De-Clutter & Cleanse

IMG_3252With Chuck away and a break from grad school coinciding, I have a unique opportunity to step away from the frenzy that has been Life lately by refocusing and realigning my routine, goals, activities, and self just in general. I have felt rather overwhelmed and distracted lately, which makes me tired and irritable. I don’t want to become so stretched thin that I miss the value of the experiences I’m blessed to have these days. So, I’m trying to make the most of my 3 weeks off from school and my 10 days of solitude, with Chuck off doing his thing.

The very first thing I did after dropping him at the airport Saturday morning was clean the house top to bottom. This included a closet cleanse, and I managed to fill two trash bags of clothes to donate and two trash bags of… well, trash. There’s more I could do, but it was a good start and felt awesome. I went through drawers that had become dumping grounds for miscellaneous items and scraps of paper, and put away all the laundry that had been chilling on dressers and dryers for the past couple of weeks. Pleased with the results, I lit some candles, made myself a very colorful salad, turned on some French cafe radio, and sat down for my next project: removing myself from Facebook.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Facebook. I think it’s a great platform for organizing my memories, sharing my updates, and staying connected with friends and family. But over the years, it has become an all-encompassing distraction that is brimming with tension and negativity. I’m sure you all know what I mean…

If you share the good stuff, you’re bragging or putting on a front.

If you share the bad stuff, you’re being dramatic or seeking attention.

If you use your page to promote certain causes, they’re either the wrong ones, you’re being pushy/annoying, or you’re even doing it “wrong.”

and,

If you don’t use your page to promote certain causes, then you’re obviously contributing to that problem with your silence.

When did Facebook become such a critical, judgmental place? Since when did it become a place where one of my best friends won’t share her wedding pictures because she worries everyone will think she’s a narcissist, flaunting her big day?google-angry-mob-cartoon21When I deactivated my account, I submitted a comment to Mark Z. about another issue I have with Facebook: the algorithm that allows everyone to see my activity on their news feeds. I’m not talking about the stuff I share voluntarily on my own page, but the interactions I have with other pages. For instance: when I comment on another page’s post about the Yulin Dog Festival in China, and my ultra right-wing “friend” decides to publicly comment that I care more about dogs in China than the “millions of babies murdered every year in the U.S. due to abortion.” Or, how about my friend’s example of “liking” her friend’s post about her campaign efforts for a political candidate, and then her co-workers (who oppose that candidate) challenging her about that “like” when she got back to the office.

Seriously, FB leaves us too exposed these days, and people – “friends” – are brazen enough to be abusive with the information. And then for the things we do choose to share, we can’t win. It’s silly, but sometimes I feel self-conscious about what I post, or I choose not to share something because I’m not sure how it will be received. I personally enjoy information exchange and long to engage with people, but I almost always regret it because things get uncomfortable (or straight up ugly) so fast. Compassion and “activism” has become a competitive sport on Facebook, and people never fail in going on tangents and making presumptions (even the people who should know better.) It’s only going to get worse with an election coming up. I could go on… but you get the picture.

As I was preparing to make my exit, I did realize how much I use Facebook 0ccac109f6117b228f7b9860caa15a20for my Oki Paws Stray Project. It’s how I find homes for all the kitty cats. So, I made a very limited Facebook profile for making such posts in Okinawa, with no “friends.” I also followed all the pages I enjoy so that I can interact and keep up without anyone bothering me about it, or even knowing what I’m up to in the first place. I kind of like it!

So… Will I be back? Probably. I have far too many photos and memories saved on my original profile to get rid of it all together, and too many people that I want to reach easily. I just need to decide what I ultimately want to use it for, and I need to cull my friends list – which somehow has risen to well over a thousand…

That rant went on a little longer than I intended, but in case anyone is wondering why I disappeared, there ya go. I’m hoping that stepping away for a bit will help me get more out of school and work, allow me to get more exercise, read a good book, and just clear my head and be a little mysterious! It also gives me more time to plan our upcoming adventures: Kyoto in October, and Thailand in December!

So much living to do 🙂

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