Friday, February 1, 2013

Forty Days Facebook Free

I was raised in a Catholic family, so the concept of giving up something for Lent isn't new to me. Besides traditionally giving up meat on Fridays, the idea is to give up something else that is supposed to be a sacrifice. According to my sixth grade teacher (who was a nun, so I trust her word on the matter whole-heartedly), you could also decide to do something instead. She said the purpose of Lent wasn't to give up regular coke and switch to diet because it was healthier. The idea is to give up something in order to become a better person and get closer to God, or to do something that would help others and therefore bring you closer to God.

It's been a while since I really attempted to give up something/do something, but this year I'm going to give it a shot, thanks to a short conversation we had last week at a family get-together. The conversation was basically a "would you rather" scenario, the question being would you rather give up chocolate or Facebook for Lent. If I'm honest, both would be an extreme challenge for me. As soon as I open an internet browser, the first thing I type into the address bar (whether intentionally or not) is "face." The autocomplete immediately fills in Facebook and, if it was my intention to go there, I just hit enter and I'm sucked in for a minimum of twenty minutes and a maximum of... well... I don't think I want to discuss the maximum amount of time I've spent on Facebook. As for chocolate... it's chocolate. It keeps me sane. I keep it in my desk at school, for crying out loud.

I'm okay with my addiction to chocolate, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I am not okay with my addiction to Facebook (damn it, I have it open right now!). Facebook is a time-sucker. What else could I be doing with that time? I could be spending time with my husband (not to be confused with sitting in the same room with him while I browse Facebook and he watches Netflix). I could be working on my manuscript. I could be gussying up some lesson plans. I could be reading. There's any number of far better ways to spend time that getting sucked into the Facebook world and all of these pseudo-lives that people lead there.

Which leads me to my Lenten resolution.

It's actually forty-six days. Apparently the six Sundays of Lent don't count because they are supposed to be mini-Easters or something. Actually, Sundays can be used as "cheat days" for your Lenten observation, though I won't be doing that. You learn something new all the time.
At this point, I'm not willing to give up Facebook entirely. Quite honestly, I often use Facebook the way I believe it is meant to be used - to keep up with family and friends that you don't get to see so often. But I am willing to try giving it up for a while. Can I live without Facebook? We're going to find out.

I should mention, for the purpose of full disclosure, that I will take the five minutes every once in a while to keep up my school's drama club page because that's part of my job. I'm going to do this at school where I won't be tempted to look at my personal Facebook.

I think by giving up Facebook, I'm doing what is meant to be done during Lent, 21st century style. I think my time will be better spent dedicated to my real life, to my husband, my family, my students, my faith, and myself. I'm giving up Facebook and replacing that with a focus on my real life and my 13 for '13.

I'm not giving up the Intenet as a whole, because quite frankly, that would be impossible with my job. I use the internet daily for school. Also, I love keeping up with this blog, and I think it's healthy for my writer's brain. Facebook is what will have to go.

You may wonder why wait until February 13th? Why not start now? The honest answer is that I'm not ready. I have several people that I communicate with exclusively through Facebook and I need to establish another form on contact that isn't a phone because I HATE talking on the phone, even more than I hate texting. (Yeah, I'm weird. I'm cool with that.) Also, I'm one of those people that has to set a date for a major life change in order for it to happen, which makes me feel kind of stupid, but it's whatevs.

I feel like the first couple of days (weeks?), it's gonna go like this everytime someone says, "Hey, did you see that thing on Facebook?"

 Wish me luck!