Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What I learned in 22 Days Facebook Free

So if you've been paying attention you know that I ended my Lenten fast of Facebook early. I made it to the half-way point but that's as far as I could go. Still, I consider the project a success and I wanted to check in and share what I learned and why I quit and why I won't choose Facebook as a Lenten sacrifice again in the future.

The short version of why I quit is that it was too doggone hard to accomplish things I needed to accomplish when so much of my community does its planning and promoting and connecting via social media and specifically via Facebook. Bravo Mr. Zuckerburg on the monster you have created. The longer version is of course a bit more complex.

I realized that I was missing out on things important to me. Big things. Friends getting engaged. Friends having babies. Friends having birthdays. Friends having car accidents. Friends losing parents. Friends dying. It isn't worth it to me to continue to miss that information and the opportunity to at least speak a word of support or celebration just to say I made it 40 Days.

I was also missing out on marketing my business, my projects, my causes.  At a time when I need to be generating income if at all possible continuing to actively avoid my largest social media contact pool seemed less than smart. I have a convention coming up this weekend where I am going to be talking about my work as a costumer. I'd like to generate a few new contacts if possible for my embroidery business and my contract work. I can't do that and avoid social media. I found myself creating more and more loopholes just to be able to do what I needed to do and still say I had made it 40 Days.

Most frustratingly I missed being able to share my life in the ways I was used to and most enjoy. Something cool would happen and I couldn't share it. Working on Anne Frank was so fantastic. There was so much I wanted to brag on those kids about and I let this fast get in the way of that. That's not ok with me. Teenagers get such a bad rap, when they're doing something good, something important, they need to have that spread all over social media too. The photos that I posted a few days ago don't tell a third of the story of that process. Kevin Rogers and Carrie Paulo and Chris Steele are doing great things out in Bartlett.

It eventually got to the point it just seemed hypocritical. So I quit.

By the measure of "making it 40 Days" this whole thing was a dismal failure.

That isn't the measure that counts to me though. You see they say that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. I made it 22. I went the distance long enough to achieve a big part of what I wanted to accomplish by taking this journey.

On day one I said this:

The reason(s) I chose Facebook instead of chocolate or caffeine or cursing or any of a hundred other things that I could have picked this year (has) to do with being more intentional. I need to be more intentionally aware of how I'm spending my time. I need to be more intentionally aware of where I am investing my focus. I need to create space in my life for things more personally and spiritually productive and my biggest time suck is represented by that blue and white icon...
That is and was the truth. By going the distance as long as I did I accomplished that goal. Facebook is back in a reasonable consumption intentional choice place in my life. It's not my "drug of choice" to avoid dealing with boredom or depression or whatever I don't want to deal with in that moment anymore. Its a tool. I still wake up in the middle of the night but I reach for my kindle now rather than my phone and Facebook to read myself back to sleep. I don't get up in the morning and grab my laptop anymore. I actually fix and eat food. I have a coke (my version of a cup of coffee). I look at my calendar and see what we have that I need to plan for. In the last 4 weeks I've costumed the Diary of Anne Frank, I've created the sashes for Pageant the Musical, I've cooked at home 80% of the time. I've remembered what life was before I let Facebook consume so much of it.

This week I'm catching up on watching the films I'm behind on for Outflix. I'm going to be marching in a parade on Thursday. I'm working on getting ready for Mid-South Con and the costume panels that I'm on. I'm dealing with still not having hot water after two weeks and two calls to our home warranty people. Today I'm waiting on repair guys and talking to creditors that need to be dealt with and I'm not numbing any of  that out with mindless use of social media.

Will I be on later? You betcha. I've got to sit around and wait for Jessi to get out of rehearsal tonight and that's a perfect time to indulge. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll use that time to memorize my monologue for the Maundy Thursday drama I will be doing next week. Maybe I'll use it to re-do my theater resume that was lost in a computer crash around Christmas so that I can audition for a job doing mystery theater. Maybe I'll take my kindle with me instead and finish reading that mystery I started at 3 AM. It's my choice. My intentional choice.

22 Days was enough to make me mindful.

Mindfulness was a large part of the goal.

I may not have made it 40 Days but I'm ok with that. I did what I needed to do.

I call that a success.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for you!. Need to post this on Facebook too.