5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned After Disappearing From Facebook For 2 Weeks
Day 12/365: Facebook is like smoking, you CAN go without it
Full Disclosure: I am not a heavy Facebook user, but it still is a big distraction for me. I‘ve disabled the notifications on my phone and desktop and I really try to log on only when I absolutely need to. I use the Messenger App to keep in touch with friends, which sometimes ends up in Liking some of their posts, but that’ about it.
On January 1st, 2018, something that I’ve never thought possible happened in my family. My mom, who smoked a pack of smokes daily for over 25 years, quit smoking on New Years Day. It shocked us all, family, friends, colleagues from her workplace, everyone just couldn’t believe that she didn’t have a single smoke that day.
But then, another day passed.
And then another one.
And then, you guessed right, another 5 days passed.
“The secret to permanently breaking any habit is to love something greater than that habit” — Bryant McGill
My mom is now 12 days clean. She quit smoking not by reading books, not by doing nicotine patches and not by going to a specialist of any sort. She quit because she just wanted to and was determined to do it. This is the perfect metaphor for quitting Facebook as I see a lot of similarities between the two. I’ll get back to that at the end of this post.
No Facebook for 14 days, my story
A while ago, be it about a month and a half, I decided to quit Facebook for 2 weeks. I did it because I was having a lot on my plate, school, a lot of freelance projects that I needed to deliver and other personal stuff to take care off. I used the Messenger App, which is still usable without the Facebook profile, so deactivating my account still allowed me to talk to my friends. During those 2 weeks, I’ve learned a ton about life and everything else.
1. Life happens outside of Facebook
Spend time with your real friends, in the real life
Life is what happens when you log out of Facebook or any other social media platform. I learned that the meaning of a healthy life is not having 1.000 friends on Facebook, but having 3 friends in the real life and spending time with them. It means a lot to me that I went through this because it taught me who are my real life friends and who are just Facebook profiles in the sea of “social friends”.
2. 99% of your friends will never know you quit
Nobody even cares, so don’t beat yourself up about anything
It took 4 days of quitting Facebook to have two Facebook friends notice that I was missing. Besides my two best friends in real life and my cousin, absolutely nobody noticed or cared that I disappeared from Facebook. This is a life lesson because this happens in real life too.
Think about it. We care so much about what other people think about us when in reality 99.9% of the people will never even think about us, what we do or what happens to us. I’ll elaborate on this very important life lesson in a future, separate article.
3. I panicked because of all the extra time
I quit Facebook… and now I’m a Psychology student
Although I’m not a heavy Facebook fanatic, I still spent hours at the time on the platform. You just scroll and scroll and scroll and then Like and Share something and then scroll some more.
I really panicked when I realised I have full hours of free time every single day, which were unaccounted for. What to do with all this time, when the urge to scroll is so high, it made me cringe?
After I overcame the “panic attacks”, I realised a better way of using that extra time was to invest it in learning something new. And now I’m a Psychology student, just because I decided to quit Facebook for a while. Tell me that’s not cool!
4. Doing stuff felt better without posting about it
Limit your online life to gain more real life
Life feels a lot more normal and natural when you get rid of the urge to post everything that you do online. Facebook is a social network, that is its purpose, but when that comes in the way of you living your life freely and without having the impulse to post everything online, then you have a real, psychological problem. Or mishap, let’s call it that.
Limiting your online life to a minimum will give you much more time to live a real, outside-of-your-comfort-zone and joyful life. Which is scary at first, but bliss in the end.
5. Facebook is a drug
When you quit Facebook, you LITERALLY feel it!
The first thing you notice after you quit Facebook is the absence of it as if it were a drug. When you quit smoking or anything that creates an addiction, you feel it in your mood, biological and psychological well-being and in your relationships with others.
I felt tingly all the time, my heart rate was always up in anticipation of some notifications that never ringed, my head was racing all the time about what the people on Facebook might be up to and my general mood was terrible. After a week though, I was back to normal and well, but boy oh boy, those first 3 or 4 days were literally hell for me and my mind and body.
Smoking is not essential for the brain, nor is it for the body. Food and water are essential and have been since the dawn of time. This is why when you go on a diet, your brain warns you that they are missing, although they are not entirely missing and puts you in survival mode, which makes you hungry and then you eat and you fail the diet and cry in the bathroom.
Smoking is not an essential part of survival, which means your brain is not recognising smokes as a crucial part of your daily diet. Facebook is not an essential part of your survival, which means you can go weeks, months, even forever without it, if you really wanted to.
Facebook and me: after The Disappearance
After the 2 weeks of having no Facebook profile, I am now in a healthier relationship with the platform. I only go online two or three times a day for some minutes, I never post more than once every other two days and when I do, it’s usually a picture from Instagram or a music video.
I learned that Facebook is just another website, a place where you go to scroll and have literally nothing to learn from other than spending quality time of your daily life with no gains. Instead, you could be spending this time doing something meaningful, something that you really love and need to do in order to feel good and something that will be helpful to you in the long run.
I’ll just go ahead and publish this and then share it on Facebook. Let’s see how that title works with the all-mighty algorithm…
Thank you for your time!
My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, full-time freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 44 claps!
I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!