me, nobody cared. This wasn't surprising, but coming back to Facebook during an inauguration month where everyone didn't already know what I had learned was surprising ;). It's still fun to share ideas and different view points, but I definitely have a more clear perspective about my actual impact with the things I post.

3. I Felt Bad

I knew that what I was doing was worthwhile and positive, but there were a few times where I found myself feeling guilty. I would run into someone at the store and not realize that they'd had a baby, or that they were going through cancer treatments with their son, or that their husband had graduated and they were heading off on a new adventure. On one hand, it made small talk genuine and fresh, rather than bringing up things you already know about someone. On the other hand, I didn't want them to think that I didn't care or didn't notice them. It's a tricky balance when you want to stay social but it has to be on your own terms without the ease of Facebook. I didn't reach out to people as often as I normally would with Facebook, and therefore missed a lot of important events in people's lives that I felt bad about. That is probably the one thing I would try to do better could I go back and do it again. I would put more effort into contacting and seeing people in "the real world" more often.

4. I Missed a lot of Events

In a world where the most effective way of inviting people to an event is through Facebook, people will either invite you that way and forget you're not around to see it, or they'll remember you're not on Facebook but never get around to actually texting you or calling you about it. The phrase, "why weren't you at...." was so familiar, it took about 6 months into the year before people started remembering that I really wouldn't know about an event unless they personally told me about it. My own Grandma had to remember this, too! :)

5. I Accomplished a LOT

Imagine if every time you picked up your phone, you couldn't use Facebook. What would you do next? My house got more organized than ever before, I read a lot and I spent a lot more time with my kids. I completed the Book of Mormon five times and the Doctrine and Covenants once. My personal goal as a house wife/stay at home mom has always been to treat it as I would any other career. I believe in trying to excel in my job in any way I can. I made the goal about 6 years ago to have a clean home, calm kids and dinner 15 minutes away from being on the table when my husband walked in the door from school/work. Boy is that a LOT easier when Facebook isn't a distraction during every spare second I had! I felt like my house was a home, my kids more engaged and I found my strengths and interests again.

Final thought? It was one of the best things I've done for myself. It was 100% worth it, 100% not as hard as I thought it would be and I would 100% recommend it to everyone and anyone. I promise you that if I, the Facebook lover, can do it, you can definitely do it, too!

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