Holy canoli what in the world has Facebook done to us? It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I do before bed. At one point last week I realized that it’s the exact same pattern I used to have when I smoked cigarettes many years ago… prior to becoming super-momilicious of course.
I loved cigarettes… and I love Facebook.
I use the excuse that I am not from Florida; that I’m homesick for New York City and want to keep in touch with all my amazing friends’ lives. They are traveling the world, buying businesses, moving and shaking while I sit here watching like a jealous voyeur for any small connection that keeps my foot in the door to my old life.
I love watching my friends kids grow up, their fashion shows, travels to Thailand and staying in touch with people I genuinely want to keep in my life. Facebook has so many positive things about it… until it takes over your life without you even noticing.
One day last week, I decided that I needed a break.
I began to notice that I would get anxiety when I saw a certain person post a comment, or when someone didn’t make a comment I took it as a personal insult… “Have I done something to offend yet another person in my life?”
(Most likely, yes… it seems I unintentionally create enemies easily now-a-days.)
The last straw was this private page I belong to; I was Facebook-attacked; slaughtered by a group of “friends” I have never met. I was humiliated and anxiety ridden, but that’s when I realized that none of this is real.
People take what you say and run in a thousand different cruel and vicious directions, but if you know me… then you know I don’t tolerate much negativity. So, I deleted Facebook from my phone and Ipad and set out on a much needed hiatus.
I felt so free… for about twenty minutes.
Tick-tock, tick-tock… I kept picking up my phone. “What in the world will I do with all this time?” I thought.
After finding a TV show to keep me occupied, I remembered having the EXACT the same nervous tension when quitting cigarettes; I mean what would I do during commercials?
Slowly I began to realize the void of not checking my news-feed every ten minutes. This is when I knew Facebook was more than just something fun to keep me in touch with my friends up north, this was an honest, true, addiction.
“Hello, my name is Lisa and I am addicted to Facebook,” (the crowd mumbles, “Hi Lisa” in an uninterested monotone voice).
Somehow… I managed to fall asleep without finding out how Hyla’s daughter did in her swimming lesson and the world did not stop when I was not there to “like” Dante’s latest selfie of him dressed in some fabulous designer outfit for the evening.
I woke up the next morning to the seagulls loudly reminding me that I live on the beach. I haven’t noticed them for quite some time.
It was a glorious spring morning in which shorts and flip flops were calling my name. I was reminded of all the northern friends that I am missing so much, are still bundled in their micro-goose-down parkas… fabulous as they may be.
As beautiful as that morning was, I was feeling tortured.
Something was missing, I couldn’t think about anything else other than saying hello to four-hundred of my closest friends. I wanted to send them a bit inspiration with a post that I stole from someone else’s page.
They look forward to it… don’t they? (Ehhh, probably not.)
What if something important happened in the world and I was not the first one to post the information? How would they know that I was a serious journalist?
I usually reach for my phone first thing in the morning to see if the world has survived another night. After feeling content the world is in tact, I then check on all my far-away friends to see who has the cutest puppy post, or funny meme that I can save for a later and more appropriate time.
But this day… I was really left with nothing better to do than get up, shower and leave my house to stop me from downloading Facebook back onto my phone.
I needed coffee… a lot of it.
I took a long walk on the beach without my phone, but… I couldn’t stop the nagging feeling that I was all alone without my 458 friends knowing I was walking on the beach.
What if I stubbed my toe? Who would know?
Or worse… what if I saw something cool like a shark washed up on shore and no means to document the entire incident? These thoughts controlled my mind; a continuous re-training of my brain became the mission.
I was in a big black hole on my beautiful island paradise.
The habits of reaching for my phone at a stop-light annoyed the crap out of me all day, “Do I really check my phone this much?” I kept saying to myself, “There’s nothing to see Lisa, put the phone down.”
It was somewhat refreshing not having the car behind me honk their “oh so courteous” horn to let me know my Facebook time was over and I should probably step on the gas… but even that felt kinda lonely after awhile.
Someone talk to me! Please.
I got through my first afternoon and it was time to pick up my son from school. He noticed I was not in a good mood, so I barked at him “I’M FINE, WHY?”
“It’s WITHDRAWAL baby, mommy needs a Facebook patch.”
Day two, I woke up and grabbed my phone but this time I instantly stopped myself, “There’s nothing to see, put it down, Lisa.”
Poop, I thought it was all a bad dream.
I desperately needed to check on Niccole’s kittens and see if Lantie had her website up and running… how will I ever know now? UGHHHHHHH
I was forced to have another enjoyable walk on the beach; why was I doing this to myself? All the rationalizations came creeping in. I could download it on my Ipad for emergencies right?
“There’s no need to suffer, it’s only Facebook, this is silly. Go ahead Lisa, do it,” an evil voice whispered.
No, I didn’t do it, instead I had a long engaging lunch with a friend to keep me from seeing how Meghan made out at the doctors or if Eileen found a good horse trainer.
Day two sucked, but it sucked less than the day before.
On day three of Facebook rehab, I noticed that I did not reach for my phone as soon as I woke up, instead I giggled with my son; I was completely involved in what it was he had to say.
Like, I actually made eye contact. His eyes are green… did you know that? They’re beautiful, too.
I got him up early and went to a festival. We took lots of pictures, but I didn’t know what to do with them; they are just sitting in my phone. No one can see how freaking adorable we looked… but us.
I almost had a relapse. This was all too much.
I HAD TO POST THESE PICTURES!!! Someone had to “like” them, someone had to tell me how insanely gorgeous my son is… I was dying, until I remembered that I still have Instagram and Twitter.
Oh Thank Buddha, I can post pictures of our day somewhere OUT THERE in the universe.
I could still get validation from Emily and Val… and what would life be like if Lorraine was not there to bless my little family? What about that dude I’ve never met, but always “likes” my pics? I needed his validation, too… obviously.
I would be heartbroken without them; I depend on these people, I was missing my virtual family so badly.
Facebook has given me many reasons to be thankful; I have made genuine friendships from our daily musings. Many of whom were not very close friendships until Zuckerberg created the Holy Grail.
But this week…? This week was eye opening.
After all these days without Facebook, I am feeling a change. I don’t check my phone anymore, instead, I am spending more quality time with my family.
I am present.
My week without Facebook has been a reality check into what matters and what does not. I genuinely do miss my Facebook friends, this much I know.
I also know where to find them when I feel the need to reach out.
Honestly, I can live without being addicted to the “likes,” but we swam with the Manatees in Crystal River this weekend… Who could resist the urge to tell someone about the cool stuff we did?
It was all just too much to keep inside! My body was screaming to download Facebook just for a minute! A minute was all I needed, one small taste so I could post my pictures!!!!
Download; delete; download; delete…