Time to quit

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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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