At the end of July (and the beginning of my digital sabbatical), I took a family vacation to Mexico. I decided that this should be a time of rest and refreshment, not obsessively checking social media. I wanted to focus on the sights and sounds around me, rather than checking in on people halfway around the world. This was my time for me.
- Because I unplugged from the virtual, I was free to experience the actual. Stepping away from facebook has helped me to spend time taking in my surroundings and experiences. I have more time to experience life when I m not cyberstalking my friends. My mind is more engaged in what I am doing when I don’t have the details of other people’s lives occupying my attention. Rather than reading about other peoples’ lives, I had the time and focus to live my own life.
- Living facebook free has helped my mood. I’ve heard news about “facebook depression”, a depression caused by reading about how great everyone else’s life is. It is most common among teens. However, I am not a teen and I have experienced this to some degree. By not interacting with facebook as much, I am not able to compare myself to others in that way. When I’m not comparing, my life does not look so bad.
- Less facebook, less anxiety. Believe it or not, I feel obligated to read every status update. If I only check facebook three times a day, then I go back and read every status since I last checked. This is a huge undertaking (and a huge waste of time). Not having to worry about “keeping up” was liberating. I learned that life does go on even when you miss status updates.
Does this mean that I will never use facebook again? Not at all. I have contact with people that I love and enjoy reading their comments. However, I will be much more mindful about how much time I spend on facebook. I will be careful to live my own life, and spend less time comparing it to the lives of others. I will make sure that my presence offline is richer than my presence online. I will focus on living life, not just reading about it.