In my first thirty-three days without using Facebook, I’ve:
2. Registered for my honours year of university
3. Read The Big Tiny by Dee Williams and realized that I actually can build my very own tiny house if I want to
4. Recorded myriad happenings and musings in my journal
5. Opened a private Flickr account so that I can share my photos with a select group of people
6. Walked my dogs every evening around my new neighbourhood that I love so much
7. Worked shifts at all three of my work places
8. Bought and played my new favourite game, Mancala
9. Watched Mr. Wonderful work away at solving his Rubik’s Cube
11. Spent time reading outside on blankets
12. Spent time reading on my front porch that I love so much
14. Packed away my Nintendo Wii and my Apple TV to give away and watched our television go out the front door and into its new owner’s car to go to its forever-home (more to come on this situation)
16. Took apart and washed all the storm windows in the house (which includes four panes of glass per window, plus one steel frame and endless squeezing of those squeezy things that you have to press in order to slide the windows up and down) so we could see the birds and squirrels in the new feeder when the morning sun is beaming into the sunroom, without our view being washed out by dirty glass
17. Gone yardsaling
18. Learned to play tennis on our neighbourhood court
19. Had a lunch date with Gramma
20. Reorganized my bedroom
And here is the kicker: I did all of these things without posting pictures or writing status updates about them on Facebook, and my life hasn’t lost any value. In fact, keeping these activities to myself and/or between me and the other parties directly involved has seemed to add some degree of authenticity to my experience. At no point during any of these thirty-three days did I think to myself, “I better get a good picture of this for Facebook.” This allowed my mind and energy to remain focused on the experience of the moment—the sun glistening on the water, the slow movement of the sun as it dips down below the horizon like a memory—instead of the ‘likes’ and comments I might get for posting about it later on. As intense as it may sound to some people (especially those who are able to approach Facebook with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude), being so present in my day-to-day life experiences has been beautiful.
Another thing I realized during a dog-walk-chat with Mr. Wonderful yesterday evening is that I feel no more or less connected to any of the Facebook friends I was concerned about losing touch with since I signed off, and more connected to the people I intentionally connect with via phone, text messages and email. (From writing this post, I also see that more of my time has been spent in quality ways with Mr. Wonderful). My ‘connection’ with a lot of those people consisted of ‘liking’ and commenting on photos and status updates from time to time. Now, after thirty-three days without that connection, I feel no farther away from those people. I’ve learned that ‘liking’ and commenting on photos and status updates wasn’t actually keeping me connected to anyone (or anything) other than my computer and a constant need to check for ‘likes’ and comments in response. Spending far less time on my computer has been another change that’s taken place, as I often open it out of habit only to realize that I don’t really have anything to do online short of Googling something or reading up on my blogs and news sources.
Instead, I’ve got a lineup of books to read before my classes start in September, big ideas for exciting lifestyle changes on the horizon (will I embrace minimalism!?), another cottage week away, waters to swim in, dogs to walk, a partner to share it all with, and a self to care for.
So…so far, so good, and not looking back. More to come on day sixty-six!
(I should add that a lot of this stuff has happened since we turned off our tv for the last time, which I’ll write about later. I can only imagine how much more time I’d have spent on Facebook without the tv.)