Something that’s been ruminating in my head for a little while is this obsession with constant connection that we all seem to have. I know I’m guilty of it. I have Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WeChat, What’s App, Line, iMessage, Facetime, Skype, my WordPress blog, and of course, email. I have resisted getting Twitter and Snapchat because I just can’t manage one more thing.
In my opinion, social media is a double-edged sword. One one hand, it connects us to people we love who are far away, which is super important when you live abroad like I do, and it helps us form connections with others who have similar interests who we might otherwise never meet in real life. But on the other hand, being so connected and easily accessible means you can’t shut it off. You are constantly barraged with messages that you want and need to respond to, yet sometimes you can’t keep up. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning in messages, wanting to respond, but not having the time, then feeling guilty about not responding quickly enough, so much so that I become paralyzed and don’t respond or take even longer to respond.
And then there’s Facebook. To me, Facebook is a completely different animal. Facebook, in theory, is a great tool. It allows me to share my life with people who are far away, see what’s happening in my friends’ lives, particularly major milestones like marriages, new babies, kids growing up, trips people take, etc., and connect with people professionally, such as the PYP groups I have joined. But in reality, Facebook has become a burden. It takes up way too much of my time. I find myself checking it too often, only to find not much has changed. Ugh…and the political posts…they’re the worst. I think it boils down to the fact that what I get out of it isn’t worth the cost.
The first thing I did was turn off notifications from Facebook. That constant ‘ding’ informing me that someone had ‘liked’ my photo or status, commented on my status or a status I had commented on, or that one of my friends recently posted something, was so distracting and took me away from things I wanted to spend time doing. No longer receiving notifications helped a bit, but the problem still persisted. I still checked Facebook way too often. A couple of weeks ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Removing the temptation to constantly check it has helped me take a step back.
But there’s still this gnawing feeling that I just want to step away. I want to disconnect a bit. Not completely, of course, because I value connection, but this constant connection is not something that brings me joy right now. And to be honest, I feel guilty about that. Like, really guilty. As a people pleaser, wanting to step away makes me feel like a brat. Am I saying that I have people who want to connect with me, and I want less of that? I think that that’s not entirely the case. What I’m craving is real, authentic connections with others…sitting across the table or on the other end of the phone with someone, listening to them telling me about their life, in a conversation, rather than reading messages on a screen.
When I reflect on why I am feeling this way, it boils down to constant connection not being in line with my goals. This past year has been one of the most stressful and saddening times of my life, and having removed myself from that situation in order to focus on becoming ‘me’ again, I have created goals that allow me to do just that- get back to who I really am and the things that bring me joy in my life. Things like reading more (which I am doing a ton of lately), getting back into writing and blogging (yay…I’m doing that, too), healing from the past (working on it), going to bed early (like, super early), diving into my new job (I’m learning everyday), and doing more of the things I love. Engaging all the time with Facebook and other forms of constant communication take time away from pursuing my goals.
So, while I feel selfish and kinda like a jerk, I want to step away from it for a while. I’m not making one of those sweeping ‘I’m never getting on Facebook and I’m deleting my account so you’ll never see me again’ statements, but I am making a conscious decision to do more of what makes me happy and less of what takes my time away from that. I’m not sure what this will exactly look like, but I’ll be less accessible than I normally have been in the past. I’d still love to hear from you, but it may take me longer to respond.