In February I went off Facebook “for Lent”. Now, to be honest, the whole “for Lent” thing is 97% bull because, a.) I don’t practice my faith that fundamentally and b.) at a core level I believe that seeking a closer relationship with God and ourselves happens constantly, not just during the season of penitence. Giving up puppy posts (ok, those are actually cute), annoying political rants, click bait, and vague statuses from attention-hungry people with little to no self-esteem is not my idea of an exercise that will truly bring me closer to God or self-understanding.
I did it for a few different reasons. First, I wanted to reallocate my energy and attention on identifying and investing in the key relationships in my life and, second, I wanted to work on living with greater intention. Meaning, I wanted to start doing things for a reason, not just to fill time, to make others happy, because I should, or out of obligation.
The past six weeks have been all about growth. I’ve learned to say no to things I don’t enjoy, I’ve concentrated on school, I’ve spent time with friends here and connected more with ones in the US. I’ve travelled to some awesome places with my partner, have started working out, and have let go of some ideas and habits that have been sucking positive energy from me for years.
Since Easter was the day I said I’d be back, I logged on to FB to troll and get up to speed on the past two months. I can see I’ve missed a lot. But really, I haven’t missed it at all. Most people weren’t ever sharing things with me, specifically, to begin with; they were sharing them passively, with anyone who would look, searching for approval, justification, encouragement, kind words, and validation…myself included. As a result of social media, the way people communicate has changed, and many of us are oblivious to the loss of true human connection and interaction in our lives, which is a byproduct of that.
I could vehemently write how Facebook is ruining the art of conversation and degrading the essence of friendship, but I’m fairly sure that everyone is up to date on the pro/con arguments (or just doesn’t care) and I don’t feel the need to recreate the wheel. I also don’t plan to deactivate my profile (though I'm not reinstalling the app on my phone or logging on every day) and judge those who don’t because, as an expat, I have found Facebook to be one of the most helpful platforms in terms of getting connected to resources, something incredibly important when settling into a new country. Also, I’m pretty sure I’d lose touch with a lot of family and friends who are now spread all over the globe, and I am SO not ready for that.
I’m am glad, however, I took the time to disconnect, and I encourage anyone thinking about it to just go ahead and take the plunge. It’s amazing what you can see when you’re looking forward instead of down at your phone. :-)