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.

DONE!

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:  sherron@simply-gourmet.com 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 








22 comments:

  1. My heart has hit the floor... hard. I just spent 10 minutes in tears because I thought I had done something wrong... NO NOTICE, just what appeared to be that I had been blocked by you (your name still appears, but it's blacked out, so it looks like I've been blocked). I truly wish you had given those of us who love you from afar the courtesy of a goodbye, Sherron. I understand and respect your decision to go boldly on without us, but I have to speak my heart and let you know how deeply it hurts. I valued you as a friend, and a damned close one, even if we had never met in person.
    Wishing you the best and all of the happiness you're looking for. xoxo

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    1. Oh Becca that was not my intention! I do love my friends on facebook but I lost the desire to keep at it. I am still here but just not on Facebook. I can't explain it but Facebook was dragging me down. I am a very sensitive person and I couldn't connect anymore with this one venue. I am still very active on other sites. If anything I hope to connect on a deeper level with friends, like yourself, through visiting your blogs and being more present and leaving comments. I know it is hard to understand and I hope that you can forgive me for any hardship that I have caused to you this morning. Hugs! Sherron

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    2. You don't owe me any apologies, Sherron, but I do appreciate your explanation. I don't have many friends in the town I live in, so I've been one to value the friends I've made online pretty deeply. After all, I met my husband on Facebook! I hope to stay in contact with you though. Love and hugs <3

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  2. Sherron,
    I applaud you! What a wonderful, honest, and heartfelt post. I am so happy that this has freed you - what an incredible feeling and imagine the incredible things that lie ahead because of it! I will certainly miss your pictures, your updates and our interactions, but I completely understand your reasoning and wanting to do it. I admit that I'm a bit jealous. If FB weren't my #1 referral and something I've worked so hard to grow, I'd probably do the same thing as I spend WAY too much time checking it and going through different threads. It can be a huge time-suck! You've motivated me - to write notes to people, make those phone calls and spend time being more productive with things that matter most.
    All of this social media has completely changed the landscape of things since we were growing up. Yes, it can be a good way to stay in touch with people or even find those we've lost contact with in the past or to build great friendships with people we have in common who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away, but sometimes I do pine for the days when it wasn't such a large part of my life. Then on the other hand, I most certainly wouldn't be as happy or doing what I love had it not been. I suppose it's that double-edged sword.
    I wish you the best and so hope that we'll meet one day in person. I know this isn't goodbye as we'll still stay in touch and I thank you for your courage, your support and your friendship. Love you!

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    1. Lynn, thank you so much for your comment. I have felt like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders by turning it off. I wish I could express in better words why I felt driven to make this decision but I know without a doubt there must be a reason why. I will definitely be out in the social world commenting and connecting. This is not a goodbye as I still have my blog. I just needed to redirect some energy to other places. Thank you again for your friendship. Sherron

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  3. Sherron I commend you and I feel the exact same way. Bravo for being brave enough to completely pull the plug! Over the last few months, I've also found it more difficult to keep up with Facebook and commenting on other's posts. I have either just stopped all together or I'll just "like" a post just to let the person know I was at least there and saw what they did. It's not who I am to be that way either and left me feeling harried and not together as a person.

    Now with FB's constant changes, I barely get any views on what I do post unless I'm posting "live" status updates. I came to the realization that if people want to see me on FB, they'll just have to take part of me so I schedule all of my FB status' early in the morning for the entire day and am done by 7:30am. To spend so much time on FB and not even have it be in my Top 3 referrals just didn't make sense.

    I have been concentrating most of my efforts on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon and G+; as well as making more of an effort to go and read the actual blog post and comment there directly. I was actually going to pose a question on my social media soon about how many people actually read the post itself. We spend so much time finding the right words, telling our stories that go with the food and photography that we create, but are people actually reading what we write or just looking at the pretty picture? Scheduling my posts on FB and Twitter has helped me regain some of my time back-for myself and my family. I go on FB and other social media channels when I do have the time, not because I have to make sure I get more likes or comments.

    I know some will see your decision differently or personally feel like they’ve been betrayed. For some, it's their main source of income and they are trying to earn a living from their blogs. Many consider that being a success. But there are many ways to define success. In the end, we're all trying to do the same thing, share our love of food and cooking with others. It’s most gratifying and rewarding if you can do that and still find the time to live life as well. Life is too short to miss out on daily blessings.

