I made what turned out to be a difficult decision. It was the kind of decision you struggle with, the kind that rolls around in your mind like a stone. You try to figure out the implications, to determine if your life will be better - or worse - because of it.
I decided to leave Facebook.
I am embarrassed to admit I truly and honestly struggled with this decision. It's Facebook, for Christ's sake. But, for weeks while I toiled, I gave myself heartburn thinking about it. Could I possibly live without it? Would my "friends" think I've abandoned them? How would I keep my hand from reaching for my phone every time I had an extra second to spare? How would I express myself? When seeing something unjust or idiotic, who would I tell?
"Dear woman who cut me off on the freeway: I hope you crash."
"John Mayer is a douche."
"I had a dream last night that I went to the movies with Dylan McDermott. We saw 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show.' He wore fishnets and I wore gold briefs. What could it mean?"
I wish I could say leaving Facebook is due strictly to being a waste of time. There's more to it than that. Not only is it addictive, but it can give one a skewed, unnatural disposition. I've often relegated myself to the bottom of many totem poles because, inwardly, I feel like a failure. I should, in no way, feel like this. But at nearly 38 years old my accomplishments are few.
At least this is the way Facebook makes me feel.
How do I resolve myself of this? Can't I just grow up? I'm smart, funny, healthy. I have a good job. I live in a nice apartment. I have a handsome, charming partner of 13 years. By proxy I have a brand new grand daughter (yes, grand daughter - see "Parental Guidance Suggested" post). I have an amazing family. I've been writing more now than I ever have, with the goal of publication.
What is it about Facebook that makes me feel so God damned inferior?
Well, by all accounts so far, my Facebook "friends" have led me - inadvertently, of course - to believe I can be smarter, funnier, and healthier. Rather than a good job, I could have a great job. I could be living in a new house, as opposed to my apartment. Others' significant others appear to be more handsome, and more charming than mine. Others' grandchildren come off as stratospherically amazing, at least this is how they're portrayed. Writer buddies are publishing books and stories, whereas I'm merely writing mine. It's a vicious conundrum, one I am happy to avoid.
But again the question: Sean, aren't you just being petty?
Perhaps. But what I know is this: Facebook is depressing. It is filled with negativity, gossip, arguments, and selfishness. I'm not trying to rationalize my belief in this because I know, sadly, I will probably be drawn to it once again. In fact, I know this. The goal at this point is to see if I can live without it for a month, and so far I'm successful. My writing has progressed. My overall view on life has taken a turn, mainly because I'm not inundated with pictures of abused animals and natural disasters, being told I'm an awful person if I don't "share" or "repost."
It unnerves me that a life can be so completely enveloped by something so superficial and needless. It unnerves me even more that I had to struggle with the decision to abandon it.
Well, hey, there's always Twitter.