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When I deactivated Facebook, this is how my life changed. I’m still on an ongoing journey and if you too crave for some respite from social media.
At the very onset let me tell you, this article is not for those of you who know how to balance your screen time with your real life obligations. It is also not a piece which looks down upon anyone who loves social media. This piece chronicles the personal experience of a social media addict, aka me, myself. This is how I’m trying to recover from my addiction and since I know a lot of people crave for some freedom from their screens, I felt like sharing my journey here.
I’d deactivated my Facebook profile in mid-April this year. After that I’d visited Facebook once briefly, and then I deactivated the account once more.
I’ve done this before as well but never for this long a duration. I’ve promised myself that till the time I learn how to optimize on my screen time, I’ll keep this embargo in place. Also, I’m not particularly addicted to any other social media platform and hence, my account is still active on Twitter and Instagram though I visit them sporadically.
So how does a social media free life look like for me?
I read a lot. I’m someone who lives to read but as you know, reading requires a special kind of focus. Being logged on into Facebook for long periods of time was eroding my focus to a great extent.
Hence, since the time I deactivated Facebook, I read a lot of amazing books. In fact, even though I read a lot before now my reading has increased manifold. Over the last three weeks, I’ve finished seven books and I’m on my way to finish a couple more by this weekend. So, be it reading or something else that you love doing, being out of Facebook gives you a lot of time to follow a constructive hobby more diligently.
(Yeah, that’s me every night, drowsily drinking in ‘one more page’, till the Kindle slips from my hand and falls on my face with a thud! Image Source: Giphy)
Deactivating Facebook gives you a perspective about people who indeed care about you. Have you noticed how some ‘friends’ are so hooked on to every little event you share on social media or every opinion you post about? See how many of them even cares about texting you back when you go MIA?
There are just a handful of people who truly care about us, and in our baseless fear of missing out on action in the Digital Universe, we tend to ignore them. I’ve spent precious moments with my mother back in Kolkata, and with my husband and my pets at home. Maybe, we did nothing spectacular but we were totally zoned into whatever insignificant topic we discussed, we truly enjoyed the meals we shared, and squeezed out drops of laughter and joy from every little thing we did. (Luckily, my husband is not that active on any social media platform.)
(Here’s to relationships that truly matter. Image Source: Giphy)
When I was active on Facebook, every morning I’d wake up with a hangover kind of a sensation thinking about the hours that I missed out on the day before while my face was stuck to the screen. I really lost track of chunks of time that simply ‘disappeared’ from my life, not unlike that of a drug addict.
Yes, my addiction is severe and hence I needed severe measures to control it. I do plan on getting back on Facebook but I’d limit my exposure and till the time I feel capable of doing that, I’d keep my account deactivated.
(Have you ever had such an experience where important tasks were forgotten as you remained transfixed to the screen? I know I did. Image Source: Giphy)
Imagine you’ve brushed your teeth, slipped into your comfy clothes, got under the sheets and turned off the lights. And then? And then, you enter into an argument on feminism or politics and keep explaining yourself to random people on Facebook. Or maybe, you keep scrolling through the European vacation pictures of that friend you’d last seen two decades back and wouldn’t even recognize on the streets if not for social media.
Suddenly, these things become the most pressing issues in your mind. You slip into the worm hole of debates, discussions. likes, comments, arguments and four hours later, when you emerge exhausted, all you feel is a sense of hollowness. How is it helping me? I kept asking myself. How is my life being enriched by these interactions? I’m yet to find the answer.
(Imagine dumping junk on your mind for hours every single day. Image Source: Giphy)
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the way I feel while being away from Facebook. However, these are some of the most important ones. If you feel the same way about being on social media, then I encourage you to deactivate your account for a while and see how it all works out. Also there are other methods like adding a blocker to your browser or deleting the Facebook app from your phone. If you’d like to read more on how such an addiction is impacting you and how you can get rid of the same, then I strongly recommend you to read the book: How to Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price.
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay
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I read like a maniac, like my life depends on it. I also write and
Well said, Kasturi. And it is ironic that I am posting this comment after seeing this article shared on FB. But what I do resonate with most is the missing chunks of time, especially when I am writing, I realise I take much longer at home because I keep checking social media. But at write club I am capable of writing a 2000 word, full fledged story in 60 minutes. So yes, it is time I started disciplining myself.
Totally agree with you, Lakshmi. I guess it happens to all of us. Yes, we all need to take control of technology before it starts controlling us.
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