According to an app that records how much time you’ve wasted on Facebook, I have wasted the equivalent of a full 21 days on the site since I joined seven years ago.
That’s pretty ridiculous.
One of the main reasons I wanted to move to a new country, specifically one that was the most isolated, was to limit my social media usage. I thought it would be so easy to rid myself of technology, especially since I didn’t even have a phone that was use-able in the country when I moved.
Well, I was wrong.
October 2013: I sadly was the epitome of a pathetic American tourist obsessed with finding a working free WiFi spot (which is pretty impossible in NZ– no joke) when I first arrived in Auckland. I was so used to always having Google Maps, unlimited data plans, unlimited iMessages, Facebook notifications, etc. on my phone. Rather than enjoy the new country, I spent my first few days wondering what I was missing out on by not having a phone or internet access.
WHAT THE HELL, RIGHT? I WAS IN FREAKIN’ BEAUTIFUL NEW ZEALAND.
For a good month or two once settled in Wellington, I found myself wasting time on Facebook — too much time. My house has pretty decent WiFi, but it has been a curse at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Facebook is a genius invention, especially for social networking and staying in touch. But like most other Millennials, it also became the norm for me to check it every few hours.
It didn’t take long to become increasingly annoyed with Facebook. I knew I only had myself to blame for logging on in the first place.
I can’t really explain the feeling, but I’ve begun to disconnect from nearly everyone in America (well, except one). Perhaps that’s what self-discovery, solo travel, constant exploration, and new things every day do to you.
A lot has to do with the same people doing the same things, posting the same self-centered or “woe is me”-type statuses. When you travel, you, by no means, are above any of these people. BUT, when you travel, you also gain various perspectives that allow you to see things differently in ways that even friends (or those you “thought” were your friends) back home will never understand.
And it frustrated me. A lot. The only ones who understand me are now ones who are older and more mature (i.e. my roommates and all their friends) or have traveled enough to know what I’m experiencing.
Fast forward four months into my stay here, and I’ve cut myself off from Facebook. Completely.
I haven’t deactivated it just for the sole purpose of lazily using Facebook to automatically sign into other handy apps/programs, but I will say that I’m not missing out on anything by not logging in anymore. Who cares? THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN FACEBOOK.
I understand that from a business perspective (or to link a blog to a page, like mine), it’s great. For personal use? I find that it doesn’t define my brand, nor does it help or hinder it. It’s just a waste of my time.
The only reason I truly need WiFi now is to update my blog (case in point), which I can guarantee is only for the sake of one or two people who actually read it, and for Instagram. These two encompass what I love: Writing, photography and creativity. Expressions of my passions. Facebook doesn’t really do anything for me except distract me from more important things in life.
Of course, there are more useful modes of social media (I will always praise LinkedIn), and there are other sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit that may be equally as distracting when I log on to those as well. But choosing to cut myself off from Facebook usage is like shedding old skin — I don’t need to even check that site anymore.
By unplugging from technology (whether for a week, a month, or a year), the following can happen:
- Being one with nature. Hiking, running, walking, exploring unknown paths, bird watching. We live in a great, big beautiful world. Enjoy it.
- Reading. There’s nothing like picking up a physical book and flipping through its pages to feel like you’ve been transported into their world. Try it sometime… it’s riveting.
- Your mind is put at ease. Especially for a Type A persona like myself.
- Socializing in person. Not with your phone.
- Learning new skills. Cooking (which I desperately need to master), guitar, yoga, a language, you name it.
- Getting (peacefully) lost. Explore the known and unknown places around you and stay out until the stars twinkle in the sky. It’s a beautiful thing, really.
To me, disconnecting from Facebook and unnecessary technology is bliss. There is a life without Facebook and technology these days… you just need to embrace it.