A few things have come to my attention lately that have me questioning my choices. This Summer, after our vacation, we did nothing. I am a fun planner mom for our breaks from school, but this last half of the school year was rough. We were SO busy and then Jason got a job in Asheville and I had to take on more. It about broke me. Maybe it did because we stayed home and never made it to the zoo or the beach and rarely the pool in town. While we were home we watched a little more tv than normal and I was either on my phone or reading books. I was in full-on escape mode. I drained my battery so much playing games that it now trickle charges and is dead before dinner. The last week or two gearing up for the start of the new school year I finally became aware of how much I was on my phone. I couldn’t walk by it sitting on the island without checking it. If I have a second of waiting or a stop light or a commercial it is in my hands. While someone is talking to me; my husband, my kids, my mom, I’m on it looking at fb, my blog reader, playing a game, or reading into the wee hours because (hey!) my kindle app syncs to my real kindle!
Yesterday I stumbled upon an article that talks about 7 Amazing Things that Happened When I Got Off Facebook. It had some interesting points beyond “I actually played with my kids”. Go, read it. I’ll wait.
Did you read it?
The first point is her relationship with her husband improved. Jason and I heart technology and the internet. We both have smartphones, tablet, ipad, laptops, not to mention neat-o gadgets like the Chromecast. We are always hooked up. After my Summer fog, I looked up to notice that we don’t talk TO each other much. We talk at our phones and sortof listen to what we’re saying, but it isn’t deep and it’s mostly kid stuff or errands that need doing. Even if we are watching a movie together, I’m on my phone and he’s on his tablet. We’re passively together. Our communication is breaking down and we’re beginning to snap at each other and not be as gentle with each other as we’d like. Sarcasm is running rampant and our connection is a bit fragile.
Her second point is about looking people in the eyes. I have noticed that it makes me uncomfortable to look people in the eye. I’m not lying to them or uninterested in what they are saying, yet it is difficult to hold their gaze. That doesn’t happen on fb, which has become my sole means of interaction with people. I’m no longer used to it. It’s almost like they are penetrating my soul instead of just listening to me.
Her third point is she started having real friendships again. That’s a given, but what she said about “you can’t grow real friendships over social media”, I’ve found to be true. I can somewhat maintain the shell of a friendship, but more than likely, I’ll end up destroying it. Why? Because friendships need real connection and one phrase taken the wrong way no matter the intention can cause a rift that’s hard to come back from, especially if you can’t make it right by meeting face-to-face. Even a long time, solid friendship can be hurt by posts to fb.
The last point that really resonated with me (they were all good) is that her business grew. She says it’s because she has more time, but I equate it to having more creative energy. I don’t technically have a business, but I used to blog. It’s been a while since I was consistently sharing on here and Mamabluebird. Mostly because it’s so much easier to just upload a bunch of photos in real time or share snippets of what’s going on right then.
Have you heard of Timehop? It’s a neat app that takes your fb posts and lists them from one year ago (up to whenever you joined fb) on that day. “It’s like #tbt everyday!” I’ve been using it for a little while and although it was fun to see that 5 years ago we got engaged or the adorable pictures of our kids as babies for the most part, my status updates have contributed nothing to the internet. “Watching the Bee movie with the kids.”, “Going to Ikea today!”, and amazing epiphanies like, “Nutmeg in my scrambled eggs! Yum!”. I’m sure those things make others feel like we are connecting, but I blog (or I used to) to share my life with others and hopefully help them if they are in a similar situation. I miss doing that.
One last thing I’ve noticed is that I enjoy looking at fb. Maybe too much. For the minute it takes me to read through what people have posted I learn a lot. The people I follow post articles and funnies, they post pictures and rants, when I’m done I have a smile on my face, because I’ve gotten a bit of a connection with the world and my friends. Then, I’m back to reality; waiting in a carline, listening to whining kids, standing in the hot sun at the park while the kids play. I’ve disconnected from the present and come back to it a little depressed. A high and then a low. How many times a day do I do that to myself? Enough to make me have a love/hate relationship with facebook. Enough to make me unproductive due to energy depletion. Enough to make me want to put my phone down and break that connection. I haven’t made any decisions. I’m not threatening to deactivate my account or anything like that, but I am trying to be a little more present. I’m trying to notice that knee-jerk reaction to check my phone and resist it. A day or so of resisting gives me a more even feeling, not high or low. I like it! Along with feeling a little more productive and a little more present. I hope to spend more time here as well.