Friday, October 31, 2014

Sifting Through Life: I Quit Facebook

Sifting Through Life segments are about my life and how I have dealt with certain situations.  The topic changes weekly and they don't always include food or recipes.  It is a segment that allows me to talk honestly and openly.  All opinions are my own and are just that, my opinions.  This is my voice talking about my life.  ENJOY!

 No warning.  I just did it. I am finally free to fly.

For the past year I have been struggling with time management.  Juggling objects has never been a talent I developed and it would seem that juggling the events in my life have been met with a similar outcome.  My frustration with finding more time in my schedule has led me to have conversations with Cory and Rye that include the phrase "half ass".   I feel like I don't do anything well.  I finish projects quickly but never with a refinement that leaves me feeling accomplished and complete.  My task are just okay in my opinion.  A standard that I have set for myself has slowly began to fall apart at the seams.  A solution is needed in my life at this time so that I can do fewer things better and more complete.

Recently I made a batch of cookies and forgot to include the butter.  I knew something was not right. The dough was thick.  My mind was rattled because Finnley was crying, I was making dinner, helping Isabella with school work; all while trying to keep up with my phone and social media.  My Super Mom cape was slowly strangling me as I sank deeper and deeper into the quick sand of my life.

The cookies emerged slightly doughy. I find the missing ingredient in the microwave.  The butter is melted and I proceed to brush it atop each cookie.  Each bite brought out the sound of mmmmmm. This mistake turned out great.  In fact, I may make these cookies like this from here on out. The point is, that this time I was able to recover from running and juggling; but what about next time?

Learning to be patient and understanding that this part of my life will speed by quicker than I would ever imagine reminds me that I need to reevaluate how and where I spend my resources.  I get these promptings and sometimes I listen to them and sometimes I fight with them.  The urge to listen is met with resistance because the change that is being asked of me is harsh or hard.

The decision to deactivate my Facebook account is both harsh and hard. Harsh because it would be easier to keep my account and just leave it alone but instead I abruptly deactivated it without any goodbyes.  Hard because I can't leave it alone.  I check it all day long. I depended on the social aspect of FB during a time when I needed friends, encouragement and a community. I must be evolving again.  Change is definitely in the air.

With shaking fingers and a pounding heart my finger hit the button.  I did it.  I immediately felt free from the strangling feeling of having to check, answer, recheck and update my status.  I walked away from a part of my life that started out as a need and ended with a slamming of the door.

I woke up on Monday feeling alive.  I spent the last four days in New York City with my good friend, Carol.  We talked and chatted for hours.  She listened I talked and vice versa.   I came home Monday and cried. I missed our friendship.  I missed our lunches.  I missed everything about having a friend that I could hug, laugh with and talk to.  I discovered, once again, that the miles between us and the months of not chatting, had not changed our friendship.  If anything it grew.  I never had to hit a "like" button or  "share" anything in those months that we were apart,  and yet, we picked up right where we had left off: laughing, whispering, shopping, eating, and sharing our stories.

With Facebook I had convinced myself that virtual friends were filling my cup.  I reconnected with friends from the past but they were not in Maryland.  I met new friends from all over the world but I most likely won't get a chance to meet them anytime soon.  Family had found me and that was fun but again, outside of status updates and picture liking, nothing of substance is probably going to come out of this.  I live 3000 miles away from them.

Facebook gave me a false sense of friendship.  I convinced myself that I didn't need to leave my house to find more friends because the friends I had online were fine.  Those friends are fine but I need more.  I know me.  I know that I need to quit.  I am not a half-ass person normally.  I am usually all or nothing.  Facebook was beginning to feel like my heart was not in it and I began to feel myself slowly pulling away.  Our social media relationship was ending and I was not willing to negotiate or barter to save it. Facebook became a false crutch of empowerment for me.


When we first moved to Maryland Facebook was a way for me to stay connected with friends and family.  In time though,  it also kept me from calling those same friends and family more often, writing hand written notes (which I love receiving and writing); it left me feeling empty.  My heart was broken when I left Midway and I used Facebook to protect myself from engaging with anyone who I could smell, touch or hug.  I wanted to shut down.  I have the greatest friends and neighbors right here in Maryland and I have distanced myself from getting too close.  I want to change that.

