31 October 2015

One month. Two challenges. Closing Facebook.

I turned two decisions into "challenges" during the month of October. I intended to tell you about them as they were happening, but I instead let life get in the way. Still, I challenged myself from 1 October to 30 October and succeeded. It's a bigger deal than I anticipated, with the most significant takeaway being that I now know I can (and should) challenge myself to do more. It feels so good to succeed.

Challenge 1: No Facebook. 

Facebook began to annoy me more and more. Generally, I'm there for the humor. I'm there for the pictures. I'm there for the marking of personal milestones. I'm not there for the politics. I'm not there for virtual Mary Kay. And I'm definitely not there for the memes - because (and I think we can all agree) the memes on Twitter and Instagram are better.

I reached a point in September when I would scroll, scoff, scroll and scoff. I would close the app and feel annoyed. I was annoyed that I was looking to Facebook to entertain me. I was annoyed that Facebook failed to entertain me. I was annoyed that I kept repeating that cycle.

So I stopped.

I signed out of Facebook September 30th on all my devices. I challenged myself to not log in for 30 days. (I didn't want to miss your kids and pets in Halloween costumes).

It was difficult in the beginning. I had to find a new way to dawdle before getting out of bed in the morning. (Thanks Twitter!) I had to find a new way to dawdle before falling asleep. (Thanks books!) I had to find ways to keep up with my friends. (Thanks phone!) All of that happened easily enough. The most difficult part was actually breaking the habit of reaching my for phone and opening the app. I often didn't catch myself until I was prompted for my password. If I hadn't actually signed out - if I had just intended to stop checking Facebook - I wouldn't have made it a single afternoon. I'm not proud of that. I dare say I'm ashamed of it.

Let's be clear, I enjoy Facebook. I enjoy checking in and commenting and seeing what everyone is doing. I enjoy seeing that people are doing well or at least working on doing well. I like my friends and I take pride in maintaining even the simplest of relationships. At the same time, I've created some habits over the last few years that I don't consider beneficial or positive.

I didn't like checking Facebook multiple times an hour. I didn't like being so on top of my feed that I felt I didn't miss anything. I didn't like how important Facebook was to me for making plans or catching up with friends. Checking Facebook was more common in my everyday life than almost any other behavior or activity. That's not what I want for myself.

Not to say it's all or nothing for me. That's not realistic. I need rules that I can follow - limits to my voyeuristic behavior. My first step was signing out. Over the next week or so I'll tell you what it was like. Bear with me. It's been a while since I shared. I might be a little rusty.