Why I realized I had to breakup with Facebook, and how I took back those wasted hours.
“Dear Mr. Z.;
It’s not you. It’s me.”
If I were sending The Big Zuck a breakup text, that’s what it would have said.
I had to breakup with Facebook.
For my own sanity – especially, after a pandemic and an extremely volatile presidential election – I had to do it.
I know, I know…you may be thinking, “Toughen up, Cupcake! It’s just social media. It’s no big deal!”
And you’d be so very incorrect.
You see, I was very active on Facebook.
You might even say that I had become addicted to Facebook, and the interaction – albeit extremely negative – that Facebook provided.
I posted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I spoke my mind. I was as randy as I wanted to be, and was even thrown in Facebook jail far more times than I’d care to admit.
During the pandemic and election, I was unemployed and just all-around pissed off, sitting in my house by myself, all day every day.
The pandemic and election were the perfect excuse to go looking for a fight on Facebook.
And seemingly, Facebook was happy to oblige me in that endeavor.
I’m not proud of it, but I’d post a very one-sided opinion on a public Facebook page, and then just sit back and wait for someone – or dozens of people – to disagree with me. I was posting click bait; Hook, line and sinker.
My favorite opposing comments were ones that ended with, “Educate yourself.”
As soon as I read those two little words, it was on like Donkey Kong! I’d carefully word my response, which would be laden with facts and statistics. I read and reread it for grammatical or punctuation errors, as well as dropped words, and then I’d let it fly.
I’d wait for the fight to come to me, and I was never disappointed.
It was ridiculous.
Not to mention, I was wasting sooooooooooo much time on there, fighting with complete strangers for what I thought was entertainment.
Although, it absolutely was not entertainment, even though I had convinced myself that it was, at the time.
And the negativity was coming at me, not only in my notifications within the Facebook app, but also on Facebook Messenger.
Granted, I invited the majority of it, through my own actions, but some of it came at me out of left field, too.
If a member of my “political posse,” aka “Facebook Friends,” wanted to share a meme or video with me that was deemed controversial or too racy for Facebook, they’d forward it to me on Messenger and prod me to post it. I usually deleted the Messenger stuff. Most of it was pure filth and hate.
As my Facebook feed became more and more negative, I did, too.
Man-o-man, may God have mercy on your soul, if you somehow mustered the audacity to disagree with my political views, opinions, standpoints or rantings on Facebook, because I certainly would not.
I was coming at you with both barrels and a smirk on my face.
I was ridiculous.
What had started as a forum for me to laugh and exchange memes, which I thought were hilarious, had morphed into this ultra-negative cyber-based, ultimate fighting ring.
I was using Facebook to vent my personal frustrations, under the guise of political prose, onto complete strangers, who were just as dang toxic as I was.
It was no longer fun. I was rarely laughing.
It was rapidly draining my happiness, one angry post or comment at a time, and I didn’t even realize it.
On top of that, my phone was sending me weekly reminders of how much of my life I was actually flitting away on Facebook – up to 9 hours per day. Yep, you read that correctly.
That time could have been spent writing, or taking my pups to the park, or cooking good food, or playing cards and laughing with my friends, or going to the gym, or applying for jobs and networking, or gardening, or reading good books, or volunteering within the community…tons of things that I love doing that truly bring me true joy.
That time could have spent on tasks and hobbies that actually had me moving, or outside in the sunshine with a smile on my face, or improving my quality of life, rather than looking at a screen and fighting with a complete stranger over politics – something that I had no control over.
Stupidly ridiculous, right?
I told myself that I only spent that much time on Facebook, because I’d been laid off and was unemployed, and it was better than sitting in front of the TV all day, every day.
The reality of it was that I wasn’t doing much of anything else, regardless of what lies I was telling myself or excuses I was making.
And here’s the crazy-ridiculous part: If I did spend the afternoon with friends or take my pups to the park to walk for 3-4 miles, I felt GUILTY for not being on Facebook when my “friends” commented or posted.
I felt like I was letting those people down – many of whom I’d never met.
Flashback To 2000:
If you’re old enough to be able to relate to this blog, then you’re probably old enough to remember the old “chat rooms,” from the early 2000’s.
You may even remember the studies conducted on the people that spent hours, upon hours, each day in those “rooms,” chatting away with other people.
The end result was that the people who passed their time in chat rooms – rooms with no walls, ceilings or floors, because they’re not really rooms at all – were at higher risk of depression and suicide, due to the high levels of isolation they felt.
You guessed it. I was a chat room girl, as well. Eventually, I had to give up those chat rooms – not because I wanted to, but because the majority of them were shut down over privacy concerns/violations.
Back to my present-day, Facebook addiction:
Immediately after the presidential election, at the height of the toxicity and rampant hate that both sides were spewing at each other, I knew that I was reaching my personal tipping point, and I had to make a decision.
Here’s an interesting study: A study conducted in the northeastern United States, mapped out the northeastern states by heart attack, hypertension and stroke diagnoses.
Then, they applied an overlay to that exact map with the data captured of the most negative or conflict-oriented posts in the exact same area of the country, and the dots of the heart attacks, hypertension and stroke diagnoses and the map of the most negative, conflicted-oriented posts were IDENTICAL.
