PARENTING

Facebook is Ruining My Life

Cracked-iPhone-4s-Screen-300x225

I’m getting a new phone on Saturday. My iPhone 4S (yes, people still have those) has been slowly dying. First, my son ate the Otterbox Defender case. When I went to try to replace the case at Verizon I was told that they no longer keep the 4S cases on the floor. After convincing the salesclerk to go into the back and retrieve the box of unwanted iPhone 4S cases I decided it might not be worth $60 to buy a case for a phone that doesn’t even warrant display in a Verizon store. (This made the salesclerk’s day.)

So my phone has been naked for the past several months, and during that time I have dropped it approximately three hundred fifty seven times, and my son has chewed on it more times than that. Only one speaker works, it shuts off completely at random intervals, the battery runs out after twenty minutes, and the screen has a small crack in the corner.

Still, all in all, I’m pretty impressed with this small piece of technological wonder, and its ability to defy all odds and power on with 95% reliability.

However the newest development has caused me to bite the bullet and purchase a new phone. Why? Well, my phone no longer opens any programs except phone, chat, and music. While it technically opens Safari, it only provides a 3G network. According to the Verizon representative I talked to, that’s the equivalent of dial-up. So basically, my phone has the computing ability of my 2007 Motorola Razr.

This development has meant that none of the apps I have downloaded will load. The phone crashes when I try to look at Facebook, for example. Just an example.

Well, technically, it’s THE example. Because I look at Facebook a lot. A LOT. And not being able to access Facebook on my phone for the past week has shed some light on the depth of my addiction.

My average day, it turns out, generally starts by turning off the alarm on my phone, and immediately checking to see if I have a red number hovering over the blue f on my phone’s home screen.

But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no. When stuck in traffic, car at a stop, I find myself reaching for my phone. Yes. Please shame me for this, because it is terrible.

Then there are the moments throughout the day, those moments when there is even a tiny little pause. It’s those moments when I get the sensation that I am forgetting something, that there is something I am meaning to do. Then it hits me. Facebook. I should be checking Facebook.

The evening continues with much the same. Facebook is a constant fixture in my life. I’ve checked Facebook four times already while writing this post.
But seriously, does that even matter? I can’t possibly be checking Facebook any more than anyone else. How many times have you checked Facebook today?

But not having Facebook has forced me to spend my time differently. I’ve been sending longish emails to some of my friends. I’ve been tracking what I eat into My Fitness Pal. I talked to my coworkers at lunch today. I ordered reeds for my clarinet so I can start practicing again. I’ve been reading books.

And then when I do get on Facebook, generally at night after my son is asleep, I notice that there are 12 notifications and I quickly browse through them to see if there are any I even care about. And the answer is that I mostly don’t.

But I sure do like that red number. Especially when it is such a high number after a long day away from the page. But there’s a lot I don’t like.

I don’t like that Facebook is controlling so much of my life. I don’t like waiting for my Facebook to load, hoping that someone somewhere has noticed something I’ve said or done, and feeling badly when the red number doesn’t appear.

I don’t like that I’m the person who looks at other people’s kids and thinks about whether they are as cute as my own. Obviously none of them are. Except for that one. And that makes me angry.

I don’t like the news stories that leave me hopeless.

I don’t like looking at pictures of my friends with kids and hoping to see that they, too, still wear their baby weight.

I don’t like hating the posts from my family members who disagree with me politically. I don’t like how self-righteous I become, justifying how balanced and fair I am because I get angry with people on both sides of every issue.

I don’t like the jealousy when I see someone has bought a house, or published a book, or discovered the secrets to the universe while I fumble along learning a new job.

I’m tired of the compare game, because I always lose. And even when I win, I still lose.

For the record, I have checked Facebook two more times while writing that last part.

So maybe, as much as I don’t like those things, I can’t help myself.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could end this post by telling you that I am quitting Facebook? Wouldn’t it be a fantastic declaration of mindfulness and balance, rising above it all by quitting the comparison game? Wouldn’t I be so incredible?

Well, I’m not quitting Facebook. I love the updates from family and friends. It’s still my primary source of news, local and abroad. It’s still where I look to find the funniest memes.

It is, after all, a pretty incredible means to keep in touch with my family, spread between three continents. And I do actually enjoy seeing my friends’ babies, even the ones that aren’t as cute as my son. Especially the ones that aren’t as cute as my son.

facebook
And I like being liked. In the Facebook sense and the real world sense of the word.

So there are no declarations of quitting Facebook to end this post. But maybe when I pick out my phone on Saturday I will think twice before downloading my Facebook app.

261755_10150290602379874_2436766_nRachel

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    So now I know what you mean when you “like” a picture of one of my kids…

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    So now I know what you mean when you “like” a picture of one of my kids…

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Also, the dosage approach has helped other (not me of course) people addicted to checking for updates. Treating it like smokers using nicotine patches…set a goal to wean yourself off: check it once in the morning, once at lunch, and once before bed.

