40 Days Without Facebook
Updated: Aug 6
What if you put your phone down and started living? What if you closed your laptop and opened your eyes? What if you started looking at the faces of the people passing by you? What if you talked to one of those people? What if you smiled at a stranger?
What would you see? What would you hear? How would you feel? How would your life change…or would it?
What if you stopped thumbing through photos on social media and started taking mental snapshots - looking with your eyes at the very life passing by, in front of you? How would it feel if you put your phone/computer down and sat in the “no filter” moment that you just posted about … actually sat in it, breathed it in, absorbed it and completely captured it in person, and not from behind a screen?
I gave up Facebook for Lent. I’ve never previously observed Lent, but I happened to find myself in a church service on Ash Wednesday and the congregation was challenged to give something up for 40 days (AKA “Lent”). Having grown up in a religious home I was well aware of the concept of fasting; choosing to abstain or eliminate something from one’s life, as both a challenge and an attempt to infuse more God and/or meditation into the space created from such abstinence.
So, 40 days without Facebook...
It was easier than I thought it would be. Just as one can grow accustom to using Facebook regularly, you can also become accustom to not using it regularly, or at all. Scary at first to let go of something so familiar... to change... but oh the amazing things that await us on the other side of familiar.
Going without Facebook made me aware of how many hours I needlessly stare into a screen. I noticed how many moments are whirling by me, that I completely miss when my face is buried in… FACEbook. I engaged with people. I had uplifting encounters and conversations with strangers. My eyes were opened, more than ever, to my beautiful surroundings. I became more peaceful and appreciative. I became more thoughtful and intentional. I spent more time thinking, creating, writing, talking and just being. How beautiful it is actively be.
I’m the first person to defend the #SocialMedia platforms that allow us to connect withour loved ones around the world. What a gift technology can be. I love feeling apart of my sister’s life between in-person visits. From a far, Facebook allows me to be a daily participant in my nieces lives and I, oh so, love watching them grow up through Cyberspace.
For these reasons, I appreciate the beautiful life moments that Facebook gifts me. But how many moments am I being robbed of? How many countless hours do you or I drain when scrolling through our feed, trolling for something to amuse, intrigue or distract us? Sure, it can be boring to idly wait for a friend arrive to dinner. Why not hop on Facebook to pass the time? No harm done. But whose face aren’t you seeing when YOUR face is buried in… Facebook? What priceless moments and opportunities are we missing everyday, that are passing... nay, racing by unbeknownst to us?
Am I eager to get back on Facebook now that the 40 days of Lent are over? No way! In fact, I’m considering a total elimination of Facebook, and/or looking into ways to minimize my participation in life-sucking social media.
The past 40 days have taught me that time is so very precious. That I am at my best when I am living the be of human being. That #life is meant to be lived, not watched or scrolled through. That every day there is a chance to connect with, and “friend”, someone... if I would only look up from Facebook, at the faces that are passing by me.