559 words. 5 minutes to read.
I’m deleting my Facebook account this week.
Already I can feel a weight lifting.
For a long time I’ve barely used the site, yet for so long I’ve felt like I couldn’t quite let go. I wondered how I’d keep in touch with all those friends from school, from University, and from my life back in Australia that I left a decade ago. How would we keep in touch without Facebook?
I was afraid that if I let go, if I deleted my account, I’d regret it. It almost felt forbidden to consider deleting Facebook.
To delete Facebook would also be time-consuming. It would mean trawling through over two thousand images, plus probably a thousand more funnies, all in countless disorganized folders, plus my “timeline” and “mobile downloads” folders. It would take at least a day, probably longer.
To be honest, the biggest difficulty was this: I knew that deleting Facebook would mean making hard decisions. Decisions I’d delayed. Deleting stuff would mean tying loose ends, finalizing parts of my life that needed to be finalized.
Facebook: Social media for electronic hoarders
Truth is, Facebook was holding my life for me, but it was a life that I didn’t particularly want to hold on to. It was controlling me, encouraging me to keep up connections and data that had no real meaning.
I called myself a minimalist, but online I was an electronic hoarder.
Taking a month off social media gave me time to consider what social media was actually about.
I learned that I used Facebook as an emotional crutch. It gave me excuses, over and over again, to not say goodbye to everything that should have left my life a long time ago.
Time to say goodbye
I desperately needed to say goodbye.
A normal human life involves letting go of the past. A healthy person becomes a hoarder when they are unable to do this, when every tiny little thing becomes important.
Instead of letting go they hold on and cling to the detritus of their lives because they’re afraid of throwing away something that might be important, maybe, possibly.
For me, Facebook enabled me to become a hoarder of friends and memories, of photographs and holiday memorabilia and people I haven’t seen for thirty years who have long since moved on to other things.
They should have left my life, but Facebook brought them back, and gave them a home in my already busy life.
I found myself having to find time not only for the friends I have here and now but for the friends I had when I was ten years old!
When I first joined Facebook, I rediscovered all these things that should have stayed in the past. Then I built pseudo-connections around them and spent time with them, to the detriment of living in the present.
I built an online hoarder’s world. And I only just realized it. I took a decade and more to realize it.
So I’m letting Facebook go now.
I’m letting everything on Facebook go.
That doesn’t mean I’ll lose my friends, because the meaningful, current friends I connect with on Facebook will stay connected to me.
Real bonds don’t break. We’ll find each other, connect with one another, in other ways. The friends of here and now belong here and now. The important friends from the past will stay too, because they belong with me as I journey forwards. But I can say goodbye, and let others go, just as they can let me go too.
I’ve posted my details. My real friends will find me, as I will find them.
But Facebook? Yes, it’s time to say goodbye.
I hit delete.
I’m moving on. My Facebook account is toast.
I’m embracing today. And the fresh air tastes great! 🙂