Time to quit

On Thursday night I quit Facebook.

The instant I decided, I put on my hat, made my excuses to the friends I had just met up with, and got on my bike and rode home to click through the process before removing my hat or setting down my bag or saying more to Joe than “Hello, I’m on a mission, we can talk in a second.”

Then I marched into the kitchen and did the freaking dishes.

The first 36 hours have been magical. I feel light. I feel free. I started to catch up on small, creative projects that had been so easy to put off for days … weeks … months. These previously dreaded tasks were a pleasure to complete that day. I responded to some mouldering emails and called a friend and we talked on the phone. I consulted with another friend, a doctor, and she wrote out a long list of recommendations for sleeping and eating better, all of which I launched into immediately. I sat down and wrote more in a morning than I usually do in a week. I put in some hours getting the garden ready for winter. I went for a long walk.

It isn’t all so dreamy. All the frustrations that existed two days ago are still there, louder than ever now there is one less screen shielding me from facing them. The world feels more immediate, but the constant, reassuring feedback of the scrolling social world I’d grown accustomed to is gone. Looking at the computer for longer than half an hour at a time, if I’m not actively pounding out text, has become unbearable, much as I still am compelled to find links to click and windows to open. Back in real life, there have been some unnerving conversations where “facebook” and “alcohol” could have been interchangeable.

Maybe this mania for quitting will continue.

One thing is for sure — I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a damn thing. The old world is still here, social pathways intact — fewer of them, a little slower and clunkier, but that’s the point.


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10 Responses to “Time to quit”

  1. Dave October 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I find that the people who actually want to interact with you and not just use all the stuff you’re posting for their own purposes or have you as another notch on their friend count will still make contact with you however they can. The rest, I don’t really care about.

    We’re honestly considering getting rid of internet at home, so that it would force us to plan time for blogging and emailing and such, we would go do it at a cafe or something, then come home and be removed from all that distraction. Friends can still call us up, text us, etc, and we are more than happy to hang out in person, but we want more and more to be connected with people face to face, and less and less via “social networks”. I don’t know for sure if we’ll get rid of our internet service, but in general, we want to move towards having our computer off most of the time. Kind of like a low-car diet, I suppose.

    Anyway, best of luck on the journey of balancing out social interactions!

  2. Caroline October 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    I think I’ll start by setting my Self Control for something like two weeks. Whoa. If I have results like yours, I’ll quit it. What I like most is the contact with people out of town (like long-lost friends), but then again, it shouldn’t ever replace face-to-face contact with people in town, closest to me.

  3. browse October 23, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Yay! Welcome to the ranks of the FacebookFreeâ„¢!

  4. Elly October 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Three days later and it’s still working.

    Caro, thanks for the reminder to plug Self Control.

    You can turn off Facebook, or any other websites for that matter, for anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours at a time. When the block is over, you realize you didn’t miss a thing….

  5. Sam October 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I quit FB about 3 weeks ago too! I didn’t announce it to anyone either and have just told people in person that if they want to talk to me, they can email, text or just show up in person to my house. I guess the distraction played a role, but it was a other variety of reasons that was solved as soon as I quit. I am a very slow writer, so I’ve been occupying my time by reading a ton more.

  6. Elly October 30, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Nicely done, Sam.
    I keep forgetting to tell people.
    Someone the other night asked if it hurt my ability to publicize what I write.
    I looked at the analytics and it does ding them a bit not to be posting on fb.
    But not being on fb has also meant that I’ve been writing more.
    So it’s a net gain.
    In other news, spending time on Twitter is way more compelling now. ::sigh::

  7. Julie October 31, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    LOVE THIS! I, too, quit FB about two months ago and have NOT missed a thing. Catching up with old friends was fun for a time…that is until the “catching up” part ended (which took all of 3-4 posts). Then FB became something I loathed. I’ve actually LOVED that I don’t think about checking in on FB these days. Again, don’t miss it AT ALL. I’d really like it if a couple of my friends would lay off about my leaving it. I wouldn’t miss that either.

  8. Dave November 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    I use Facebook just in case someone is trying to get a hold of me and can’t. Ironically, after almost two years, no one has tried to contact me that way. Interesting…

    More power to you!

  9. sorebore November 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    You are my hero! I do not FB, but my lovely 8 year old child’s mother does in a manner that resembles alcoholism. We are at an impasse and splitting up after 10 years now. I believe FB could very well be a contributing factor in our unresolved dysfunction. I wish you well in your quest to free yourself of it. peace.

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