I guess towards the end, it felt like a half-ass relationship with Facebook.  I lost interest in posting comments and liking statuses.  I felt that nobody really cared what I had to say or like. Not because they didn't care but because I wasn't responding with my heart in it.  I scrolled through my feed looking for something new and fresh.  I was bored.  The time I spent on FB became less and less inviting.  I knew I was wasting my time and that it should end.  Living vicariously through status updates was fun for a while.  Leaving my house and doing something-- anything-- has become more important now than ever.  I want to feel it, see it and do it.  Not read about it.

Monday while doing the dishes I felt it again.  Out of the blue I hear in my mind, "deactivate your FB account".   At that moment, everything from the past weekend, came flooding back to me.  I had distanced myself from real friendships for a cyber world of safe interaction.

My decision to end it never felt more right than at that very moment.

Walking to my computer, slowly pulling my chair out from the desk, I decided to quit.  I pulled up Facebook , found my settings and deactivated my account.  My heart was bursting.  My hands were shaking.  I knew that what I was doing was right for me.  It sounded harsh and it was very hard to walk away from groups, online friends, distant family and daily moments of being uplifted through songs, memes and stories.

After I had pushed the send button I sat down and felt this overwhelming feeling of relief.  It took me almost a year to finally listen to the promptings and doing the craziest thing in the world: quitting Facebook.  I started my business with Facebook.  I stayed connected with Facebook.  I really liked it in the beginning.

Facebook has changed and so have I.  One weekend spent with friends reminded me that it is easy to let technology get in the way of sucking our time and adding stress. I became dependent on the "likes and shares" that created a dependency that I have grown wary of.  I don't look at leaving Facebook as a rejection of friendship and family ties.  My hope is that I will reconnect through more lasting lines of communications.  My time was in need of an update.

It is time for me to leave my home and to become active again.  I hope to find another quilting group to join.  I want to become closer to the friends I have here in Maryland.  My time has already felt more abundant than it has in months.   Lasting and meaningful friendships and interaction is what I am looking for- not status updates, likes and shares.

Facebook may be apart of my life again in the future when time is not so fragile.  I will continue to use Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to stay connected .  I believe this is the balance that I am capable of having today.  I will be more active on these forums and I hope to stay connected to those that I will miss on Facebook.  I have already subscribed to a huge list of blogs and friends so that I can comment directly on their sites and read what they have to say instead of quickly liking a status update.

This wasn't the easiest decision for me to make but I do believe it has been the best one.  I hope to write more letters, comment more on friends pages and post through their blogs and more of my journey here on Simply Gourmet.  I was giving away my best stories and snippets of my life through status updates when in reality I want them to be told in stories for my children to reflect back on in the future.

I hope that this is not seen as a rejection to anyone that discovered I left Facebook without a simple goodbye.    I knew that if I posted something  I would be convinced to stay when the inner voice was telling me to go.  My hope is that we can connect again through other sources that I feel represent me, my thoughts, my desires and my story better.

Facebook didn't work for me anymore but Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter still do.  It is that simple. My time needed to be re-calibrated to my current lifestyle and something had to go.  I still have a cell phone and an email account which I check everyday.  I would love to hear your voice, read your story and comments.  That was never something I wanted to stop having in my life.  I  hope everyone can understand where I am coming from.  It wasn't about YOU but more about ME.

I am learning that sometimes life requires a change that forces harsh and hard decision.  This is one of those times.

What will this do for my page and readers? I don't know, but I have to do something to find a few extra minutes in the day or even hours.  My family's needs come first and they need me more present. My business page on Facebook was reaching only a few readers.   Facebook wants me to pay for a greater reach of fans.  Fans that had liked my page.  I have no desire to pay Facebook anything.   I no longer had an audience in a forum that I believed-three years ago--would be a good fit-- for sharing recipes and stories.  My personal page felt out of place to share my business stuff.  Clogging my friends home feeds did not feel right in my minds eye.

I did it.

I quit Facebook.

P.S.  My email is: just in case you want to drop me a line or two. I promise to write back as often as I can.

Written by Sherron Watson 

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