So it has been a week since I started my Facebook “holiday.”
I kind of feel like how I imagine smokers might, after they quit: both relieved, and also itching to go back to the old habit. And, amazed that the time has passed. A whole week!
Another way to put it is that it feels like I’ve left my house for a whole week, and have no-one staying there in my place to check up on. I keep wondering what’s happening there. Has the driveway piled up with snow? Is the mailbox crammed full of flyers?
Overall, though I’m really glad I am taking a break from Facebook. Here are a few things to note, that I’ve jotted down throughout the week, as I think of them:
- I definitely thought, many times, “Oh, maybe I’ll just sign in and see what’s going on. What’s the harm? Then I can go back to my holiday.” But I stop myself. I want to be “impeccable with my word,” and I said three weeks.
- I’ve had two dreams about Facebook. In the first one, I was checking Facebook. In the dream, I had no notifications showing, but when I scrolled down through the list there were all kinds of things that had happened. I had missed out on so much! Another night I dreamed that someone had spammed my “Dream Big Cape Breton” Facebook group, by writing something that sounded like it came from me, but was really inappropriate. When I signed in (in the dream), everyone was writing to me as if I had written it.
- A few times I would be thinking of looking up a business or a person on Facebook, to get in touch or ask a question, and then I’d remember that I couldn’t. I had to think of an alternative, which really wasn’t that hard. It just took a little bit of effort to remember that there are alternatives to Facebook. (The phone book, or Googling them to find their webpage, for example.)
- And a few times I would think of a person, an acquaintance, wondering how they were doing. I would think, “I could look them up on Facebook, and see what’s new with them.” (Look at their photos, scan through their wall posts.) But it was nice to just think of them, and then think, “Whenever life randomly puts them in my space again, it will be nice to see them,” and let it go.
- Overall I feel cleansed. Not stress-free, because hey, it’s life, and there will always be stress. But I feel like a huge obstacle that was in the way of doing work or relaxing has been removed. I put obstacles in my own way, for sure, and I’ve been turning to Instagram or Pinterest in the same way I was turning to Facebook before: for procrastination, for distraction, for little hits of dopamine in the brain. But I run out of things to look at on those sites, quicker, and without Facebook to turn to when I do get bored, or want a distraction, I remember more quickly that I’m supposed to be working, or relaxing. Not plugged in.
- Getting more in touch with myself feels really good. I have the time and mental space and energy now to stare off into space for a minute. To focus on my breath. To entertain myself with silly sayings that I might before have been tempted to type into Facebook as status updates, and then waited and checked and re-checked to see how many “Likes” I got. I think the thoughts, now, and then let go and move on.
- I’m undecided about if I’ll go back on it after the retreat is over. To be honest, I’m really tempted not to. I know it helps promote my blog and my work, and that’s something I don’t want to give up. (Free promotion: you’d be silly not to use it, right?) But, along with that free service comes all the other stuff: the addiction, the clutter, the artificial sense of community. And I don’t know yet if I’m the sort of person who can limit herself to only checking it a few times a day. It seems so far that it’s cold turkey or nothing.
This is from Good Morning Glitterbomb, a free daily dose of awesome in my email every day.