Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fasting from Facebook

Several years ago, I was writing for an online magazine (which, sadly, folded due to this crummy financial fiasco we're in). One of my blog entries, entitled "Why I <3 FB," was a big fat valentine to my latest obsession--ye olde Facebook. I think my basic gist was how wonderful it was to reconnect with old friends, stay in touch without having to commit to a long-winded phone call, how funny is that this person knows that person and my-oh-my how flat is our world, blahblahblah.

That was then.

What once began as a fun little distraction during the Writers' Strike became a sick obsession. True, I never let myself enter the world of FarmVille or MafiaWars (or Bejeweled Blitz or CafeWorld or anything else that the "Hide" button was invented for). But I started to stalk. And compare. And despair.

And judge.

It's one thing to bump into an old friend or distant relative at the store, play the catch up game, glance politely at their cell-phone pix of offspring or the new house, and go your separate ways feeling congenial and happily surprised by the run-in. It's another to be swamped by their (often ill-informed) politics, their (embarrassing and cringe-worthy) attempts at humor, their (usually inane) minute-by-minute account of their day, their (AFFIRM MY BRILLIANT PARENTING/FABULOUS LIFESTYLE/CHOICE OF PARTNER!) parade of photos.

Oh, believe me, I am NOT innocent. But I found myself competing with and getting enraged by people that, in real life, I could care less about. On the other hand, I discovered more than I ever needed to know about people I actually liked...which sort of dampened my affinity for them, in some cases.

So, despite my very mixed feelings about Catholicism this year (see: most recent Grand Jury Report down here in Philly), I decided to play along and give up FB for Lent. I granted myself access on Sundays; after all, I don't have everyone's email accounts anymore, so there were times I genuinely had log on to set up a play date or find out where my next Book Club meeting was taking place (and more on my fabulous BC in a future blog!)

And I found...immense freedom and joy. I'm not exaggerating. Instead of comparing my life to everyone else's, I lived it. Instead of documenting every second of my children's development, I reveled in it. And instead of crowing to the world how much I love my husband, I told him.

Tomorrow is Easter. And I may just stick to this happy new habit.

Now off to play Easter Bunny...and I am going to actively fight the urge to splash pictures of my brilliant baskets all over FB!