Over the past few weeks, maybe months, it’s become very apparent to me that the manner in which I spend my ‘free’ time is vastly different than it used to be. I am not sure where exactly the change began to happen, but not that long ago, my free time used to be spent reading books (not e-books), writing, drawing, painting and watching tv. These days, I’m finding that Facebook seems to devour my time. It’s where I turn to when there are a few idle minutes, or a few hours to kill. An emotional connection kicks into my brain when I log into Facebook. It’s like walking into a giant living room and seeing your friends and family sitting around carrying on about their day. Some of them are watching tv, some are working, some are reading, some are having philosophical conversations, some are exploring realms of education, some are arguing politics, some are playing with their dogs, some are lamenting their losses, some are declaring their wins…..It’s a cornucopia of information and emotion.
I’m drawn to this living room much more often than I should be. I began thinking about ‘why’ I kept coming back on such an obsessive basis. At times, I feel almost panicky if I don’t log on to Facebook to check in and see whats’ going on. I don’t like that feeling. I feel panicked enough about other things, logging on to Facebook shouldn’t be one of them. I didn’t have to think about it too long. I know why it lures me in the way it does. Facebook is a conduit for me to be the person I am, but don’t get to be in the physical world. What I mean by this is that I don’t interact with too many people in my life in 3D. There’s my husband, two co-workers and on odd days, the assortment of people who walk into our office; boss, clients, colleagues and random strangers. These don’t occur every day though. Most days, I only interact with a total of 3 people.
Facebook, allows me to interact with so many more. While it’s virtual, the feelings and emotions that come from the interactions are often more real to me than the few that I have ‘live’. There are deep connections to friends and family that only occur on Facebook because we mostly live so far away from each other. I cherish those connections, but I’ve come to realize that it’s starting to be important to me to build some connections with people that I can see and touch and feel in real life as well. I admit to being a selfish person. I am selfish and lazy about my ‘time’. I often don’t want to put the energy into participating in interactions that will put me face-to-face with people, and it’s not because I don’t actually want to be around other people, but because I fear that in-person, I’m not as smart, or witty, or funny or kind or supportive as I am on screen. I feel more empowered online than in person.
As I’m typing this out, the reason for my preferences actually are becoming quite clear. On the Myers & Briggs website, the definition of “introvert” is as follows:
I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with. I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act. Ideas are almost solid things for me. Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing.
The following statements generally apply to me:
I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
I prefer to know just a few people well.
I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.
That fits me pretty well. I’ve known for a long time that I’m an introvert, but Facebook allows me to not be one. It allows me to express my ideas, showcase my art, commiserate with friends in need, argue politics, show support for causes, etc. etc. without having to do any of it out loud or in person. It’s all in my head.
With all this said, I’ve made a decision about Facebook and how I interact with it. I am going to wean myself from it. I’m not leaving; there are too many personal ties I have through Facebook that I’m not willing to give up, but I am going to curtail my use of it back significantly. I will use it for work purposes, and I’ll check in with family and friends starting with once a day, with the intent of reducing that function to once a week. We’ll see how it goes from there.
What will I be doing with my time instead of Facebooking you ask? Great question! For starters, I’m am going to need to generate an income much more actively starting next year than I am now, so my time will be spent doing just that; generating business/money. Outside of that, on Wednesday afternoon, I unpacked the rest of my books that had been sitting in boxes for over a year and discovered a bunch of books that I’d never read, or that I want to read again. I also want to teach myself to sew better and use my sewing machine more often, and become a bit more proficient at it! Besides reading and sewing, there’s painting, drawing and photographing.
So there we go.
I’m proud to say that I wrote this entire post without once tabbing over to check in on Facebook. Pretty big accomplishment. 😉