Disclaimer: this is simply my reasoning for giving up Facebook for the foreseeable future. I’m not saying any of this to make you feel like you should quit Facebook too.
I thought I’d give a bit of an explanation to those who might be interested on why I deactivated my Facebook account 3 months ago (since a few people have asked).
Giving up Facebook was a decision that did not come to me easily. And I should probably say right from the get go that I’m not necessarily quitting forever. I really like Facebook. I like scrolling down the news feed and seeing what people have been up to, checking out their photos and reading some of the interesting articles they’ve linked to. I really miss that feeling of connectedness — showing someone that I’m interested in their life, even if it’s just with a simple ‘like’. I really miss the fact that I now don’t know when someone’s had a new baby, or got a new job, boyfriend, or girlfriend; I can’t see people’s wedding photos or their cute videos; I don’t know what people are thinking through the articles they’re posting. I’ve had withdrawal symptoms, where I’d sneak onto Ben’s Facebook account, until I asked him to change his password so I can’t do that anymore! I had become somewhat addicted… Going cold turkey on Facebook was harder for me than I thought it would be!
For months, I had a growing sense of unease with how much time I was spending on Facebook. It’s not like I was spending hours a day (or even an hour!), but since starting homeschooling, my time has become incredibly limited. I have precious few hours left in a day that aren’t taken up with homeschooling, or with preparing, eating and cleaning up meals, or just trying to keep this place looking half sane. And then I’d waste it by zoning out on Facebook?
I think part of the temptation for me to zone out on Facebook is that I’ve been so tired for months and I seem to just not have the self-control to handle it at this point in my life. It’s so much more beneficial to me to take a 20 minute nap than to zone out on Facebook for 20 minutes!
Tying into being tired: I was also concerned with the kind of browsing I was doing. Nothing about it was deliberate. It was the kind of aimless scrolling and browsing you do where you retain maybe 10% of what you read. I might be reading interesting articles, but in reality I was actually just skimming them. I was escaping reality and zoning out. Doing that in front of a T.V. makes you look like a slob; zoning out in front of a computer makes you look important. You can say something like “Mamma is busy on the computer right now” and it sounds like I’m doing something worthwhile.
Facebook’s nature makes it very easy to spend 2 minutes or 2 hours on there. With the result that I could quickly check it for 2 minutes on my way to the bathroom, get distracted and actually spend 10 minutes instead. And this might be right during a school day. If a friend knocked on my door uninvited at 10am and said, “I’ve come to show you my holiday photos!”, I’d invite them in, but politely explain to them that I’m in the middle of schooling my kids and that her photos would have to wait. Then why on earth do I think it’s legitimate to do that on Facebook? Somehow, somewhere along the track I lost the sense of how absurd my Facebook usage was.
All this has gotten me thinking more about how I want to live deliberately. I don’t want to be zoning out and wasting hours of my life that I will never get back. I want to think carefully about what is worth spending time on or for. I want to be present in body and mind for my children. I want to remember that spending time on people is more important than spending time on things. I want to consciously be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to things that will enrich the lives of my family. Interestingly, that means cutting out more and adding in less. For me, that meant cutting out Facebook for now, so that I could be more present. I’m making some other changes too, and need to make many more. But it’s a start.