Posted by Whittier Strong
First off, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been working on my creative-writing MFA applications (on top of my schoolwork) so there’s very little time to work on this blog. Which is fine; I run this blog on my terms. I have a considerably lighter semester in the spring–my last as an undergraduate!–and may write more here after December. I say all this because I recognize that my last post to this blog may have left readers who don’t know me a little concerned. In fact, everything has been going pretty well.
I’ve written previously about my love-hate relationship with Facebook. It has opened up incredible opportunities for me, but has also created endless (and often needless) stress in my life. Which means I’m like about one billion other people on the planet.
I’ve taken breaks from Facebook in the past, primarily because all the political fighting got too much for me. (There are no enemies like friends of friends.) But I always had a deadline of returning, like, after an election.
However, after the most current arguments concerning the U.S. government shutdown, I had enough and decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from Facebook.
And guess what? The world hasn’t stopped turning. I’m still breathing–a lot lighter, in fact.
Now, I will preface this by stating that I’ve not gone totally cold turkey. For instance, as I found out the hard way, people send party and event invitations almost exclusively through Facebook these days, so I do have to poke my head in occasionally for the benefit of my social calendar.
I have also installed the Facebook Messenger app on my laptop so that I can still chat with my friends (which is the primary reason I wanted to use Facebook anyway. I need this because it is important to managing my anxiety and depression issues that I keep in contact with friends on a regular basis, and I have irregular phone service.
But the surprising thing is that I haven’t used Facebook Messenger that much. I think that my reduced exposure to the endless barrage of news stories and arguments has allowed me to live with considerably less anxiety and depression.
All this means that I’m less aware of what’s going on in the world. But I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing. I have a general distrust of mass media, and figure that their primary motive is to generate whatever attitudes are necessary, positive or negative, that will stimulate profit. A lot of the news leaves people feeling helpless, and quite frankly, this is the worst possible time in my life for me to feel helpless. And what does all this “knowing” about what’s going on in the world actually doing anything? More important to effect change.
The irony is that I’m going to post a link to this post on Facebook in a couple of minutes. But then I will be done with Facebook for the day. Facebook is my tool; I’m through with being its tool.