Friday, February 15, 2013

They like me! They really like me!

Channeling my inner Sally Fields a bit.  :)

Just a blurb to say I've gotten multiple emails from folks who have noticed me gone off Facebook, but didn't, apparently see my posts about taking a break.  These folks have reached out to see if I'm okay and to let me know I'm missed.  Sweet. And the people who have are people whose attention is flattering.  Artists I've met online and befriended, old friends I have always admired.  It's nice to know people miss you when you're gone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Experimental Cold Turkey

A friend inspired me when she said she was giving up Facebook for Lent.  She's not Catholic, nor is she even religious - which is much like myself.  Also like myself, she was feeling that Facebook was becoming (had become, actually!) a time-sink.  Other projects, interests and duties were falling by the wayside.  Living in New Orleans now, at the onset of the carnival season and Mardi Gras, she decided to join all the local Catholics and purge for a few weeks.  Being from Louisiana, and needing some structure for my desire to break free of my obsession with Facebook, I see the sense in that, and am doing the same.    I'm also acting on another of her great ideas, and I'm going to journal about what I accomplish and experience during this hiatus from my biggest social media addiction.

Today is day one of the experiment.  It's been a good day, already ripe with good experiences, and including some ostensibly predictable side effects.

Before describing my day further, though, I want to list out some of the things on my todo and what if lists:

  • Read Books!  My attention span has been so dimished by the internet and social media, that I don't sit down and read books anymore.  I fidget and re-read the first paragraph over an over, till I finally give  up and get on Facebook.  No more.  Have removed FB temporarily will make myself read until I thoroughly enjoy it like the days of old.  I have been wanting to read Guns, Germs and Steel, and have already picked that up at Powell's today - but more on that later...
  • Learn Spanish!  Have wanted to for years, because I want to travel to Spain and spend at least 3 weeks there, engaging deeply in the culture.  I bought Rosetta Stone for European Spanish last week, and I LOVE it.  Now I have more time to spend on it!
  • Learn bass guitar!  I bought myself a bass guitar for Christmas, because playing bass is an old bucket list item that I finally want to act on.  Have set a goal to be able to jam at Duff's Garage's Blues Jam by the end of 2013.
  • Spend more time with my children! - hiking, playing games, CLEANING HOUSE, cooking, etc...  Annie, in particular, needs time with me, and I with her, so I'm looking forward to letting her in on the Rosetta Stone Spanish secret, since she has been wanting to learn Spanish to.  It's something we can enjoy together!
  • Ride my motorcycle!  (not that I ever seem to struggle with making time for that)
  • Hike and backpack! - I need to prepare, so getting out and walking locally in the hills in my neighborhood will make for a much better trip (or 2 or 3) this Summer.
  • Plan meals and cook!  I've started the Atkins diet, and am in the process of losing weight and getting healthier.  I need to spend less money and also make this a lifetime change, so I need to start cooking again, and making sure I have the right food on hand to be succesful.  I want to start cooking ahead.  I also want to include Annie, since she likes to cook and wants to spend time with me.  Added bonus:  I think the right diet might help Annie with some of the behavioral and health problems we experience with her.  
  • Clean and organize my house!  I still haven't unpacked all the boxes from my last move, or gotten the right furniture and storage in place.  My room is in disarray, because of the lack of closet space and the piles of crap everywhere.  I NEED to change that - for my mental health alone.
  • Write!  I keep meaning to blog get my creative juices flowing.  Doesn't happen when I'm on Facebook and the minutes turn to hours.  I need to do more of THIS in order to get better at it.
So, there are many of the projects left mostly unattended at least in part because of my time-wasting on Facebook.  I'm very excited about this change, and I look forward to the side-effects I have even thought of yet, because I'm certain I will experience some.  Just today, during work and my lunch break, I found that I'm already reaping the benefits.

For example, I was able to come in, sit down and focus.  I got more quality work done this morning in a shorter span of time.  I will progress and be more succesful in my new job at this rate.

Also, my lunch break was great today!  I decided to walk to Powells (I totally love working downtown!) and buy Guns, Germs and Steel.  What a great decision.  I enjoyed the walk even more than I might have if I hadn't given up Facebook.  Had I made this same trip yesterday, a good part of my trip would be spent glancing down at my phone as I scanned Facebook for something interesting.  Instead,  I walked, shoulders back and eyes up, enjoying the sights, and making eye contact with people.  There were smiles and nods and REAL interactions with real LIVE people!  I saw people waking adorable pups, who squirmed all over the place trying to make new friends, and children in super-hero attire.  I saw a man making his baby laugh in a coffee shop window, and we shared broad grins.  I noticed the architecture and made note of where things are in relation to my office, broadening my familiarity of downtown.  

And then, I did what has been so hard.  After grabbing my lunch at a Thai food cart, I went back to my office and ate - and read the intro and prologue of Guns, Germs and Steel.  My monkey mind acted up, but I perservered.  The effort was made easier by having one less very noisy distraction.  I can't wait to get into first chapter before bed tonight!    So far no FB is a big YES toward achieving my goals!

One side-effect - not necessarily a good one is that I have started playing with Instagram more.  It's like FB light, so I feel like I'm cheating.  But, as my daughter says, it's simpler, and it might be fun way to quickly document and share things I see along the way.  I just can't let it replace FB as a time-sink.

More later!