I’ve never observed lent before. Thought about it, but I’ve always missed the start and didn’t feel like starting in the middle. In fact, maybe it’s called Lenten. I’m not sure. I’m curious about the history but too tired to read this website Google served me up. I’m guessing it’s because 40 is significant. Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for 40 days, Moses talked to God on the mountain for 40 days, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights when Noah was on that animal cruise ship. 40% of unemployed people have stopped looking for jobs. Oh wait, no, that’s totally unrelated. OR IS IT?
Well anyway, this Lent/Lenten/40-days-before-Easter came right about the time I realized I have a huge problem with social media. Yes, I know, cliche and boring AGAIN. I’m sorry. But I decided what better way to ensure I do it than to tie it to this already very well defined time period when people are giving things up. Honestly, I saw someone in the Smooth Collie Facebook group announce they were going to be off FB for 40 days because of Lent and I was inspired. So, I just YOLO’d right off. I believe in giving things up, as it reminds me of the good and bad aspects of said thing, and allows me to decide if I want to engage with it again and if so, how to be more responsible. Plus, how hard can it be to stay off FB and Twitter for 40 days? (Oh my gosh 40 days. I’ll admit, it sounded like a lot.)
So, here are the rules:
- No Facebook and Twitter posts and browsing of posts.
- Facebook and Twitter direct messaging allowed because that’s the only way I have of communicating with many of my former coworkers.
- Instagram is allowed (unless it becomes a problem), because I don’t have many friends and can’t waste as much time and/or get as envious on it.
- Linkedin is allowed because I need to GET A JOB ALREADY. Ahem.
- Goodreads is allowed because READING IS LEARNING. (At least, the way I usually do it?)
- Redirect set up on my computer so if I absentmindedly try to go to either of those it’ll redirect me here or to Khan Academy.
It’s been six days.
Six. Brutal. Days.
Actually today has been the easiest. I think my Facebooking spirit has been broken.
Here are the pros and cons I’ve discovered so far.
- WOWWWW I really go to Facebook a LOT. I legitimately would go there without realizing it the first day or two. I kept being confused about why I had just opened up a tab with my website until I realized I had tried to go to Facebook and had been redirected. It was strangely frustrating and simultaneously gratifying to be trolling myself so well and so often. The gratifying part wore off.
- I’ve been getting more done. Last week and the week before I have been terribly unproductive again (as you may or may not have noticed from my lack of learning experiment status updates), so it was nice to be so angry at my computer for not letting me go to Facebook that I’d get up and get something done for realsies.
- I’ve been connecting with people one on one a TON more. Like, I’ll want to go to Facebook SO MUCH that I’ll just be like, “OKAY FINE, I’m going to message/email so and so cause I haven’t for a long time and learn what’s going on in their life.” I’m not going to lie, I’m super out of date, but I’m wondering by the end if I’ll have less broad knowledge of what’s “going on” and more of a deep, narrow focus on individual’s lives? Or maybe not. I’M HOPEFUL, THOUGH.
- Devin has actual news for me. This sounds rude because IT IS, but also 100% of our conversations usually go, “Did you see/hear about – “, “YES I KNEW THAT HOURS AGO.” In fact, it’s hilarious because at this point he’ll start, “Did you see, oh yeah I’m sure you did,” and I’ll say, “What?”, and he then drops this insane bomb I had NO IDEA ABOUT because NO FACEBOOK. Ahem. It keeps happening when I talk to people, which I guess means they get the joy of telling me, and I am actually interested in listening again because I don’t know what they’re going to have news on.
- I’m not living vicariously through other people. This feels like a con (which I’ll cover later), but really it’s a pro. Not only am I not getting envious or depressed about all the cool things other people are doing, but I can’t enjoy those cool things either? Which means I have to just go do my own cool things. Which is interesting, I never thought about that. Like, I’m not going to lie, every time I see someone do something awesome and I feel bitter, there’s a part of me that things, “Ugh well I guess I can’t do that right now cause THEY just did that and it’d make me look like a copycat!” So I’m not feeling the bitterness and also I can do whatever because I have no idea if I’m “copying” someone. (Also clearly I’m not cause I don’t know they’re doing it?)
- I’m reading more. If I don’t want to do actual work like chores or math or blogging, I end up reading. Reading has now become my Facebook stand-in. Which means reading seems more fun because it’s now been elevated to “that fun thing you do when you’re being bad and slacking off.” Which is a pretty great low to have, if I do say so myself. Benjamin Franklin would be proud.
- I FEEL SO OUT OF TOUCH. Seriously. I’m going insane. Every time Devin tells me something I just think, “AHH WHAT ELSE AM I MISSING?!?!?” I legit had a dream where I missed this big thing in my best friend’s life because I wasn’t on Facebook. I fully expect by the time I get back on that all my friends will have gotten married, taking honeymoons to exotic places, bought houses, and had at least three children. In forty days. IT COULD HAPPEN.
- It has made my stir-crazy stay at homeness SO BAD. Devin came home on Thursday and I just yelled, “I’M SO BORED I DO THE SAME THING EVERY DAY I CAN’T LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK SO I HAVE TO GET A JOB.” But, as I mentioned in the pros, I think that when someone else accomplishes something, I feel like I accomplished something too? Just by…observing it? I don’t really know how to make sense of this yet, but I think that even if I don’t “like” what they’ve done it makes me feel like I was somehow involved. Maybe it has to do with what they say about goals – if you tell someone your goal you’re less likely to actually do it because you got the endorphins of accomplishing the goal by saying what your goal was instead of getting them when you completed it. *shrug*
- I mean, there is some legit information I wish I had? I don’t know if that’ll go away again. Like, I want to know what the price of beef is right now in the Oregon Homesteader Group is, and what horses were posted for the auction. But really, I wouldn’t be able to get either of those things, so it’s probably for the best.
- I keep wanting to post quotes AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO DO IT. It’s hard. Like, I actually emailed my dad a quote which I never do because I’d just post it on Facebook for public attention. I keep wanting to share how I accomplished a thing or how cool x is, but I can’t unless I want to write a blog post about it. IT’S HARD.
Since this will be the first full week of Facebook/Twitterness, I’m excited to see what happens. I anticipate more productivity. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW LONG FORTY DAYS IS, THOUGH.
I wonder if I’ll want to go back to Facebook afterwards. I legitimately feel like I’m cold turkeying an addiction.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, look at the signs of addiction:
- The person takes the substance and cannot stop – I mean CLEARLY if I have to BLOCK my access to Facebook and I’m still accidentally going there…
- Withdrawal symptoms – “There are cravings, bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment.” SO MUCH YES.
- Addiction continues despite health problem awareness – well, it’s not healthy…and who knows, might contribute to a psychological health problem? LIKE JEALOUSY?
- Social and/or recreational sacrifices – I’m not sure about this. But I’m betting there was at least one time I didn’t go on a walk or somesuch because I wanted to get up to date on Facebook. I guess looking at Facebook WHILE at a social setting might classify.
- Maintaining a good supply – this is definitely one reason why I maintain as many friends as I do on Facebook.
- Secrecy and solitude – I mean, late night Facebooking under the covers as to not wake up Devin…
- Denial – I never thought I needed to give up Facebook because I’m not as bad as other people…
ANYWAY. Are you participating in Lent? What are you giving up and/or doing (positively) to observe it?