Every year when Lent rolls around, I try to figure out what in the world I’m going to do for those 40 days that will be meaningful of the season. As Mom always says, “You don’t have to give something up. You can do something instead.” She makes a good point (as Mom usually does), but it always seems easier to pick something to forgo instead of doing something. This year, I’m looking to do both. Why? Apparently I’ve been bitten by an ambition bug. Nasty little suckers.
Now, I could look to subtly build the message of this blog post through an increasingly clever and layered set of paragraphs, delving into heretofore never seen nuances… umm… but the title of the post pretty much gives the whole damn thing away anyway, so why bother? So, yup… I’m giving up Facebook for Lent. I know, I’m fairly cutting edge in my approach to most things, Lent included. I’m sure I will be a 2011 Time Magazine Man of the Year candidate on this alone.
I’ve gotten a bit of pushback from a few friends of mine, especially those who no longer live close enough by me to hang out with on a consistent basis. They make a good point: Facebook is the easiest way for them to know what I’m up to given the busy pace of their lives. I actually agree with that. I know it can be supremely easy to bash Facebook for any varied number of reasons, but it’s allowed me to reconnect with old friends, family members and just keep up with what a lot of people I know are doing on a daily basis. Plus, I’ve seen some interesting articles and pretty amusing pieces of YouTube genius as a result of The Book of Face.
So why give it up? Two reasons, really. One: I like it and doing so is a sacrifice for me. That’s sort of the easy one to explain. Second: I feel like I can make much better use of my time for Lent than addictively checking Facebook on my laptop and on my phone, or reading the updates that come via e-mail. They are not inherently bad or anything like that, but I know I’ve become a little too preoccupied with the Facebook life and not enough focused on… well… regular life. The Facebook time is time I could use reflecting on Lent, doing some reading, writing for this terribly neglected blog, finally getting serious about improving my flexibility (seriously) or even just spending time with people… like face-to-face. You know, like in ye olden days of yore. And if you are wondering whether I crafted that sentence strictly for an opportunity to use “yore”… damn straight I did. That word gets far too little use, my friends!
The real hope I have is to unplug for a bit and not withdraw at all, but rather to engage in a more meaningful fashion with the people I care most about it. Facebook should be a tool for that, not some kind of crutch and while I don’t think I’ve gotten to that crutch-like point, I must confess I’ve come to rely on “The Book” a lot more than I would care to. Hence, I am pulling away from Facebook for 40 days and seeing what it all brings. I expect a few withdrawal symptoms over days 1-5, but probably smooth sailing after that.
The only potential bummer is actually using Facebook to announce any new blog posts I do. I will definitely be using Twitter for that and if there was a way to auto-publish to my “Fierce and Mighty” Facebook page, that would be nice too. If I can’t, then so be it.
Don’t feel bad, Facebook. We had a good run and I just need some time apart. It’s not you… it’s me. I’ll be back… I think.