How many times have you approached the end of the day and realized that you have no idea where your time went? As bed time approaches, I relish those last few minutes with my little boy after his bath but then I wonder, where has the time gone?
Then I realize, as I grab my phone to scan over Facebook, that my time has gone elsewhere. To somewhere it doesn’t need to go. It has gone to Facebook, and I am ashamed.
Facebook can be great! I have family and friends spread out all over the state and country. It is great to keep up with them and see pictures of my cousins and their families, my friends who live far away and to share pictures of Andrew with them and share good news. It is great for spreading the word about things we love and to get vital information when needed. But, at the same time, it becomes a thief of time and joy.
Waste of Time and Happiness
Confession: I was letting what others posted on Facebook get to me.
Whether it was the whole Duck Dynasty debacle or when I noticed that I was left out of a group gathering I was once a part of, I let Facebook dictate my emotions. Often, I would see things that people were buying or doing that I didn’t need or really want, but I felt like I HAD to follow suit. I was forgetting that, when it comes to Facebook, most people only share their positives, not the negatives (although, there is plenty of negative energy on there too!) I was letting my feelings get hurt, and I was letting Facebook steal my joy and time.
Studies have proven time and time again that Facebook can make people withdrawn, sad, and less satisfied with life. Even more scary, it can make people depressed. While I haven’t gotten depressed with anything that has happened on Facebook (more like annoyed, angry, and despondent), I will confess that sometimes, Facebook makes me feel less than stellar. I liken it to an addiction to cigarettes or alcohol – you know it makes you feel terrible, but you go on anyway, unable to stop. For some reason, I was addicted to people’s obnoxious political opinions (ok, not really) or hearing where Sally & Jack went for dinner. I kept logging in to see pictures of my friends’ kids, who I don’t see often enough, but then, within the news feed, I was getting wrapped up on everyone’s political commentary or reading about who was doing what when I wasn’t. I was starting to suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Except, the only thing I was missing out on was valuable time with the two most important people in my life.
It was one night after I put Andrew to bed, and I grabbed my phone when Scott said, “Please don’t get on Facebook” that I realized I really needed to step away. Instead of getting wrapped up in everyone else’s happenings in my news feed, I needed to get wrapped up in the guy sitting next to me!
I did it. I pledged to take a “Facebook Fast.” Without any announcement or fanfare, I just upped and deleted the app off my phone. I also made a point to not get on it via my computer or iPad. What happened was pretty darn liberating!
Let’s start off with the benefit of TIME. As soon as I deleted Facebook off my phone, I had more time. When Scott & I headed out to run an errand, instead of checking Facebook while he drove, I actually sang to Andrew and read a magazine, something I actually LOVE, but never got to do because I “didn’t have enough time.” Let’s also reflect on the pile of clean laundry that sit in a basket next to my bed for a week, waiting to be ironed. Every Sunday night, I would have a giant pile of laundry that I needed to put away, but I would always hold off on it because I was “too tired” or “didn’t have time” to iron them. Translation: my eyes were tired from looking at the small screen, and I was wrapped up. So instead, they would wind up in my dryer with a damp towel while I got ready for work in hopes of breaking those wrinkles. For the last three Sundays in a row, I’ve gotten my ironing and laundry done and put away before bedtime.
Another benefit is that I am HAPPIER. Not only because I am spending more time doing things I TRULY enjoy (like reading, crafting, cooking, taking pictures and spending time outdoors), but also because I am oblivious as to what is going on with the people around me. I have no idea if person A and her family are sick (which would then cause me anxiety because I would be paranoid about catching whatever sickness is going around). I have no clue if person X and person Y are throwing a party. I am not reading about someone else’s political dissertation on how they feel about Phil Robertson or President Obama. All of these things did nothing but BRING ME DOWN.
The best part is the time I am spending with my family. In the evenings, instead of surfing online, I color with Andrew, play monster trucks and dance with him. We’ve cuddled and watched Up many times. He has been having conversations with me that are both hysterical and really sweet at the same time. He has been better behaved too, and I find that as no coincidence, but rather, a direct effect of me not letting the phone in my hand dictate our evening. Time with my husband has been significantly more productive, too. Instead of us both being frustrated with one another, we have been working as a team. Dinners are coming together more easily, our house is staying tidy(er). When it’s time for us to catch up on a tv show together, it is more like a date night than the two of us sitting next to each other glued to our iPads or phones, and we are having real, honest conversations about things we love or a new show, rather than who did what and shared it on their Facebook.
Now, there was also a downside to being off Facebook. My best friend went to Ireland over the holidays and got stranded because her flight home was cancelled. She was updating everyone via Facebook because her phone coverage was spotty. Well, guess what? I felt helpless and clueless as to if she & her husband would be getting back safely. Fortunately, they did, and I texted her to find out and got a prompt reply. But my goodness, was I ever worried. BUT it also reminded me that I can get in touch with her by simply calling her on the phone or dropping her a quick line via text or email.
What this fast has TRULY reminded me of is that actual PERSON TO PERSON conversations and relationships are far more important than maintaining a presence on Facebook.
And that is what I plan to do. My “Facebook Fast” is over, but I have yet to add the app back to my phone. In fact, I am pretty sure I am just going to leave it off.