If that little study doesn’t make you stop and think for a second, nothing will.
Personally, I’d been diagnosed with early onset heart disease, and my triglycerides were through the roof – as in over 3,000. My blood pressure, which had always been extremely low, was now so high that I had to take blood pressure medicine daily.
Are you seeing the direct correlation yet?
For me, either this negativity and hate was going to overtake my life – and maybe give me a heart attack or stroke – or I was going to have to walk away from it altogether.
I chose to walk away.
Breaking up with Facebook, or social media, in general, is not difficult to do.
You have to run a search on how to go about closing your account, because the steps to doing so are BURIED within the SETTINGS, but once you run that search and follow those steps, it’s relatively easy.
Quitting Facebook on Day 1 is easy.
Cancel your account and walk away, right?
Except it’s the next day, when your daily habit(s) of scrolling while drinking your morning coffee, or checking in when you’re bored, or any other time that you usually check in on Facebook “really quickly” kicks in, and your instinct – your urge – is to reach over, pick up your phone and click on the FB app.
My only advice is that you’d better have a plan in place of what you’re going to do INSTEAD of wasting time on Facebook.
If you are as dedicated to Facebook as I was, I’m not going to lie.
You’re going to miss Facebook.
And this is why having plan, BEFORE I cancelled my account, really and truly helped.
Before I cancelled the account:
- I sat down and wrote my goals.
- I downloaded books that I wanted to read – to my phone – and read the first four chapters, so that I was engrossed in the book – so that I’d want to continue to read the book.
- I downloaded a couple of new games onto my phone and placed a game app icon in the exact places where the Facebook and Facebook Messenger icons were on my phone.
- I started walking on the treadmill every single day for at least 30 minutes – sometimes twice a day.
- I downloaded meditation apps and started meditating daily – I started with two minutes per day, and I’m still working my way up.
- My pups and I played catch for a solid 45 minutes, each and every morning.
- I bought a cookie press, so that I could make holiday cookies and stay busy.
These are just a few things that I did to occupy my time PRODUCTIVELY, rather than burning up the hours of my life, scrolling.
A great book that I’ve read and highly recommend is called “The Power Of Habit – Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business.”
This book describes and explains the neuron sensors in our brains and how they trigger our “habits,” and – even more impressive – how we can reprogram those neuron pathways, by simply stopping the “circle” (or cycle) of the habit, as soon as we recognize ourselves in the middle of it.
Great book. Great examples in the book, on everything from how we habitually shop (and stores manipulate our habits and subconscious with subliminal messaging), to how NFL coaches use this same principles in this book to stop the bad habits of their players on the field.
Armed with the knowledge of the book, I felt like I was prepared, and cancelled my Facebook account.
But Facebook is well known for its algorithms, and its own manipulations of our subconscious selves.
When you attempt to cancel your Facebook account, Facebook, essentially, says:
“Hey, now… Whoa!!! Let’s not do anything crazy. You probably don’t really want to cancel this account. You’re just having a bad day. So instead, we’ll pseudo cancel your account and place it in a “holding pattern” for 30 days, just so you can come back anytime you want and get started again. If we don’t hear from you in 30 days – AND WE THINK WE WILL – only THEN will we cancel your account.”
Ah, Facebook. With millions invested in keeping us hooked, they know all of the right things to do and say.
Before you bid Facebook “Adieu!” permanently, Facebook provides the option to download ALL of your photos, videos and posts in a file, so that you don’t have to contend with the fear of losing every photo, post or meme.
HOWEVER, this file isn’t available immediately. . .
Facebook wants you to come back and log back in, so they’ll send you an email in two to three days, to “Come On Back To Facebook!” and retrieve your file for download.
Again, I highly recommend running search on how to retrieve this file – once you receive the email from Facebook saying it’s ready – because of the series of clicks you have to navigate in SETTINGS is extensive to find it.
I downloaded my photos, videos, posts, memes – all of it.
That was almost 60 days ago.
Do I miss it?
Not even a little bit.
- I’ve lost 20 pounds.
- My dogs are happier & healthier.
- I’ve read three books this month – all of them chock full of helpful information.
- My goals are printed, and I read them several times each and every day.
- I’m meditating every day.
- I made and decorated 12 dozen Christmas cookies.
- My legs are much more toned.
- I’m writing a minimum of 500 words per day.
Hey, I’m not anti-Facebook. I’m not advocating for everyone – or anyone – to cancel their Facebook account.
I’m simply telling you this tiny part of my starting over story, why I needed to do what I did and how much my life has IMPROVED, since Mr. Z. and I broke up.
…via a text.
My last Facebook post was on November 18th, 2020.
It’s now mid January of 2021.
Tying this post back to my Start Here page, would you care to guess how many items I’ve been able to cross of off of my original Goals List, since I broke up with Facebook…?
(Caveat: I had to create a RefreshinglyFifty.com FB page for social media cross-posting, also known as SEO. That said, I still haven’t posted anything on my old FB page, other than promoting THIS blog.)