Being Off Facebook: Good, Bad And Tedious

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: yes, I will publish this post on my Facebook, so feel free to chuckle at the irony. All done? Good.

I don’t know why I called the post that when the results are mostly good. Turn of phrase, really. It’s my blog, so there.

It’s been a week since I went off my social media (mostly) and while that doesn’t seem like much, I know for a fact there are people for whom that’s a long time – and that I am one of them. I used to get offline at my Mum’s, as she steadfastly believes WiFi is harmful to the brain and refuses to get one (there is a USB modem), but nowadays the data on my British phone costs the same within EU; so I didn’t get offline this Christmas. Sadly. I guess I had to fix that!

A selfie of Rita gazing at the camera with a half-smile while wearing a pink bowtie with navy blue polka dots and a black top.
Christmas: didn’t get offline, did get a bowtie. Worth it!

What changed with going offline?

  1. I was calmer right away. My job(s) carry considerable tensions on their own (I work in a special school as well as being a self-employed artist), so any stress reduction is very, very welcome. I expected that would happen, but not the extent.
  2. I missed Instagram soonest. I guiltily flicked through during first two days of this media fast, turning it on for two seconds and then switching it off. On the flipside, I’ve been taking more pictures, even though I can’t post them!
  3. I got lonely! I called my Mum a lot this week, definitely more than usual, I also reached out to my brother and friends. And even though I listened to podcasts before, now they’re a voice that I’m inviting into solitude. When my flatmate was away, I was putting the music on very loudly to chase the feeling away.
  4. Books! My book reading habits made a slow reappearance. Missing the written word and the information is definitely A Thing. I also read my favourite newsletters with more focus (Mark Manson and Frugalwoods currently, if you were wondering).
  5. Feelings! Whenever I experience discomfort I have to deal with it like a grown human because There Is Nothing To Do On My Phone. Only so much email I can read. Although sometimes I can lose myself in some photo editing, but it’s not an obsessive or frequent activity. So when things feel Not Good, it has to be journaling or meditating or exercise or talking to another human or any other way of Dealing With It (spoiler alert: also been cutting processed sugar, so not eating my troubles just now).
  6. Poetry. I started leaving for work a bit early, just so I can get a seat on the Tube and write some poems. I probably wrote more poems this week than in the last six months or so. Having a dedicated time and a lack of other options decidedly helps. I also managed to write down some comedy monologues – if you open the door, things come in!
  7. Productivity has benefitted, no question. Recently I applied for an artistic residency four (FOUR) days before the deadline. For a person like myself, who is no stranger to frantically pressing “send” at 23.59 before the deadline turns the potential application into a pumpkin-flavoured disappointment, that is a Big Thing.
  8. I’m making other changes. It’s January and I have a couple of important months ahead of me. Can I obtain British citizenship or is it too late? Can I stay in my current employment or is it not feasible? I have already made some decisions on several fronts, and I usually tend to procrastinate over those while Scrolling Through Stuff. The New Year’s energy likely helps (new beginnings!), but so does the clarity of not having the online escape.
  9. My brain has slowed down. That is a good thing. My brain usually straddles the line between “lightning fast” and “all the directions, all at once”, and then it beats itself to death with its own grey matter. I never ever want to take cocaine, for Reasons.
  10. I’m up-to-date with most housework. I have reasonable amounts of dishes to clean, and while the laundry isn’t folded, it has been done regularly and properly. I’m hardly perfect in that respect, but…. it’s been easier.
A picture of a lunchbox filled with cooked salmon on bed of rice, with visible sugar snaps, broccoli and cherry tomatoes.
This is some serious foodporn, amirite

I do miss my social media, but there is a strange satisfaction in holding off checking them. I even went on Facebook event pages a couple times when there was no other way, copied the hours and address and exited without scrolling through my timeline or checking anything. Guess resistance can feel good… Maybe it is a little tedious, stopping myself every time I would have accessed the easy pleasure of reading through people’s lives (and links!). But so far the results have been worth it.

I have as of this writing 72 notifications on my Facebook. I wanted to check it today as I’ll have little time tomorrow, but maybe should hold out for a hundred…?

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