Sunday, February 5, 2017

What happens when you take a break from Facebook?

Eleven days I ago I deactivated my Facebook account. The negative posts, political bashing, and idiotic memes were beginning to have an adverse effect on me. But as I sat there, phone in hand, mindlessly scrolling and internally bitching about the hostile words being exchanged, I couldn't seem to just scroll on by. I found myself being drawn to the vicious words and political disagreements. I would read posts by adults who can't spell, young people who are clueless as to what happens in the real world, and by art educators verbally attacking each other for not agreeing with their approach to art. It was pissing me off, but I kept reading.

My morning routine had been to get my cup of coffee and sit for an hour and a half trying to wake up while checking my Facebook. I would check it again throughout the morning, spend a half hour at lunch seeing what I had missed, then come home and immediately get on it again. Anytime I had a free moment, I was checking it. Then, before bed, I'd find myself on it, yet again, getting myself all worked up about what I had read, right before bed. This was NOT a good way to relax.

There were many posts I really enjoyed. Living out in eastern Oklahoma, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family back home, to see what they've been up to. And let's be honest, there's a great feeling when you post something and get a great response. Lots of "likes", people commenting. It makes you feel good. The day before I deactivated my account, I posted it on Facebook to let people know I was going away for a while. All the sad faces and comments warmed my heart. And for a moment, I started to reconsider. But when I added up the amount of time I spent on Facebook during the day, I realized that three to four hours of my day, every day could be spent more wisely. I had tried to limit my time on Facebook, but had been unsuccessful. No, the only way was to deactivate my account.

So what have I been up to for the past eleven days? Well, I have made about 6 pieces of art. They all just started out as playing around with oil pastels on different surfaces. I did some folksy type churches. They are meant to be very primitive and fun. Some are on wood, others on cardboard, all done in oil pastel. I like seeing the texture created by the different surfaces.

I also did this large heart. The surface is heavy cardboard. It came from the cover of a wallpaper sample book. Covered in brown paper towels and Mod Podge, it created an interesting texture. Next, I made the heart from paper towels and Mod Podge. It is hard to tell, but the heart is actually raised.

They were all fun projects and I created them all AFTER being off Facebook for eleven days. 

For years now, I have wanted to create a travel blog. I finally started working on it a few months ago. I only had two posts and needed to make a post about my first day hike on January 1. Yesterday, over a month later, I finally did that. Posting about a first day hike on January 1 sort of loses its momentum when you post over a month later. Why didn't I do it sooner? I was probably on Facebook.

My other project is planning my Oklahoma Route 66 trip over Spring Break. Being on a tight budget, I can't go on any grand road trips, but I think driving Route 66 is doable. I have actually driven through most of the towns but never spent any time in them. Hours have been spent researching historic Oklahoma Route 66. I want to be sure to see as much as possible, stopping to take photos along the way and hopefully talk with people along the way.

If you want to check out the travel blog, go to Agnes Takes a Road Trip

Because I want my posts on Agnes Takes a Road Trip to post directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google, I had to reactivate my Facebook. But for now, all I am using it for is to get the word out that I have written a new post. I will do the same with this blog. But I'm not ready to get back on Facebook. 

Life has been peaceful and productive in the last eleven days and honestly, I haven't missed Facebook at all. My mind is clearer, I feel motivated again, and I have felt more creative. 

Turning 50 last year wasn't hard, but it certainly gets you to thinking. This is the time when you start to look back at your life and where you are now. Is this how you want to spend your life? Are you doing the things you love? I realized that I did not want to waste my precious time scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I want my time to be spent doing things that fulfill me, peak my curiosity, and make me want to be a better person.

Will I return to Facebook other than just selfishly posting my blogs to get people to read my work?? Probably at some point, but there will be some serious cutting out and unfollowing first. I want my time to be spent on positive, enriching moments. I want to be surrounded by positive, enriching people. Life is too short to waste on such negativity.  

What happens when you take a break from Facebook?

Eleven days I ago I deactivated my Facebook account. The negative posts, political bashing, and idiotic memes were beginning to have an adve...