2016 was another roller coaster for the books. As you know, it was election year. Politics have never been more prevalent in the lives of so many until that god-forsaken election eased its way into our November. I’ve always known that people were easily manipulated but the power of the media reached a record high if you ask me. As I watched rants and raves and arguments among friends, I became really sad and gravely disappointed. When Donald Trump won, I lost faith in the American people. And when I realized Hillary had the popular vote by millions, I lost hope in our democratic process. I found myself in a pit of despair and I just couldn’t add to it by seeing all of the opposing posts on social media from people that I actually care about. That being said, I deleted my Facebook account on November 9th. When I deleted my Facebook, I feel like I disconnected from the world…in the best way possible.
This has been an eye-opening experience to be honest. A close friend of mine hounded me for a while because she was upset that she couldn’t “tag” me in her posts. A couple of people thought I had deleted them so I’ve had to explain that I actually deleted my whole account. Facebook can be a great way to network and stay connected with friends and family. I wish I could tell you that I miss it but I don’t. I don’t miss constant reminders of how easy people are to manipulate. For example, I could go 5 months and not hear a word from many of my FB friends. But I would bet a large sum of money that if I changed my relationship status they would flock to it like vultures on a rotting carcass. Like puppets on a string, it doesn’t take much to make people move. The sad part is that all too often, the motivation for connection is very shallow. That is something that I just can’t accommodate. I need depth in my life. I need for my connections with people to be more than self-centered political rants that don’t consider who might be affected by them. I need for my connections to be motivated by something more than a curiosity-driven post on my wall. I need to know that I have people in my life…my REAL life…who care enough to stay connected beyond my absence on every social media platform that’s out there. My social media presence is now limited to just a few that serve pretty direct purposes for me. I kept my Instagram because I love having a space to document my life in photos. I kept my Snapchat because I get to see my friends’ beautiful faces along with their constant contact whether we’re near or far. I also kept WhatsApp so that I could stay connected with some of the most inspiring women I know, and so that we could have a common place to encourage each other every day.
My connections may be fewer but they are deeper and that is exactly what I am aiming for by being selective with my time on social media. Any well-educated nutritionist would tell you that you should eat food with a purpose. We shouldn’t be eating junk because it taste great. We should be eating food for the purpose of nourishing and fueling our bodies. Kale may not be the best tasting dish but it’s packed with nutrients that we can benefit from. I’m not saying we should completely deprive ourselves of any indulgence. I’m just saying we should be mindful of whether or not we are feeding our needs more than we are our desires. My eating habits may need some (a lot of) fine-tuning but I do believe that we should use this concept to guide more than just our diets. I think it’s important for us to examine our relationships and the use of our time and ask ourselves “what kind of nourishment is this providing for my life?” Minimalists say the same thing regarding our material possessions. If our homes and our personal spaces are cluttered with things that don’t add genuine value to our lives, then it’s probably time to do some cleaning. I don’t think we realize how much we tend to hold on to. We don’t realize that when we crowd our lives, and our minds, and our physical spaces with things that we don’t need, we take up so much space (physically and mentally) that could be used for growth.
Whether you feel like you are completely content with where you are right now, or you are dying for a change, it never hurts to take inventory of your life. Look at every aspect and be honest with yourself. This is an ongoing process for me. I’m okay with admitting that I have not mastered any of this. The point is, I’m not going to stop working at it. Deactivating Facebook gave me a chance to breathe and it also gave me a chance to see who is in my life for the long haul, regardless of my lack of a profile. These are the people that I am holding onto and these are the people who will always have a reserved space in my life.