Sunday, February 14, 2016

The tie that binds...

...or not.

I have finally cut the cord. I have ventured out into that brave old world on my own. For the first time in a looong time, I feel disconnected from family and friends in a way that I haven't felt since, oh, 2006? And it is completely by choice. You see, for Lent I decided to give up Facebook. And, so far, I am okay with that decision. 

I have given up Facebook twice before in recent years. The first time lasted about five days. The second time about a day and a half. Both times, I pulled away from it because it actually caused me angst. I don't know whether that angst stemmed from the inferiority complex that developed on the heels of what I saw as everyone else's epic adventures, (isn't anyone else's life just mundane sometimes, or is it just me?) or from the fact that it was just too much information to have swirling around in my brain at any one time. (After all, I find it hard to keep track of my own life at times, let alone others'.) In any case, this time around is different.

Giving up Facebook this time has nothing to do with feeling inferior, or overwhelmed, or anything negative really. Instead, it has more to do with possibilities, growth, and discovery. I am of an age that I can actually remember life before Facebook. However, I seem to be having a hard time recalling what I actually did instead of Facebook. How did I spend all those stolen moments when I wasn't scanning through my newsfeed, peeping into other people's lives like a socially licensed voyeur? The fact is that I don't know, and that's what I aim to find out.

Driving the farm roads two days ago, looking to where the crystal blue sky meets the frozen fields of a Wisconsin winter and seeing a lonely strip of power lines marching down the road beside me, I was struck with a profound sense that there is a whole other world - or alternate reality - going on around me that I could not see. Somewhere out there in the ether there were conversations taking place, plans being made, stories being told that I was missing. That made me both sad but at the same time relieved.

There is a sense of freedom I feel having given myself the permission to NOT keep on top of all of that. And, having given myself that permission, I feel strangely less distracted. Since I cannot look at Facebook I am not constantly thinking about looking at it. Or, if I do think of it, I dismiss it as not an option. So, at this point, I feel just a bit more present in my real life.

So far it's been four full days without that go-to time-filler. I have missed it certainly. Like any addiction, you notice it once it's gone. All those moments in the day when I have been between chores or activities, when I would have reached for my phone, I have had to stop myself and find something else to do. Admittedly, there have been moments of twiddling my thumbs, unsure what to do with myself. But there have also been moments of conversation with my kids that would have never taken place before. And, whether they like it or not, they now have my full attention. I have read more articles and books, as those are easy to grab in down moments. I have cleaned a tad more. I have helped the kids with their projects a bit more.

Increased productivity is a fantastic side-effect of this little experiment, and if it continues I will be quite pleased with myself. What I wonder at more, though, are the moments when I haven't done anything at all. I have just allowed myself to stare out the window and be lost in my thoughts. What a great feeling!

Staring out the window is how I found this guy yesterday. Usually one of the first signs of Spring, this robin made his appearance on one of the coldest days this winter!

I will be curious to see how this all unfolds. One thing for sure, though, is that with no Facebook I have more time for writing, and I have missed it. I plan to spend more time blogging and writing in my journal. There is a lot to catch up on: the four-month long temp job that just ended, some epic runs of my own that I have had since last year, and of course race plans for this year! More to come on all of that. In the meantime, the negative windchill of today has driven me indoors - so ten miles on the treadmill, here I come!

Happy Running!

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