It was remarkably hard to pull the plug and it showed me how much I needed to do it. As usual, I put everything unpleasant and effort-requiring to the last minute and, I’m afraid I left an awkward mess in my wake since I sent out messages to hundreds of people just moments before I deactivated my account. Apparently there were missing hyperlinks and people sending out their contact info to everyone but me, and all kinds of chaos. Well, chaos might be a strong word for it. I hope no one will hate me forever just because I tripped over my own two feet leaving Facebook.
I was surprised how jittery I felt in the first 24 hours. I had a constant compulsion toward my computer (since I had long ago removed the app from my phone). I was formulating Statuses in my mind. “Well, now that that is done, I’m going to sit down and enjoy a lovely bacon, brie and cranberry sandwich.” Isn’t that meta? Formulating a Facebook status about leaving Facebook. But I’ve always been one to narrate my life in words. In fact, that’s how I think. Not in images, but a constant string of audible (to me) words. Clearly, I’m a writer. But one who has been focusing on Facebook statuses to the detriment of her other writing.
Life without Facebook felt like time was standing still. This feeling was compounded by the fact that I was suffering a nasty head cold, and Facebook is my fallback method of making the slow, painful moments of being a stay-at-home mum move more quickly. But interestingly, I’ve also been feeling like time is speeding by a little too quickly for comfort. I wished there was some knot in the rope that I could hang on to for a moment. It was good to remember that longing as I looked at my watch every 15 minutes that first night after dinner, wishing it was Lucy’s bedtime already, playing together in quarter-hour segments that each felt like twenty thousand years. Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I was sick. Yes, I would dance a happy dance when Lucy was finally settled in her bed. But this was the knot in the rope of time that I had wanted to grasp, the slow, quiet moment in life when my only assignment was to be with Lucy and Clint. It was not a particularly pleasant knot, but a good, firm one. Good for holding onto.
Yesterday, Lucy woke up from her nap with the most amazing cowlick smack in the front of her bangs. No matter how many times I patted it down with spit, it was still there. It gave me so much joy every time I looked at her. But instead of taking a picture or formulating a status, I just got to savor it, tuck it away in my memory, and now I can share it here, with my words. I was grateful that I didn’t spend the day dashing around to put a screen between Lucy and I. Even if I felt antsy, I just sat with her at lunch as she wiggled and squirmed and made faces and ate a little bit of something (the crazy girl is constantly hungry at this stage, but increasingly choosy about what she’ll eat, leading to a lot of emphatic “mo! mo! mo!” when she seizes on something she would like more of—this morning it was cream cheese). It was a bit of a struggle to sit still and be present, but really, how could watching a toddler eat be boring? Tedious perhaps, but definitely not boring.
These are the days of my new beginning. Take them how you will (ahem, first world problems), they show me that I was missing out on a lot of happiness. Not to say that Facebook didn’t have its own delights. This is just different happiness—feet-firmly-on-the-ground, me-in-the-place-where-I-am, floor-swept-and-counter-wiped kind of happiness--and it feels like good medicine for my soul.