De-activated: Life after Facebook

A couple weeks ago, I deactivated my facebook account.

de·ac·ti·vate

1. make (something, typically technical equipment or a virus) inactive by disconnecting or destroying it.

“the switch deactivates the alarm”

synonyms:

disable, defuse, disarm, disconnect, inactivate, make inoperative, immobilize, stop, turn off

“don’t forget to deactivate the alarm”

Yes. I needed to disable the virus that is facebook from having a role in my life. I decided to do this for a few reasons.

  1. I needed a break. I needed a timeout. I was in the habit of checking my facebook account way too often. I relied on it too much as a method of communication, but even more as a mindless distraction. I used to sign in to facebook at my dorm room computer once a day. Now, as a 29-year-old adult, I was sliding my thumb over my smart phone app several times an hour. AN HOUR. And for what reason? I needed to break the addiction.
  2. I needed to feel better. Even though I’d say I use facebook with good intentions: to catch up with my friends and see how everyone is doing, I always end up feeling worse than before I looked at it. I can’t explain why that is, really. …I’ll try. I felt isolated and jealous of the tiny pieces of former friends lives that they were choosing to share on the internet… which brings me to the next point.
  3. My Facebook friends are not my friends. I have some good friends who I actually talk to. We talk on the phone and make an effort to spend time together in person. I trust them and I care about them. And then I have facebook friends. Every time I update my facebook status, I’m sharing news with an anonymous audience of 500 people. Sure, I knew each of these individuals at some point in my life: a former classmate; a former co-worker. But the assumption that they are going to see, read, and care about something I post makes me feel entitled, selfish, and lazy. The fact that I may not have personally spoken (or texted, or emailed) with someone in 8 years but I know their dog’s name, where they went on vacation last summer, and what they ate for lunch today is WEIRD. I’m convinced that’s why my 10-year-reunion felt so weird.

So, I’m taking a break, and while I do feel a bit disconnected, I feel a lot better in general. So many of my friends post negative or insensitive things. I’d hidden most of them, but, honestly, that’s taxing. These days, I’m making an effort to write more letters, to text more friends, and to stay in touch on a personal level because I WANT to, not because I feel obligated to be one of the ‘likes’ on a photo you posted.

One thing I hated about facebook is the lack of intimacy. When you wish a friend happy birthday, and you may say something like, “Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing friends and most talented women I know!” …it seems disingenuous to me. Because you aren’t writing this in a birthday card for her to read and hold on to, you’re shouting it to the world along with a collage of pictures of the two of you that scream, LOOK WE ARE FRIENDS AND HERE IS PROOF. That message is not just designed to make your friend feel good, it’s designed to make YOU feel good. And, I know everyone won’t agree with me, but I also think a status like that is designed to to showcase your friendship and status to see how to rates with her other friends. In turn, you’re making everyone else feel a little bit bad, or a little bit left out.

I never *really* thought about this until I listened to a podcast where 12-year-old girls were talking about Instagram rules and expectations for liking and commenting on photos. I still have my Instagram, by the way. I’m not addicted in the same way and I don’t use it in the same way so I think this is okay for me right now, but if that ever changes, it’s going, too.

One more thing. The ONLY thing about I truly miss about facebook is Humans of New York: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/

Fortunately, you don’t need a facebook account to view the content. If you have a faceobok account and by some impossible feat have not yet discovered Humans of New York, please go “like” the page. It will brighten your news feed and make you feel things and give you some much needed world perspective in a sea of mindless updates.

The Last Day of Christmas

This morning, I woke up before Bret, turned on the Christmas tree, lit the fire, and found Miracle on 34th Street on Netflix. I made some coffee and now I’m cuddled up in the lazy boy with Velveeta. It feels like Christmas, but it’s actually January 10th.

By most accounts, the holiday season is behind us. It’s January, now. It’s time to embrace a New Year and accept that cold winter temperatures are going to stick around for a while without the soft glow of Christmas lights, but it’s tough. I’m not ready. I have a really difficult time saying goodbye to Christmas season because I look forward to so much.

