Tuesday, April 22, 2014

40 days and 40 nights....

(without facebook)

This year for lent, Mike and I decided to choose each others sacrifices.  In previous years, we had given up things that didn't really affect our lives - which obviously defeats the purpose.  (for example, while I was pregnant I said I was giving up alcohol...smart girl, right?)  I decided Mike needed to give up coffee.  He drinks waaaayyyy too much of it.  It started out as a cup a day a few years ago and quickly grew to 5-6 cups.  No one needs 5-6 cups of anything in a day other than water.  On top of that, I despise coffee.  40 days and 40 nights of a coffee-breath free husband sounds good to me.  Mike decided I needed to give up Facebook.  Thankfully he didn't say social media.  I was still able to use Instagram and Twitter, but being home with my boys most days, Facebook was a huge outlet for me.  Mike, on the other hand, felt that I spent way too much time on my phone, and way too much time worrying about other peoples lives.  Turns out, he was right.

I've been on Facebook since the day Millersville University was granted access back in  2006 (my 10 year timeline #Facebookis10 reminded me of that).  Back then it was just for college kids.  We wrote the most random things on our friends walls and poked people ALL the time!  We didn't really write status updates, that's what instant messenger was for.  From what I remember, you couldn't post pictures, there was no "like" button and the web address was THEfacebook.com   It was a great way for me to stay in touch with all my friends who were in college at other schools.  Mike never joined Facebook.  He thought it was stupid.  If you've never had it, you'll never get it, period.

Over the years Facebook drastically changed.  That's exactly what Mark Zuckerberg wanted.  But Facebook is actually bigger than your profile online.  It changed the world and the way we think.  After backing away for over a month it became clear to me, Facebook created a "selfie" world.  Just read down your newsfeed and really think about what people are writing.  Most of the time, your "friends" are posting things about themselves, anxiously waiting to see how many "likes" they can get.  And yes, I am guilty of this.

On top of seeking attention, I think Facebook has made us an even more (if that was possible) judgmental society.  We all see pictures, or posts that we disagree with and it angers us.  It becomes a topic of conversation - about what was seen or said on Facebook.  For example, the other weekend my girlfriends and I were all together to celebrate a 30th birthday.  The topic of conversation quickly went to Facebook.  A girl we went to high school with was posting pictures of herself breastfeeding her baby.  You could totally see her entire boob in several pics.  Now, I am ALL for breastfeeding, in fact, I pumped for my twin boys for an entire year, but WHY anyone would feel the need to post that for all to see is totally beyond me.  But when I look back at the conversation, WHY were were wasting so much time talking about it?

Because Facebook is dominating our lives.

The hardest part about my sacrifice was the actual act of deactivating my account.  The finality of it.  I knew I would be back, but I knew I was going to be out of the loop with so many things for over a month.  The first few days, I can't tell you how many times I, unconsciously, grabbed my phone only to realize there was no Facebook.  I started turning to twitter, linkedin and instagram.  What was I going to do without people "liking" my pictures?  How will I get by without showing my boys off to the world and getting reassurance that they are indeed the cutest kids in the world?  No one will know all the amazing things I do with my friends!  How will I handle not knowing who got engaged, divorced, had a baby, announced a pregnancy, got a new job, posted something so absurd, that I will talk about it for hours with my friends!!!

That's when it hit me. What is WRONG with me!?  It's not Facebook.  It's ME.

Once I realized that, I felt liberated!  It felt good that no one knew what was going on with my life.  My REAL friends will tell me the highlights of their life and I will share mine with them.  I don't need to read it on social media.  I was slowly (very slowly...lol) starting to pull away from the attention seeking, "look at me!" trait that goes hand-in-hand with Facebook.  I started brainstorming all the things written on Facebook that annoy the crap out of me - and when I think back, I was actually DOING some of them!!!  AHHHHHH!!!!

The one thing that *almost EVERYONE is guilty of, is writing posts to show off  how great your life  is.  "Look at me!"  "Look at my fabulous job and all the cool things I get to do!"  "Look at all the vacations I've gone on!"  "Look at me in a bathing suit!"  "Look at my kids!"  "Look at my new designer purse!"  "Look at the flowers my husband got me!" "Look at how much weight I've lost!" and the list goes on and on and on and on and on.  The thing is, we ALL know, nobody's life is perfect.  I remember reading this one Someecard (one thing I do actually miss about Facebook) that said "I hope one day your life is as fabulous as it looks on Facebook."  And it's so true.  Sadly, it never will be.

Others turn to Facebook when tragedy strikes.  "Please pray for my family."  "Please pray for my dog."  "My cousin is in the hospital and needs prayers."  I have seen never ending lists of reasons to pray for SO many people.  But when you break it down, its just another way to get attention, receiving pity from others.  Half the time, I don't understand why people are putting such personal experiences out into the world.  What ever happened to having private conversations with your own God?  I think people are spending more time asking for prayers, then getting down on their knees and doing it themselves.

My LEAST favorite?  Politics.  UGH!  I absolutely HATE when people get into politics on Facebook.  Hey guess what?  You're not going to change my mind and I'm not going to change yours.  DROP IT.  But so many people feel the need to battle it out in ALL CAPS to prove a point, but all you proved to me is, you're an idiot.

Seriously, how many selfies do you need to post?  We get it, you think you look hot with your head at an angle and your lips looking more like a duck than a kissy face.  TRUST ME, one selfie a week is one selfie too many.

Gosh do I hate when people write status' like "I have the best friends in the world!" or "My husband is amazing."  Hey guess what?  We ALL think we have the "best" friends in the world, that's WHY they're our friends.  And I sure hope you think your husband is great.  Why else would you decide to spend the rest of your life with him?

As we got closer to Easter, several people asked how it was going without Facebook.  Was I going to come back?  Although I would like to say I'm going to give it up for good, I know I won't.  With all the annoying things about it, there are also some great things that I miss.  I get to keep in touch with my friends and family on a daily basis.  I get to see pictures of their families, and watch their kids grow up.  I get to celebrate with others as they announce some of the biggest moments in their lives like engagements and  pregnancies.  I get to read a lot of really inspiring stories and blogs that I most likely would have never seen and some cool news stories that go viral. I get to see a lot of funny things too - like those Someecards:)  I get some good advice on things like parenting, new music to download, new stores to shop at - and also support from other mommies with twins.  But most importantly for me, it has created a timeline of my life.  A never ending, always updated diary.  I can scroll all the way back to those good old college days when Mike and I started dating, or look at pictures from the day he proposed, our fairy tale wedding, or our first house.  I can read about how I felt the day I started my first reporting job in Texas, the day my boys were born and how quickly they have grown to be little men.

That is the good in Facebook and this Lenten season has reminded me to focus on that...

...and start blocking a lot of people from my wall;)