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Also, the dosage approach has helped other (not me of course) people addicted to checking for updates. Treating it like smokers using nicotine patches…set a goal to wean yourself off: check it once in the morning, once at lunch, and once before bed.

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Also… I want a new phone. Mine is trailing not to far behind the one you describe above. Okay, done commenting now.

    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 29, 2014 at 2:32 am

      First, you never know. Your child might be the one that is cuter that makes me angry… 😉 But truly, both your children are beautiful!

      Second, I think the moderation approach is smart. My pastor recommends not to start looking at Facebook or any other technology until first praying and reading the Bible.

      Last, I highly recommend the iPhone 5c, which I got for 99 cents on Saturday as part of a new 2 year contract with AT&T.

      Oh, and also thanks for the comments!!

  • Reply
    Joel Duncan
    September 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Also… I want a new phone. Mine is trailing not to far behind the one you describe above. Okay, done commenting now.

    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 29, 2014 at 2:32 am

      First, you never know. Your child might be the one that is cuter that makes me angry… 😉 But truly, both your children are beautiful!

      Second, I think the moderation approach is smart. My pastor recommends not to start looking at Facebook or any other technology until first praying and reading the Bible.

      Last, I highly recommend the iPhone 5c, which I got for 99 cents on Saturday as part of a new 2 year contract with AT&T.

      Oh, and also thanks for the comments!!

  • Reply
    Lynn Fernandez
    September 27, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Hi Rachel,

    I sure hope you get this! I’m at work on lunch and tried to comment but the “powers that be” have blocked access to FB. I just *have* to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. You are an extraordinarily gifted writer, whose outright candor exposes the depths of our own hearts…

    Well, I never completed my email to you at school and I’m at home now. I had to chuckle as I read your innermost reactions to FB posts and pics (not as cute as *my* baby, or checking out so and so’s weight loss or gain, etc., etc.), totally identifying with so many of them! As far as FB usage goes, I’m finally in that happy place where I don’t have to check FB everyday and it is so freeing. The only problem is that I may have replaced it with Netflix (oh, for the love…). At any rate, I’ve laughed out loud and shed heaps of tears peering into your life.

    Thank you for your blunt transparency – that takes guts!

    With love, Ms Miya

    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Ms. Miya!!

      Thank you for the comment. It has been refreshing to do the writing, and a discipline, too, since sometimes I would rather not have to reflect on what is really going on with my life. Also, there are times when I think to myself: “Do you really want everyone to know that about you?” And to be fair, sometimes that stops me from posting something. But more often it makes me think I am on the right track for what to write for the week. Because the world needs more honesty and transparency. We need one another, and even more, we need to know that we’re not alone. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I hit publish on a post and immediately regret everything I’ve said. 🙂

      I’d love to talk with you sometime and hear about your life post-Central. And also what you’re watching on Netflix!

      Thank you for reading, thank you for your mentoring in my life, and thank you for your comment.

      Love to you,
      Rachel

  • Reply
    Lynn Fernandez
    September 27, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Hi Rachel,

    I sure hope you get this! I’m at work on lunch and tried to comment but the “powers that be” have blocked access to FB. I just *have* to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. You are an extraordinarily gifted writer, whose outright candor exposes the depths of our own hearts…

    Well, I never completed my email to you at school and I’m at home now. I had to chuckle as I read your innermost reactions to FB posts and pics (not as cute as *my* baby, or checking out so and so’s weight loss or gain, etc., etc.), totally identifying with so many of them! As far as FB usage goes, I’m finally in that happy place where I don’t have to check FB everyday and it is so freeing. The only problem is that I may have replaced it with Netflix (oh, for the love…). At any rate, I’ve laughed out loud and shed heaps of tears peering into your life.

    Thank you for your blunt transparency – that takes guts!

    With love, Ms Miya

    • Reply
      Rachel
      September 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Ms. Miya!!

      Thank you for the comment. It has been refreshing to do the writing, and a discipline, too, since sometimes I would rather not have to reflect on what is really going on with my life. Also, there are times when I think to myself: “Do you really want everyone to know that about you?” And to be fair, sometimes that stops me from posting something. But more often it makes me think I am on the right track for what to write for the week. Because the world needs more honesty and transparency. We need one another, and even more, we need to know that we’re not alone. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I hit publish on a post and immediately regret everything I’ve said. 🙂

      I’d love to talk with you sometime and hear about your life post-Central. And also what you’re watching on Netflix!

      Thank you for reading, thank you for your mentoring in my life, and thank you for your comment.

      Love to you,
      Rachel

  • Reply
    Making Time for Making A Marriage | Teacher. Reader. Mom.
    October 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    […] Me: “I forgot my computer cord at work today. So I guess we will have a technology free evening” [checks Facebook on phone] […]

  • Reply
    Making Time for Making A Marriage | Teacher. Reader. Mom.
    October 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    […] Me: “I forgot my computer cord at work today. So I guess we will have a technology free evening” [checks Facebook on phone] […]

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