I recently took 30 days off from Facebook to see if it would affect my life. I got a lot of interesting comments about it. Some people thought it was amusing, some said I needed to learn to moderate myself, and others were horrified as they clutched to their e-page (you know who you are). Some people are addicted, and need a clue.
Let me start out by saying my decision wasn't a freakout reaction, nor because I spent hours on Facebook a day. I did notice my FB activity increased the previous month, and I was checking it intermittently throughout the day to see what my friends were all doing. My choice wasn't because this was bad, but rather because I wanted to see what a change-up in my routine would do to me and my time.
I spend a lot of time reading/interacting online - Facebook, Blogger, Xanga, Livejournal, news, IM, World of Warcraft, online writer's groups... the list goes on. Thankfully, I haven't bit the Twitter bullet. My friends who confess to following tell me they can get sucked in all day on the T-Train. I'm sure anyone reading this blog can admit to spending a decent amount of time jacked into the internet for one purpose or another.
My decision to change up my time was because of the simple fact that it is the changes to our routines, the small things that give us enough shake-up to remember we can do so much more with our time. What I needed was a change in perspective. When I stopped looking at Facebook, I realized that I wasted time with some blogs that aren't really of any fun or use; so I deleted them, and I added others I found more interesting. I started looking at my writing projects again after several months off from any of my own work (long story, but I had serious work problems and the death of two friends). I was reminded of how I wrote the first draft of my novel in just two and a half months, and that there are so many things I want to do in life.
Just as important as perspective, I meditated on time. I know time is a human construct, but I think measuring time helps to see what we can achieve in a given timeframe (like our lives). Looking at one of my friends who passed away this fall - he was 21 and died of liver cancer in four weeks. There's nothing like having a friend pass away who's younger than you die so quickly and slowly at the same time. It was hell, and sometimes I still can't believe that he's gone.
Yet one of the things Tommy did was encouraged people to reach for their goals and achieve something with their lives. Mostly he meant it, sometimes he was a little sarcastic about it (when you work as a martial arts instructor, you recognize the dropouts fast), but he was there for people no matter what stage of the game it was. I don't mean to turn this into a sob fest, but when you see something that shocks you and reminds you of your humanity, time becomes something precious.
I'm not going to save the world from giving up Facebook, but I did gain some perspective on what's worth my time. I quit my old job, started a job that's a better fit for me (for now), and I'm making plans with hubby so I can write fulltime in a few years.
Although I have to admit, I'm grateful to have Facebook back because I kept missing invites from people. ;o)
On a lighter note, I got accepted into grad school for the master's program in Personal Financial Planning from the University of Missouri. I'm hoping to have my own business in a few years, so I can do that and writing from home as my career. I get my classes paid for by my university, so it's a win all-around.
I won't stop writing OR revising. Promise. I got some people out here that want to read Devil's Tongue. And I want to finish telling her story.