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2015: Year of Adjustments

A few months ago, while Bret and I were shopping at the Outlets, I spotted a pair of heavy-duty waterproof boots. Our Boone friends had lectured me whenever I showed up to their homes in flats. You’ll need a good pair of boots. So I bought them. And I waited patiently for the first snowflake. All October. All November. And then, in mid-December, it snowed just a little. I laced up my new boots. I crunched in the thin layer of snow on our front deck. I took a picture of the boots in the snow to validate the purchase. And I thought: This is my Boone life.

Boots

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Essential Oils are not for Cats

Essential oils are really trendy right now. I have friends who swear by them and use them for basically every facet of their life (cleaning, ingesting them as medicine, diffusing them into a room for a calming mood). I think they are neat, and I like to be trendy, so when my sister surprised me with an essential oil starter set and book for my birthday last year, I was STOKED.

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Our First Hike

I’m learning that in addition to bluegrass music and local breweries, Boone is known for it’s gorgeous hiking trails.

I’m not much of an outdoorsy person [yet]. I’m one of those people who likes camping and hiking in theory, but not so much in practice. I love fresh air. I love the gentle, soothing sounds of nature. I love food prepared over a campfire. I do not love bugs, snakes, or dirt.

I can’t live here and not at least try to embrace the outdoorsy-ness, though, right? So this weekend, Bret and I went on our first Boone hike. Continue reading

Harrisonburg is my Homeland

When someone asks me where I’m from, I usually answer like this,

“Well, I just moved here from Tallahassee, FL; but I’m originally from Richmond, VA; and I work in Washington DC, so I go up there a lot, too.”

I’ve learned this kind of answer is very normal in academia. In fact, I met someone last week who met me word for word. She responded with, “Oh, I love Tallahassee! I grew up in Jacksonville, FL. And I went to college in DC. And, yep, I lived in Richmond for a bit before I was in Texas.” And, by the way, she just moved here (to Boone, NC) from Cleveland. Continue reading

Friendship

This past weekend was wonderful.

Once a year, three of my best friends from high school get together for a girls weekend. We always go somewhere new and spend a few days catching up and talking about life. And we always pose for a picture like this on a balcony, or, in this case, balcony looking object.

2015_balcony pic

It’s one of my favorite traditions. Continue reading

I wrote a novel.

I did it. I wrote a novel.

It’s a sloppy first draft that needs a lot of revision. There are sections that need to be totally rewritten. It’s not ready to submit for publication yet. It needs a lot of love. But… I wrote it.

Right now, it’s just shy of 54,000 words.

23 chapters.

100 single spaced typed pages.

There are developed characters. There is a consistent storyline. It feels amazing, honestly. I’m quite proud of myself today. Continue reading

Asheville

When Bret first applied for a job in Boone, he sold me on the fact that it was only about an hour away from Asheville, NC.

We’d been to Asheville once before with friends in grad school, and it was a blast. I remembered a champagne bookstore, a chocolate lounge with all of the chocolate you could ever want, and just a generally fun and pleasant atmosphere.

Asheville_2011_1

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The Shortest Sign of Spring

This has been the longest spring of my life. In Tallahassee, spring began at the end of February with the first sign of budding flowers and pollen. Pollen completely took over our screened porch by March, and then different flowers continued to bud and flourish through April. Of course, flowers bloom year round in Florida. I remember these beautiful red flowers that came up each December. But there was definitely an early spring season. When we moved to North Carolina at the end of May, it was still cool here (58 degrees our first morning!) and our  landlord told us that these beautiful pink flowers would bloom “soon” on our back porch. I had my doubts. By the first week of June I thought surely they had already bloomed and disappeared by now, but, sure enough, come mid-June mountain laurel type flowers began opening up on all of the bushes around our house and bright orange flowers sprouted by our mailbox (clearly, I need to learn the names of flowers). Spring continued in my world 6 months after it began. It still feels like spring here. Continue reading