There are millions of people on Facebook; and they are on there for hundreds of reasons…not the least of which are networking, reconnecting, creeping. I LOVE Facebook! I LIVE on Facebook! Literally, my life is like a virtual Truman Show. While I don’t often do the super mundane daily play-by-play posts (“I’m awake.” “Driving to work.” “Eating lunch.” “Taking a shower.” etc), but I do give daily narratives on the day’s fiascos and triumphs…with pictures to boot. I post so much primarily for the benefit of my parents and grandparents who live far away and aren’t able to watch my children grow up in person. But, even with the largeness of my family, my 500+ Facebook friends certainly extend beyond just relatives.
There are several big reasons why I LOVE Facebook.
- Keeping in touch with the family.
As I said before, with so many of my family living in other states, Facebook provided a convenient setting for my loved ones to share in the joys of watching my children grow. I also was able to “meet” some of my cousins’ wives that I would have never become acquainted with otherwise (and see all of their children). Not only could my family keep up with me…but I could keep up with them!
- Reconnecting with old friends.
Facebook allowed me to touch base with people who I hadn’t seen in years. Perhaps it was an old friend who made an impact on my life during the brief time that our paths crossed. Or maybe it was someone I had passed in the hallways; I knew their name, but we never really spoke. Facebook helped me become better friends with some people, learning about the various things we had in common and giving support to one another. It also allowed me to reach out and give a virtual hug to people I had missed over the years.
- Being inspired, amused, encouraged, and touched by everyone’s stories, pictures, and experiences.
Part of the reason I share so much is because I get so much from what everyone else shares. I love reading everyone’s stories of triumph, even if they aren’t personal stories (but especially when they are). I love all the inspiring pictures/quotes that people post. Some days I read just the right thing that speaks to me or my situation.
- Normalizing this crazy thing called life.
One of the main reasons why I’m such an open book is because I think that maybe other people have been in my situation, but they feel like they’re alone. We keep things inside, believing that we are the only ones who have walked the road we are on…when all the while, there are people all around us to help us. That’s why all those mom-blogs are so popular. When we realize that sometimes even the most perfect-seeming mom wants to run away from home, we don’t feel so bad for longing for some down time. I share my struggles so that others who struggle will not feel isolated, and maybe they will feel comforted by my words or reach out for support.
- Witnessing the human experience.
Bottom line, everyone has a story…and I love them all. I love observing people’s journeys; and, as evidenced by the popularity of Facebook (and especially the prevalence of people who don’t post but just read), I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone. Even in my job I get enjoyment from listening to my patients and their families retell the tales of their lives. I love traveling the last leg of life’s journey with people. I love helping others navigate the winding road of dying and grief. I love helping people LIVE.
Which led me straight to all the reasons why I have to leave.
- I process life in an edited format.
I don’t vent on Facebook as honestly as I would 1:1 because so many people read my posts. Believe it or not, I keep most of my posts edited for mixed company. This means that I seldom let myself be truly, fully honest…keeping toxic remnant unwittingly bottled in.
- Facebook gave me a false sense of friendship.
While I had the illusion that my social needs were being met, outside of work & home, I have very little meaningful interaction with other people in real life. Not only that, but I felt like FB kept me overly attached to the goings on in my hometown and stunted my relationships here in FL. Regardless of where my friends lived, everyone got the same level of communication – Facebook posts. That’s great for long distance, but not for local. I want a BFF I can hang out with. I want a girlfriend with whom I can take turns watching each other’s kids. Those kinds of friendships don’t grow online…at least not for me.
- I don’t give people individualized attention.
While 2 of my 3 grandmothers are on FB, I very seldom (if ever) individually reach out to them. I figure they know what they need to know and if they want to talk to me, they know how to reach me. I talk to my patients more than my own grandparents. That’s a SHAME!
- I live like I’m on reality TV.
I have started approaching all my thoughts and life events as if they take place in a public forum. This is an artificial and insincere approach to life. I need to really LIVE, really be PRESENT, and not be mentally formulating how I’m going to post about this later.
- I constantly feel inadequate and will never measure up.
I compare myself to other people. My house. My marriage. My successes. My children. I will always do it…but I don’t need to do it on such a broad scale.
I don’t know where a hiatus from Facebook will bring me, but I have been contemplating deactivating for some time. Now is the time. I don’t think I could ever leave FB completely forever. But I definitely need to break away and focus on what is right in front of me. The people. The opportunities. The relationships. The LIFE!