    I wish you the best and I KNOW I'll still be seeing you on the other social media channels. :)

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    1. Carrie--You have brought tears to my eyes. I can see that you have felt it too and get where I am coming from. Thank you for your comment. It really touched me. It has been a few days now and I feel that the decision to quit was the right one. I am doing my best to connect with my friends that I left behind on Facebook through the other social outlets. I love Instagram and hope to stay very active there. I know I will see you around too! Thanks again, Sherron :)

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  4. Sherron, I applaud you, my friend! I've been thinking about deleting my FB account for months. The only reason I have not done it yet is that little element of doubt and the fact that I co-host a blogging event with friends and we share the links on FB, etc. I've been told to just leave up my account so I won't lose readers if I change my mind, but I really want to just hit Delete. Although I don't have a smartphone (yes, for real, and don't want one), I still am checking FB too much. I've tried the scheduling thing, as Carrie mentioned, and still do it when I'm going to be gone but for me that seems even more artificial and I tend to get less readers with those scheduled posts. (Can they sense I'm not really there?) I read a FB post (ironic, I know) from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday where she was talking about following YOUR dream not someone else's and I've been thinking back to my early dreams for my blog (and later blogS) and I don't think Facebook gives back nearly as much as I have to give to it. I really appreciate you sharing this decision with us all. I'm sending you all the best, Sherron! You know I will keep up with you via your blog and Twitter. I might be joining you in the non-Facebook ranks soon.

    xo,
    Shirley

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    1. Thank you so much Shirley for your comment. It means a lot to me. I value your friendship and support that you have so willingly given over the time we have known each other. It was so hard to break loose but I do feel so much better. It has been one week and honestly my blog is still functioning. LOL I was worried that it would affect my views and so on, but to be honest I felt that FB wasn't a big draw anyways and this has confirmed to me that I will be just fine. I WILL most definitely still be around visiting and commenting on the other social media outlets and keeping in touch with friends. Thank you again! Sherron

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  5. Sherron, you are a brave woman and I applaud you!!! I freaking hate Facebook, but I am sucked into that damn hole every single day! I wish that I could pull the plug, but I'm am afraid of what it would do to my blog, the communities that I network in and my friends that I keep up with from far away. It's so hard to keep up with it all. I was thinking the other day about how blissful my life was before Facebook came around. I had so much more time with my friends, kids and even sat down and watched television every once in a while. It feels like there is no time anymore. I'd love to change all that, too. I hope to see you around the other networks. Enjoy the peace and quiet, I'm kinda jealous. Maybe you will start a new FB rebellion. ;) xo~

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    1. Amee you and I seem to have been on the same "wave frequency" of late with our other interactions and thoughts. I appreciate your comment. This was so overwhelming of a choice for me to make but I can see that it resonated with so many people and maybe that is why I was inspired to do it and write about it. I feel as though a weight has been lifted from life and allowed me to step out from behind a computer screen and SEE again. I will most definitely be active and still blogging and we will stay connected. Thanks! Sherron

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  6. Sherron, I applaud you for doing this ... in a way I feel the same, wasting away so much time on facebook with little return, and yet, it's been a way of connecting with friends and meeting new foodies that I'm not quite ready to let go of yet. I am trying to find different ways to use it to help feed my other social media feeds. I feel like I'm spending more and more time and getting less and less out of it ... but yet I keep going. I can't let go because I can instantly connect or check on any of my distant friends so easily there. And I loved the foodie community we built so long ago ... and miss it so much! I hope we can stay in touch because you are one of my most admired foodies, a great inspiration and fabulous cook. I am wishing for a new (more REAL) place for all of us to meet up/share/connect/exchange ideas and recipes and love and support.

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    1. Oh Ann your comment just spoke to me. I have been feeling the same way. I was giving so much and getting less and less. It wasn't from the friends I had, it was more the WHOLE experience of FB. I felt like I was constantly digging for what I wanted to see. I ran out of time and my desire was shifting. I understand your comment about our community that we had in the beginning. I miss it too. I hope that through Instagram I can reconnect to our group of food bloggers that rode the highs and lows of our successes in the early days. Thank you for your comment and understanding and we will remain connected through other sources. I know it! Sherron

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  7. I'm proud of you Sherron! Having contemplated doing the same, I know how hard of a decision it must've been for you. Honestly, my business page is a constant source of frustration and disappointment. Repeatedly getting single digit "likes" and no "shares" on posts that I'm excited about it is heartbreaking. I don't know if and when I'll actually quit FB, but you've definitely shown me that it's possible. I too am trying to get more active on other social medias and have found Instagram to be particularly rewarding. Good luck going forward, I hope you enjoy your freedom and I'll definitely be seeing you around!

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    1. Thank you! My page was floundering despite any amount of time I invested in it. After a while I lost interest and eventually I was left with a bad taste in my mouth with the whole experience. Thank you staying connected. I found you on Instagram and will be enjoying your update. I love seeing the lives of friends in pictures and I can comment too. The best of both worlds. You comment means a lot to me and I appreciate that you took the time to reach out. Have a great day! Sherron

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  8. Sherron, bravo! Like I said to you on Twitter today, your post couldn't have come at a better time. When I was reading your words, I was nodding the whole way through and thinking to myself, "yes, this, exactly. It's how I feel all.the.time and it's exhausting." It's funny because there were a few years where I stopped using Facebook. Then, when I started blogging, I threw myself into social media and now I'm checking my phone and all my bazillion apps all day long. My husband is constantly telling me that I should spend time with him, our dog, our friends and family instead of constantly staring at a screen. I feel terrible about it but social media is an addiction, one that I'm now trying to wean myself off of. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you feel like you don't do anything well anymore, that everything is half-assed. I also know what you mean when you talk about the superficial relationships we build by "liking" each other's statuses, instead of sitting down with a human being and having a heart to heart conversation. Another aspect of social media that I HATE is how inferior it makes me feel about my life. Even though I know that we only post the best parts of ourselves through photos on Instagram and Facebook status updates, I can't help but think that my life looks crappy in comparison to everyone else's. That other people are better bakers, bloggers, writers, friends, partners, human beings than I am. I hate how it makes me jealous and competitive, instead of feeling happy for others and being inspired. I don't know if I have it in me to totally quit but I'm trying to stop checking my phone every five minutes to see if my photo got another "like" or comment. Thank you so much for writing this incredibly thoughtful, eloquent and honest post!

