"Mom, when will dinner be ready?"
"hmmm? Uh....in a few minutes," I responded and didn't even look up to see who had asked the question. It could have been a 600 pound gorilla for all I know.
5 minutes later...
I finally tore myself away from the screen of the computer and looked over at my nine-year-old son.
"Mom, what's so important?"
Damn. He was 100% correct.
I was so wrapped up in trying to convince a stranger on Facebook that they were wrong and I was right, that I had totally lost sight of what was really important, real life people in my real life family. That happened on Saturday evening, when I should have been enjoying time with my husband and kids, I was really getting overly annoyed with the stupidity of strangers. Wtf? I let it sink in as I moved through the rest of the evening, really focusing on what was going on.
Sunday morning came and I decided to make a big change. I was going to delete my Facebook. This decision had very little to do with the recent outcry of how Facebook has invaded our privacy and sold out information. I figured that my privacy was gone years ago because every purchase I make with a plastic card is tracked, every place I go with a cell phone is traced, and every photo I take is uploaded to the cloud. Meh. I am pretty average, not too exciting, and try to stay on the right side of legal mostly, so I don't get too worked up about it.
I had totally lost sight of what was really important, real life people in my real life family.
What I was getting worked up about and truly feeling guilty about was how I was "connected" all of the time. Dates out with the hubbs? Check Facebook. Watching a movie with the kids? Check Facebook. See and amazing sunrise? Try and steer the Jeep with my knees while capturing the light crisp and clear and not die in the process. Oh, and post it to Facebook. Someone pissed me off in traffic? Post an open letter to them on Facebook. That'll show them!
Yikes. I may have officially lost my ever-loving mind! I was ignoring my family, and taking unnecessary risks for....what? A few likes and comments, and an ego boost. That revelation shook me. Who had I become? Since when did I car e what anyone thought?
Time to cut the virtual cord.
My first thought was that this would be no big deal. Then I started remembering all of the pages that I follow, the news agencies, the 80's throwback pages, people and places that I followed, and a sudden grip of fear set in. How would I stay "connected" to all of this? After a few deep breaths and calming thoughts, I started analyzing my "connections". The sad truth was I wasn't really connected to any of these places, and a whole lot less of the people.
Most of the people I was "friends" with I had stopped following. So how connected was I really? I had very few real life relationships with these people that I had labeled my friends. Some of them were colleagues (that I spend zero time with outside of work), some were from high-school (and I only have a real relationship with exactly 2 of them), and others were random people that I had never even met. So, I was spending more time with people I had no real relationship with than the people that I DID have a real relationship with. Frightening!
I was spending more time with people I had no real relationship with than the people that I DID have a real relationship with.
I committed to staying disconnected for two weeks. I wrote a post and asked anyone that wanted to keep in touch to please message me their contact info, because I was disconnecting. Some people asked questions or made comments, but out of 150+ "friends" only 2 sent me their contact info. That was sobering.
At first I had to really practice some conscious discipline. I caught myself grabbing my phone to "check-in" because I was bored and needed a distraction. I'd simply put my phone down and distract myself in other ways, like people watching! Such an interesting hobby.
Here we are two weeks later and I have successfully remained off-line for the entire time. What has surprised me the most is how much I DON'T miss it. I don't miss arguing with total strangers, or reading the really foul comments that some people leave. The things that I thought I would miss I was able to replace with other apps. And no, I am not paid by Google.
- FB Messenger: Such and easy way to text and do video chats.
I replaced it with Google Duo. Just as easy!
-FB Memories: I really loved getting reminders of things we have done or milestones the kids have had through photos I had posted on Facebook.
I replaced that with Google Assistant I get updates called "Rediscover This Day" AND all of my phone photos automatically update to the cloud on Google Photos.
-Facebook: I really like being able to stay connected with people, especially since we will be moving soon. So having an easy way to do that is important to me. I found Google+ and so far that has met all of our needs.
I thought about logging back in, and so I did. But after a few minutes I decided to permanently delete my account. I have gained so much back during these two weeks. I have gained back time, dates with my husband, and conversations with my kids. I have gotten rid of distractions and unhealthy discussions that serve no purpose. And I plan to keep it that way.