Thursday, November 19, 2015

Facebook Sabbatical

I’ve been using Facebook for several years.  At first I thought it was a good way to keep in touch with friends and family.  I soon found it to be a way to meet other people with similar interests, triathlon in particular.  I also saw it as an opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with others.  Unfortunately, Facebook has its pitfalls for someone like myself who battles with being a workaholic.  I have obsessive compulsive tendencies that are hard to keep in check in a Facebook world.  I would find myself checking Facebook regularly throughout the day.  Since I was retired at the time, I didn’t really take note of the impact of doing this.  Since I have started working again, it has become very clear to me.  

In the last couple of months I have realized the value and importance of prioritization.  I have a new grandson.  There is a priority that is filled with wonderment for me.  Watching this little guy enter the world and seeing him grow on a daily basis is a reminder that I still have room to grow.  I also want him to know his grandpa.  My wife and best friend deserves my undivided attention.  It is too easy to take the person who means everything to you for granted.  Distractions and unnecessary habits detract from what’s really important in life.  I have two daughters and now two sons whom I would do anything for.  I also have a commitment to my health which I have focused on the sport of triathlon due to my need to be goal oriented.    And, I have a job.  Fortunately, I have found a job with no real pressure.  I can channel my passion for older adults in a meaningful way.  Since it is a job, however, I now have some control over the time I spend in the pursuit of my passion.  I really should strive to maintain my commitment to the vulnerable elderly to 40 hours a week.  In the past, I went way off balance in this regard.

Balance….being a grandpa is having a nice pull on my recognition of this need.  Priorities….In the past, everything was a priority.  In fact, I have rarely been able to truly prioritize.  This is no longer healthy for me, and I come back to the discussion of Facebook.  Is there really a need to communicate with people via this mechanism?  What happened to actually talking to people?  Do we need feedback on everything we do in life?  It seems nice when a bunch of people “like” something that we post, but is is necessary?  What matters is that I “like” what I am doing and talking about.  

One of the truly unhealthy aspects of Facebook has to do with the fact that we can easily be reminded of the priorities of others.  It is human nature to make comparisons.  We all want to be loved and cared about.  Facebook becomes an artificial way of receiving attention, but it can also be a reminder that we are not as important to others that we wish to receive attention from.  The psychological aspects of Facebook continue to intrigue me, but I think that I’d rather be intrigued as an outside observer, rather than as someone who occasionally sees the smiling faces of those who don’t care about me.

I do have a blog that I rarely use anymore.  It was meant to be a place where I could share my thoughts, ideas, feelings….a journal of sorts.  I think that it’s time for me to go back to that space to share things.  If people choose to read my blogs, that’s ok.  I’m inclined to disable comments, as that’s really not the purpose.  If someone knows me and wants to talk about what I’ve written, they can call me, or ask me to have a cup of coffee.  Whatever happened to getting together for a cup of coffee?  

So, I will be taking a sabbatical from Facebook.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to it.  At the very least, I won’t even ask that question until the new year, which is 6 weeks away.  Maybe by then I won’t even remember what Facebook was?