Quitting something I enjoy is always difficult for me to do. Facebook was extremely fun for me. I loved getting to see old friends and re-connect with them. However, over the last year or so it's become more of a stress in my life than a joy. More of a time-suck of virtual reality.... for me. But the fact remains that I did love it.
I really think that Facebook can be a good tool but it can also be a detriment to your life. For some personality types such as mine, it can be very hard to separate reality from fiction. Were all these people on my page really my friends? Did I regularly talk to them on the phone? Did we email with each other? Would I get together with them at a coffee shop? More importantly, would they get together with me? These are questions that I really don't have complete answers for. I would love to believe that everybody is my friend as most people in the world would. But that's just not reality. Having said all that, I still enjoyed seeing what everybody was up to.
Passive learning isn't the same as active learning. Watching a television screen about fishing isn't the same as getting into the boat, propelling onto the water and actually catching a live, floppy, wet fish. Slowly over time I began to wonder if looking at photographs, commenting on statuses, liking comments, and adding new friends to my list was the same as having an actual friend in the world. I continued to justify having a Facebook page because how would I keep up with everybody without it? But the truth is people seemed to keep in touch years before Facebook was invented. I personally still love sending out Christmas cards. This is the first year that I can remember that I only got a handful of cards. I have to be honest, I was disappointed. But I understand that the cost of postage has definitely gone up so that could be the reason. But Facebook could also be the reason that people don't feel the need to send Christmas cards because they send out their holiday well wishes out on Facebook. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Except that there are quite a few people in my life that aren't on Facebook who get excluded quite a bit. I now feel badly about that. I felt like they needed to get on Facebook in order to connect with me. In my head I even thought, "Well if they cared about me they would get on Facebook!" How ridiculous is that? I recently moved to another state. Want to know something? The memories that I hold dear are my real experiences. Experiences like visiting my grandparents on their farm and taking the kids around to look at their horses. -Just sitting on my grandparents porch talking to them and watching the kids play. -Enjoying the beautiful weather and the gentle breezes coming off their fields. Those are the things that I remember. Those are the things that I treasure. Oddly enough, I never think, "Wow, I really miss that one time on Facebook when… " That never entered my mind after I moved. Looking at photographs of a beautiful farm isn't the same thing as visiting the actual farm and talking to the actual owners.
The longer I had Facebook, the more stressed it made me. I have a crop of kids and they are supposed to be the ones keeping me busy. Not constantly wondering if somebody liked my latest picture of my cute kid or thinking about adding a witty status update to impress everybody. There were articles that people posted that upset me. There were comments that people posted that hurt me. But these people are safe behind their computer screens... Can't see my expression... Can't see my tears. They are free to be callous, hardened, and unfeeling hiding under the guise of it's just my opinion, and it's a free country. The lack of respect on Facebook is daunting. Maybe most people are able to ignore it. But I am no longer able to. One day it hit me, why am I putting myself through this stress? I have a stomachache and it won't go away because of something somebody said on Facebook! I am doing this to myself on purpose! I don't have to have a Facebook account. There's no law that says I have to have one. And in that moment I decided, I'm done. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I want to be free from this prison. I want to live in reality again. I want to think about my life and what is happening currently. Not what is happening in a virtual community filled with people that I care about, but people, that if they cared about me, would make an effort to talk to me regardless of my having a Facebook account. And if they don't? Life goes on. Not pretend life on the screen. But real life, here and now, on this planet, living and breathing beautiful wonderful air.
This post isn't meant to be a judgment against people that still have Facebook. I was once there. I once couldn't let go. But now I have. Now I am free. I don't have to post my status updates anymore. I don't have to make sure that I take a photograph of what's happening so that I can let everyone know what's going on with me whether they would care about it or not. Now if I take a photograph I have a reason. I have an intended recipient. And honestly it's most likely my mom or my dad or somebody that really truly knows and cares for my kids because they invest time in their lives. Do I miss Facebook? Not really. Do I recommend everybody delete Facebook? That depends on you. That depends on your personality. If you're somebody that can live your life without thinking about Facebook 24/7 then Facebook is probably okay for you. But if you're somebody that thinks about it all the time, wants to check your Facebook constantly every waking moment then I suggest you delete your account. But whatever you decide, do what's best for you, not what's best for your 741 followers and 841 friends. Do what's best for your family and you'll never go wrong.
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