So last week I did the unthinkable. I took down my Facebook. Oh the horror. What's funny is the reaction was like I had done something crazy. Lots of people asking "why??" Well, here's why I broke up with Facebook. If you've read any of my previous blogs, you know that I'm not a huge fan of our country's obsession with technology. I was already frustrated with how preoccupied everyone is with their Facebook, their Twitter, their cell phones, etc. I've already said 100 times how I wish we all would slow down, LOOK UP (both at God and just plain in the opposite direction of our phones) and spend more time with one another in person. I already said way back when I went to Honduras that I was envious of their simpler, slower lifestyle. And with the grief I was (and am) experiencing over the passing of my mom, I only felt these things even stronger. I yearned even more for more face to face, in person contact. I wished people would slow down and realize that half the things they are doing that keep them so "busy" are unnecessary. That when it comes down to it, all that really matters is the relationships that we have with one another. In real life. Not behind a computer screen.
Besides all that, Facebook has the awful ability of making you compare your life to others. You can scroll for hours through other people's posts and by the end, wonder if your life measures up? Except it's all a facade. Everyone's life looks perfect on Facebook. Or at least that's how most try to appear. Look at how much fun I have... look at all the things I do... look at what my spouse/bf/gf did for me... and on and on and on. Because that's what it's all about... me me me me me. It's the most blatant display of narcissism I've ever seen. Not to mention how obsessed it makes you become. Everything has to be posted on FB... every thought, every place you go, every picture you take. It's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you do before bed. And I was a part of all of that. I did NOT like that. Yes, it did help me stay connected with friends and family that are far away. And yes, it did help me to feel not so isolated since I am single and don't have a roommate. But that unfortunately was not enough to outweigh the others. I don't want to be so obsessed with a computer/phone application. I don't want to overshare my life. I don't want to constantly be thinking about me, me, me. I want to connect with people in REAL life. I want to spend my time and attention doing other things.
Do you know that a man pulled out a gun on a public bus in San Francisco and waved it around for several minutes and NO ONE noticed because they were all looking down at their phones and tablets?? That really happened. Right before he shot someone in the back of the head and killed him. Then people looked up.
Seriously people. What is wrong with us?
So that's the gist of it. I just decided that I didn't want to be a part of it even if everyone else I know is. I knew that it would mean that I was out of the loop. And sure enough, within the last week, I missed the news that a friend had a baby and that another friend had passed away. Both news items eventually got to me (by text), but of course there was a delay. And I do have to wait for time to deprogram my brain from thinking "I should post this!" every 5 minutes. But that's okay, I'll get there. And I know if I want this blog and my writing to really take off, I will eventually have to make those little buttons up in the corner actually connect to something. But who knows, maybe by then I'll be such a famous writer, that I can hire a social media person to do that. ;)
That wasn't the only revelation that happened this past week though. Since I got back from VA after my mom's passing, I had been thinking a lot about how I wanted to just focus on my writing and my dog boarding and not work a "regular" job anymore. It even seemed like now was the time to do that since I had the biggest influx of freelance projects that I've ever had. I hesitated though because I wasn't sure that I'd be able to make enough money to pay my bills. I didn't really do anything about it one way or the other, I just focused on getting through each day since the grief still makes every task feel like I'm moving through mud.
Then out of the blue, I found out that I will get a small stipend from my mom's retirement fund every month for the next two years. It's not much, but it's just enough to help me take that step. It gives me time to focus completely on my writing... my freelance clients, the newspaper, this blog, new clients and hopefully, a book. It was a clear sign that this IS the time for me to do this.
And how appropriate since my "new" attitude since my mom's passing is to do things NOW, not later. I'm not as afraid as I used to be, not as preoccupied with stupid things, more apt to take chances. It's like I have some sort of superpower where I realize what life is really about and I want to run out and do everything I've always wanted to while I still can. It's funny because I remember posting on Facebook (ironic huh?) one time that I wanted to live in real life the life that I lived in my head. The other day, I was unpacking at my new apartment and was putting away the books that I had brought back from my mom's house. She had lots of those journals that are supposed to be for mothers to their daughters, or grandmothers to their grandchildren and she hadn't written in any of them. But as I put the Purpose Driven Life journal up on the shelf, I looked inside and sure enough, there was her handwriting inside. I sat down right there on the floor and read every page. It was like she was talking to me. It was so nice to see her handwriting and "hear" her voice in my head.
I learned things about her that I never knew. I learned just how alike we really were. She said she started lots of things and didn't finish them. ME. She said she committed to things and then didn't follow through. ME. She said she felt like she had just floated through her life. ME. But what was the saddest to read was how many times she said she let fear rule her life. That she didn't do things that she couldn't control because she was too afraid, that she had so many good ideas in her head that she never did anything with in real life. It made me sad for her but it also made an alarm go off in my head. This was what I had already been thinking since she passed away, but magnified. I CANNOT end up like that. I don't want to be in my 60's and realize I've never done half the things I wanted to. I want to live now while I can. I want to travel. I want to write. I want to learn new things. See new places. I want to live. Not just think about living. Or play on computers and phones all day. I want to take chances. If not for me, then for my mom.
Thank you God and mom for providing a way for me.
Thank you mom for reminding me what I need to do just like you always did.
I promise I will do it for the both of us.