Last Tuesday, I did something I'd been thinking of for a while but just hadn't been able to commit to: I temporarily deactivated my Facebook page. For a while, I've been considering that there are better uses of my time and attention than checking Facebook a hundred times a day to avoid missing anything. And so, after a day that left me wishing my world was a little quieter, I did it.
I'm not going to lie. That first day was tough. I don't think I realized how often I was checking in, how much of my time was sucked away, two minutes at a time, by scrolling through status updates, articles, memes and quizzes. But then, it became amazing.
Suddenly, I wasn't on my phone very much. Sure, I still posted a picture for my #100happydays project on instagram every day, but that was a quick process: log on, scroll through the new pictures, post my own, log out. 4 or 5 minutes a day, tops. I tweeted a couple of times over the past week, too, but I've never been a big user of Twitter, so that made no noticeable dent in my day.
I discovered that I am a little more narcissistic than I would like to be. That first day, I expected people to notice that my account was gone and ask me about it, to miss me. That didn't happen - and why should it? I can't say for certain that I'd notice right away if a friend took a hiatus. Everyone has a million things going on; why would my brief absence be noticed?
After I chuckled and chided myself for that self-absorption, I moved forward. As the days passed, I did get texts from a couple of people who wanted to be sure I was okay. Some of them seemed sad for me that I felt a need to step away, but I don't. This past week, I've read more, focused more, been more present in every bit of my life.
That's not to say that I don't see value in Facebook and that I don't miss it. I'm sure I've missed birthdays and opportunities to offer support to people I care about. I've been behind on the news (and a little dismayed to discover I was mostly looking up stories I first saw mentioned on Facebook). I miss seeing pictures of all the adorable June babies (preschoolers, really - where has the time gone?) whose mothers are part of my tribe since before Max was here. I've missed sharing pictures of my own beauties (mostly because, for better or worse, Facebook has become where I store many of my favorite photos).
So, where do I go from here? Tomorrow night will be one week since I deactivated my Facebook account. Just a grain of sand in eternity, but a mountain of time in the world of social media, where missing a day means you'll probably never catch up on all you've missed. I'm 99.9% certain I'll reactivate tomorrow night and spend a little more time than I might plan to trying to catch up on a little of what I've missed.
Going forward, I think a hiatus every month or so is not a bad idea for me. I'm not always good at just limiting myself, so deactivation is probably my best bet. I doubt it'll always be a week, but who knows? A day or two every now and then, disconnected from technology but better connected to my family and myself is definitely something I'd like to pursue.