I did it. I actually did it. I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing it but here I am, an anomaly, a 30 year old American woman, without a Facebook account. When I decided I’d deactivate my account, I gave myself an exit strategy. I’d allow myself two months to prepare mentally and emotionally for my existence without this potent drug. Turns out I didn’t need that. A few nights ago I just… up and had enough. I said my goodbye and deactivated the next morning. I’ve never been one for torture. Just rip off the bandaid quickly, no reason to suffer through each hair being ripped from it’s root slowly. Immediately after I made the final decision to disconnect from the ‘Book’ I started to to feel pangs of regret. My breath became shallow, my heart rate quickened and my palms started to sweat. No joke. I felt like a junkie flushing her stash. I couldn’t believe my body was actually showing visceral signs of withdrawal. Obviously cutting Facebook out of my life was the right decision. The resulting tremors further confirmed my choice.
Since I’ve said goodbye I must admit I’ve gone back to try and check it a few times a day, like rolling over in bed to cuddle your ex lover only to feel a cold empty space beside you. It will take some time to stop reaching for them but that time will inevitably come and with that space you’ll grow stronger then ever before. Until then I’ve been filling those empty spaces with reading, exercise and Instagram. 😉 Hey, a girl needs a little social media outlet from time to time. Overall, I’m feeling so much more productive… and lighter… and happier in general. It’s been lovely. Severing the shackles of Facebook’s grasp was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in a long time. Who knew such a small act could make such a large impact in my life? I thought it might be cool to share what I did in preparation of my new Facebook free life. Here they are in no particular order of importance,
Write down important friends birthdays in your calendar.
Facebook’s birthday feature is awesome. It was my favorite part really. Aside from a handful of really close friends, I have a hard time remembering birthdays. Facebook took care of that for me. Now I’m making sure my calendar picks up where Facebook left off. Plus it’s infinitely more personal to get a card, a call or even a text wishing someone a Happy Birthday rather than a generic Facebook post.
Shout out to all your people that you’ll be disconnecting and offer an alternative way to keep in touch.
I gave everyone my Instagram handle and my email address. That way I’m not falling off the face of the earth just the face of the book. 😉
Download any pictures you’d like to access onto your computer.
This was a long, arduous process. Downloading these pics also takes up quite a bit of space on your hard drive but it’s necessary if for whatever reason you have no other copies of your Facebook photos.
Get your creepy stalker fix.
I stalked the crap out of a few people. Who is of no consequence. I had to get it out of my system. Don’t judge me.
There is life after Facebook. I’m proof. Since the ‘break up’ I’ve had a few phone conversations with friends. We chatted for over an hour. I felt like a teenager again. I thought I may have forgotten how to use the call function on my phone but if turns out my fingers work just as well to press number buttons as they do to text and write status updates. Go figure.
Facebook feels like an abusive relationship that I haven’t been able to let go of. I’ve made excuses for our tumultuous relationship for too long. What used to be a fun, relaxed way to keep up with friends and share photos with loved ones, has become a crusty, mind numbing addiction that skews my perception of reality and the connections I have with real people. I realize just how dramatic that sounded but I suppose my relationship with Facebook of late has been just that, drama, and I’m overdue to end it. You may ask why I haven’t already. Well, terminating your Facebook account is not as easy as just making a decision and clicking a button. There are a few things standing in the way of that. The main issue for me is that like many, I use Facebook as a photo album. As a member for the past 10 years, I have uploaded nearly all of my photos to Facebook. In that time I have changed boyfriends and computers. Most of the originals of these photos have gotten lost in the transitions. So the only access I have to certain precious memories is through Facebook. I have begun the painstaking process of downloading each and every photo from Facebook onto my computer. At this rate it will likely take me another month or two. I’m getting there.
Why my disdain for this seemingly harmless way to communicate with friends? First off, Facebook serves as another way for me to numb my mind when I’m having trouble being alone with my own thoughts. I use it this way far too often. It happens to me before I even know what hit me. I’ll open Facebook and my thumb will go to town. Scroll, scroll, scroll, refresh, repeat. It becomes a tick that I have to force myself to quit. Second, Facebook allows you to censor yourself in a way that I feel is false and unhealthy. One is always portraying only the very best of themselves. The best pictures, the best moods, the most wonderful news and so on. I see this as being a detriment to the way I interact in the real world. As I use Facebook on a daily basis, I move farther away from being comfortable showing the not so pretty sides of myself. I have a harder time connecting on the fly without the tools to edit myself before I share. Before Facebook, smart phones and insanely fast computers, I was infinitely more social and comfortable in my own skin. Over the past ten years I’ve watched myself becoming more and more introverted and less able to open myself up to strangers with out a computer screen as a buffer. Although I understand that many different factors have played a part in this, all stemming from choices I have made, I know that Facebook definitely hasn’t helped. Don’t even get me started on the whole ‘liking’ function. I feel that liking has started to replace and mimic true heart connections for some. Facebook creates a cyber world where we can have 1,500 ‘friends’. People who we haven’t seen or talked to in years ‘like’ our photos and we feel a connection to them. Yet when it comes down to it, how many of those 1500 people would actually be there for you if you needed them? Do those people actually care about your day? Who would actually look at you in real life and open their hearts to you? Not many. That’s the truth. I’m just tired of playing the Facebook game. I’m tired of accepting a ‘like’ as a substitute for a smile or a hug. If you are one of the lucky few who has maintained a healthy relationship with this platform, I commend you. I just hope that you still go outside and look people in the eyes from time to time.