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    1. Nancy, thank you! Your words again just confirm to me that this feeling I have been carrying around was not a fluttering notion of wanting to run away. I am discovering that my personality was, like you mentioned, "addicted" to checking and rechecking status updates: mine and others. I grew wary and exhausted. I have learned that when I am done with something, I just need to move on and something else always opens up for me. I am enjoying my new found "time with the family". I feel like I am seeing life a bit differently. I am not writing my next status update while watching life pass me by but taking in all of the energy around me and allowing my senses to be in the moment. I am so glad that you left a comment and that we were able to connect through Twitter and my blog. Have a wonderful day! Sherron

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  9. To be honest, after reading this, I feel pretty special. I noticed you had commented on my blog (which is not the norm) and I wanted to come visit you too...because I really did feel we had connected just a tiny bit on Facebook. Then I read this post...and it's obvious you are not alone.

    I was never a big Facebooker but I had opened an account for both personal and business use many years ago. When I changed the name of my blog and Facebook had no facility at the time to change my account and I was forced to start over, well, I just left. Then in the ever fickle world of social media, the hordes started to abandon Twitter and moved to Facebook and I was encouraged to give it another shot. OK, did that and the truth is it's been a combination of good and bad.

    Good because I have connected with two very special people that had somehow slipped through the cracks of my life and they've again become great friends in real life. Good because I have been able to connect with my daughters from afar in a 'mom is still thinking about you and cooking for you' sort of way. They are still tickled when I do a post that includes a tidbit about them and are much more likely to notice on Facebook than anywhere else.

    Bad in the nonstop noise. The constant and too often meaningless and narcissistic quest for attention. I just had an epiphany today before I read your post. Someone I am ONLY virtual friends with is so obviously desperate for Facebook to be her one and only source of blog traffic and so does so many status updates constantly looking for attention that today I decided to sever the relationship we have. Not sever it entirely but to the point that I am no longer going to 'like' every thing she posts. Which made me think of how often I do that and how easy it is to get wrapped up in a tit for tat...you know, if we are friends I have to like what you publish right; even if your updates are driving me crazy? Wrong. I do not have to spend my precious time (not said as if mine is MORE precious...we all forget that it truly is) in this artificial popularity thing and really your kids are cute and all but no they are not cuter than mine or anyone else kids so I do not need to read EVERY DAMN THING THEY SAY. Oh, sorry, did I just yell?

    I'm not pulling the plug but I'm pulling away. But only if you promise to keep in touch! I mean that; for real and for reals. I'll promise you some salted caramel sauce? :)

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    1. Barb--I love you! You were one of the first people I thought of when I "pulled the plug" and I immediately went out to your social media outlets and followed everything. I was so excited to get your news feed in my email this morning because it allowed me to visit YOU in YOUR space and not rolling through a scroll of unwanted information. I have really enjoyed, and hope to continue to, enjoy your friendship. This interaction is what I have been longing for. Thank you so much! And yes, I will gladly and willingly accept any salted caramel sauce from you. Have the best day--you have made mine for sure!

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  10. I knew it! I hadn't seen anything in my feed so I looked and well... Sherron, I am sending you a virtual high five! You've put into words what I've been and I'm sure many others have been feeling for a while. Starting back on a journey of working full time again while still trying to keep the "dream alive" made me realize it's not the same world anymore. I've slowly started to take that step and deleted everyone from my personal account just so I could keep my sustainable page moving along... I did this late last year, but like you, today, these things don't feel the same. Connectivity is lost amongst many and I see some have agreed... the constant need for attention... each post, sifting through the LIKES of it all... it's not why we ventured into this world in the first place. Thanks Sherron for opening your world to us as you did. I'm so happy we got to connect. You're a bright star Sherron, thank you!!

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    1. Angie--you're the best. Thank you for your kind words. They mean the world to me. Let me know how I can stay in touch with you. Are you on Instagram? I am making a better effort to get out in the cyber world and really connect with heart felt responses instead of a simple like. It has been an interesting few weeks reading the comments and support. I am inspired by so many that to really connect I needed to disconnect. I hope that make sense. Please keep in touch. Thank you again for your comment. Sherron

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  11. You are a brave woman. I can't do it, I have finally reconnected with family in other states, friends from school and since I have no friends in Utah, my FB is all I have (except for my hubby). I'm so happy it works for you and wishing you all the best.

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