Bye, bye Facebook — the experiment
Oh, but why?!
I can’t remember the first time that I logged into Facebook, but I know that I rarely got off it ever since. It’s easy to judge, isn’t it? But I’ll tell you this: he who is innocent may cast the first stone.
Addicted and in denial
At first I spent a very short amount of times on that site. It was new to me, and it definitely didn’t have some of the cool stuff that it has now, such as seeing all the stuff you shared on your wall at the same date throughout the years. Then it became more popular with games and gifs and emojis…you get what I’m saying. Also, the number of “friends” and friends kept growing, so there were more news to see. I got to be more “involved” in their lives.
I didn’t think I was addicted to it until today. It’s true that I spend most of the day logged on, but it’s mainly because I have a few beloved friends over there, so we chat privately on a regular basis. Excuses, excuses. Right. I know, but it’s the truth.
The green monster
However, today was the day that I realized that something needed to change. I have two girl friends on Facebook who mean the world to me. We know each other very deeply. We tell each other our greatest secrets, fears, we share happiness and tears…the whole package, split into three countries.
We are able to chat for hours and never get bored, only leaving when we really need to go to work/study/go to bed. And then today, after being pretty low on the emotional scale about a particular subject, I wrote the wrong thing and my friend got angry with me. Reason tells me that she got angry because she loves me and cares about me, and she wants me to be happy.
But she struck a cord within me and she is right. The fact is that while I think that I’m being social by being on Facebook, liking others’ news and leaving happy and heart emojis on their photos, what I’m actually doing is comparing myself to others. I’m comparing myself in a way that is detrimental to my psyche.
First of all, I’m watching them progress in their lives. Almost all of them are now married/engaged/parents/pregnant. They weren’t that before — I watched them getting to that point, through their statuses. I watched them get their degree, their job(s) and travels all over the world…meanwhile, I was mostly sitting in front of my computer, and scrolling until I made myself sick. Oh, and let’s not forget, talking to my girlfriends the whole time, enjoying their successes and commiserating when things went south. Then I went to bed and repeated the whole process, feeling more and more miserable. Feeling jealous.
Disclaimer: Yes, I got jealous at people’s happy lives, but that jealousy doesn’t extend to my real friendships. My real friends’ life successes make me genuinely happy.
This all changed today.
“…You’re not doing anything to change your life and get the things you want. You’re so blessed to be happy and alive, and all you’re constantly thinking of are the things you don’t have. Put your focus on you, learn to love yourself and find your own value by being happy about your life as it is now…”
That, in a nutshell, was what my friend wrote when she snapped at me. And even though I’m pissed at her because she’s disregarding my core fears about the particular subject, she still has a point. I’m not benefiting my life by hanging around Facebook and poking my nose into other people’s businesses.
There are so many things that I want to do, to experience in this life, and I’m not doing any of it, because I’m too busy observing someone who, in real, day-to-day life, has no true connection to me whatsoever. I keep finding excuses not to get off my ass and do things that I want to do, for me.
So today, I logged off of Facebook, and immediately realized that I have so much free time on my hands, now that I’m not scrolling down the news feed or repeating the things that are bothering me to my friends, for the millionth time. Instead, I made two lunches, I cleaned up much more than I would have (and that includes dusting off the shelves), and for the first time in a long time, I sat down and started tying all my loose ends:
- I started translating a document that was supposed to be translated weeks ago, but thankfully has a long deadline.
- I started outlining a commissioned short speech.
- I exercised on the elliptical with much more ease, knowing that I don’t have to rush to see if my friends replied to my message yet.
- I devoted at least 3 hours today to finding a job, and decided to stretch my wings even further by applying abroad, but still close to home.
- I had the time to talk to my dad about my plans, in a constructive way, which wouldn’t have happened if I were still logged in.
It’s not easy to start a new habit, when you’re so used to doing the same thing over and over again. It becomes as easy as breathing. Today, as I was in the middle of a job hunt, my fingers instinctively wanted to open a new tab and type in FB address, but I reminded myself that by going back I wouldn’t be doing myself a favor.
I realized that every time I got bored, I went back to see what’s new. And with each new update from my contacts, the more miserable I felt. Miserable because my life isn’t as great as someone else’s, even though my friend kept telling me: “for the love of god, stop comparing yourself to other people!!”
And she’s right. I need to start living my own life. I need to draw the maximum out of it, and even though there are experiences which can’t come true for me, I will do my best to make the most of it. For me, not for anyone else.
I still don’t know how I’m going to do it, because I’m not used to thinking in this way — that there are so many things I can accomplish for myself, and truly enjoy life with its ups and downs, having no regrets. But I need to do it, for my on physical and emotional health. I need to take control of my life, in every area that I can.
I know there are people who can do that even if they’re 24/7 connected to Facebook, but not me. It’s too addictive and too dangerous, and I don’t want to be just an observer of other’s happiness. I need to make my own, and sitting in front of the news feed, pretending that that’s the maximum I’ll ever achieve, isn’t helpful.
Life is way too short to be spent putting heart and thumb emojis on the walls of people you barely know the first thing about. I need to trust that those who love my company will stay in touch with me by phone or Skype. And if they don’t…well…that’s life, too and I’ll make peace with it. I’ll be fine either way. I’ll make it ok.