“My name is ______________ and I’m a Facebook-holic.” This is the FA (Facebookholics Anonymous) mantra, or it would be if such a thing existed in real life. Until last week, I was one. Except now I’m not.
Unlike alcoholics who are classed as, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” I can say with conviction that, “Once a Facebookholic, always a Facebookholic,” is not necessarily true. I know. After all the benefits I’ve received since I ditched it, I’m not considering ever using it again, nor do I have any inclination/craving/desire/urge to do so.
One night last week I decided to deactivate my account. I don’t know what prompted me to do it, I just know that I didn’t think twice about it. I pressed the button, turned off my computer, sighed deeply with relief and had the best night’s sleep in months.
The next morning when I woke up I thought, ‘That’s it, today is the day!’ I logged in, posted a farewell message on my wall and promptly deleted my account. The feeling that I got as I pressed that button is indescribable. Maybe the closest word I can think of to convey how I felt was ‘free,’ or perhaps, ‘liberated.’
When my friends and other people I know found out, their response was generally, “I wish I could do that!” Although I laughed and said, “But you CAN!” what I really wanted to do was punch them in the face and say, “For fuck’s sake, nobody MAKES you sign up for Facebook, nor does anybody hold a gun to your head and tell you that you can’t close it whenever you want. Have some fucking self-control and make your own fucking decisions. Stop being a fucking lemming!” Maybe next time I will say that.
It’s weird, but I really didn’t consider that anyone would never be able to contact me again. For starters, the most important people in my life have my phone number and/or email and/or know where I live. If they really are my friend (as opposed to a ‘Facebook friend,’ which is another thing entirely!), they will make the effort. To say you’re too lazy to email is a lame excuse; in fact, many people write longer messages in Facebook Messenger than they do in an email! And if you want to be old-school, you could actually come and knock on my door and see if I’m home. Anyone else remember the days before mobile/cell phones when you drove around town to all the places your friends would hang out because you know eventually you’d find them? Exactly.
It’s the year 2015; you can literally find out anything about anyone. A Google search, a phone call… gee, you could even venture out if you can tear yourself away from your computer/iPhone screen and SPEAK to someone. Ask them if they’ve see who it is you’re looking for. Ask them if they know how you could get in contact with the person. I refuse to believe that Facebook is the ONLY way to keep in contact with people who are spread all over the globe.
As for all the things I’ve started doing with all my free time… here are just a few:
- learning Japanese consistently and actually enjoying it;
- reading books I’ve been meaning to read for two years;
- sitting in silence just enjoying the peace without anything to distract me;
- writing long letters (yes, actual snail-mail letters!) to people I haven’t spoken to for ages; and
- going to bed early without checking my phone 6 million times to see if anyone has ‘Liked’ my status.
Facebook was just the first of many things I’ve suddenly decided to ditch from my life. It seems that choice started a trend of getting rid of crap that no longer serves me or that I no longer enjoy that much. Funnily enough, ALL of them involve ridiculous time-wasting apps like Instagram and Pinterest. GONE! How do I feel? Fucking amazing. I feel like I have my life back. And I couldn’t care less what someone else is doing and whether they feel like telling the world about it on Facebook. I have so many thoughts a day, most of which are either dead-fucking boring or completely inappropriate and unfit to be anywhere but carefully tucked away in my brain.
What do I say now?
“My name is ______________ and I’m a Life-aholic.” To me, that’s the best type of ‘holic.’