In the spirit of spiritual sacrifice, I’ve decided to give up Facebook for Lent. I know, I know, you’re thinking “Um, Ash Wednesday was last week.” I know Ash Wednesday was last week. Like any honest, well-meaning lapsed Catholic, I’m coming up late on my penance. “Dude, seriously, I thought you went and got all Buddhist on us,” you’re thinking. It’s true, meditation and the teachings of Gautama Buddha have found their way into my personal hierarchy of wants and needs. But like any good Catholic, I am versed in the Sacraments, so I know that a dash of Reconciliation here, a pinch of the Eucharist there and I’m right back on the inside with the Big Man. Besides, as I’ve probably mentioned on this blog before, I’m one of few Catholics that has received the Last Rites and lived to tell about it. Well, not actually tell about it since I don’t remember a thing about the experience since I was heavily sedated at the time, but you get where I am going. And besides, I figure at this point, me and God are even Steven. I’m not worried.
“Didn’t you write a blog post just two months ago extolling the virtues and lauding the wonders of Facebook?” Man but you are a pesky voice-I-created-myself-for-the-purposes-of-this-blog-post. It’s true that not long ago I got on a soap box about how Facebook has come to mean so much to me since, as a writer who has enjoyed the satisfaction of having my words read by others both in print and online, and enjoyed the praise (and criticism, of course) that ensued. I am sort of an exhibitionist that way. But the ultimate goal of this experiment is to focus on my personal life, focus on the purity of my writing, be it blog or book, and ultimately of freeing myself of attachment. Attachment I have to the reaction of others and, potentially, how that might sway my work in one direction or the other. Attachment to immediate gratification or disappointment. Ultimately, attachment to distraction. In addition, I want to make serious headway in my piano skills, devote myself to 5 times per week at the gym again. I find myself in something of a rut and dropping Facebook for 40 days and 40 nights seems a logical piece of the larger puzzle of righting my direction and centering my spirit.
Understand, I’ll probably check Facebook occasionally, but I swear on this day, February 22, that you will not know it. Not a “like,” not a comment, not a “like” on a comment on a thread, not a comment on a “like” on a comment on a thread on a post. Nothing. “Yeah, and what about if I private message you and that little blue dot next to your name on my Smartphone gets all colored and I know you checked it?” I’ll do you one better my friend. I will respond to you and we’ll converse same as usual. But if you suggest in public that you PM’d me and we talked I’ll deny it. Well, I won’t deny it because I can’t comment on the post or “like” the comment, so no one will know if you are telling the truth or not. I certainly won’t correct you because … you get it. Besides, with communication the way it is these days, Facebook Messenger seems to be just as important if not more so than texting, email or phone calls. Maybe not phone calls. There’s many, many young people out there that don’t even know that that thing they hold on to like Linus holds on to his blanket actually places telephone calls. And if you comment on a blog post on my blog itself, I will read it and I may respond. No nasty ones though. I can just decide not to approve those and they don’t show up at the blog anyway, so don’t bother. I’m a member of a few Facebook groups and I will share my blog posts with those groups and that is where my involvement in all things Facebook will end.
I digress. I’m not going to substitute Twitter or Tumblr or Tweaker or anything else. I’m simply going to cut Facebook out of my diet for 40 days like cookies or candy. Or cigarettes. Hell, maybe quitting smoking will be easier since I won’t have the distractions of so many people, even the ones cheering me on. And then again, as I’ve come to realize about myself, maybe I’ll last a week with this experiment before I come slithering back on my hands and knees groveling for your attention again. We will just have to find out. Understand, this is something I need to do and want to do. I’m not isolating or anything. Simply reevaluating. Reassessing. Recharging.
So farewell, see you on April 3rd.
Okay, we’ll go with April 4th.
I want to see the comments and reactions from this blog post, okay?
Like methadone to a junky, I swear.