I am taking this year off from Facebook. Oh, I still check it every now and then and use it as a means of communicating with specific people. I am just taking this year off of posting things to it and feeling like I need to read every single update every single day. It became a lot of noise in my life. Its absence has been as refreshing as the moments after someone turns off a TV that has been left on but that no one is watching. Deep cleansing breath and "Why didn't I do that a while ago?"
I joined Facebook when Afton was three months old. I was three months into being home alone all day with someone who couldn't talk. My husband worked a lot back then. Leaving at 8:00ish and coming home at 7:00ish was normal. Facebook was a life preserver to me in what could have been a sea of loneliness. I don't hate Facebook. I think Facebook is pretty awesome.
This winter though I didn't update my status for about three weeks. I just didn't feel like it. It was so freeing. The longer I went without telling people what I was doing or thinking the less inclined I was to do so. I just felt like everyone I had ever known didn't need to know where I ate dinner. That was a feeling I hadn't had in a while. Facebook had become such a part of my life that I felt like each family outing, each cute or frustrating (depending on the day) thing my kids did, each original thought, each milestone, all my grievances, successes, questions had to be shared and shared with A LOT of people or it was almost like they didn't happen. I didn't realize I was under that kinda pressure until I just stopped posting and it didn't really matter.
During that three week break I realized I could have dinner at Chipotle with my family and my adorable children could say something cute or do something embarrassing and afterwards we could all go to the Ice Capades and when we get home there could be a brand new car in my drive way wrapped in bow with a card that reads "To my beautiful wife from your devoted husband!" and I could not tell everyone I had ever known and it would still be just as special. I can enjoy my life without making it into a documentary. (None of this happened by the way, just good old fashioned hyperbole. Well, actually, I am sure we did eat dinner at Chipotle. That place is delish.)
Sometime during those three weeks something else happened. I started realizing I don't really care where most of my "friends" eat dinner. I don't really care whether or not most of them went to the Ice Capades, etc. When I hear about those things I think I care, but when I don't hear about them I realize my life is still just as full and happy. Sometimes even more so because I have more mental energy to spend caring about those who are actually around me. Particularly a couple of very special little people who are always around me.
So I decided to take 2011 off from posting statuses and doing daily (at least) checks of everyone else statuses. I am three months in and I don't miss it. I am slowly leaving behind the habit of thinking in status updates. I am enjoying my life just as much as I did when everyone else was reading about it. I am still just as connected with life long friends and I may have a better awareness of who those people actually are. The break has been nice so far. Kinda reminds me of nap time. A big deep breath and some long absent silence.
Like I said I don't hate Facebook. I think it is one of the best ideas ever. I will probably be back in your face with as much of my business as you can handle as soon as the calendar changes to 2012. But until then I am enjoying my quiet. Because as we learn from nap time sometimes we need a break from even the very best things in life.