About two weeks ago, i made the decision to pull back from social media, and specifically Facebook. It actually came about as part of, or perhaps an extension of, a more systematic and widespread purge that I’m undertaking. I recently read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and began to go through my things, as the book suggests, getting rid of all the things that don’t ‘spark joy’ (I also kept things that don’t particularly make me happy, but that have immediate use. Like, you know, bras). The author talks about clients of hers who have told her that after following her method of tidying, they began to notice other areas in their life that needed tending, and in caring for those areas they find greater joy in life more generally. They leave unhappy marriages or lose that weight they’ve been struggling with or start a business when they realize their job isn’t fulfilling. After completing only about 1/3 or 1/2 of the process, i definitely began to notice areas in my life that needed tidying besides just my house.
One of those areas has really been centered around my mental and emotional well-being. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for much of my life, including social anxiety, and i have noticed in the past how Facebook seems to exacerbate that. By putting my life on display, i open it up to comment, critique, and even debate. I remember a chapter in my communications textbook from undergrad about computer mediated communication, and how people tend to be more critical, more blunt, and generally less kind on the internet than they would be in real time conversation. We have the ability to say whatever is on our minds without the inconvenience of witnessing the effects it has on others. Further, the ability to share anything that crosses my mind at any given time had led me to sharing bits of information or random thoughts that really have very little meaning in the scheme of things. This has led me to feel like I’m staying ‘in touch’ with people without really having any meaningful interactions. The in-depth conversations I do have tend to be arguments about news stories or pop culture that leave me feeling morally superior, but mostly frustrated. It got to the point that Facebook was literally giving me anxiety. I worried about whether people would understand what I meant by my social commentary. I worried that I would offend, or felt that I couldn’t share my feelings about some issue or another without being written off by the “other side” as offensive or ignorant or, more often, a stick in the mud (we can talk more about my feelings on awareness raising campaigns later). In any case, i decided my internet activity needed to be ‘tidied’ as well, and as such, I’m moving away from the book of faces and trying to focus on blogging instead.
Blogging encourages me to be more thoughtful about what I’m saying, and to make sure that what I’m putting out into the ether has some point. It also helps me organize my thoughts, rather than just making more noise in my head. My head has been so quiet these past two weeks! Best of all, though, is that I’m way less likely to spend huge chunks of time reading or writing blogs, though I was terribly prone to wasting ridiculous amounts of my day scrolling through other social media feeds. This has led me to feel like i actually have more time in my day. I have read more, cleaned more, and spent more time planning and cooking meals than i have in months. Even better, i have spent more time actually interacting and playing with my little Bug than i used to. Even MamaRae has commented (more than once) that my interactions with the kiddo have seemed better and that she thinks Darwin has also responded in kind (though it’s hard to say how much of that is also due to having more use of my shoulder again).
It’s truly been life changing, and I’m so glad to have paid attention enough to realize it needed to happen.