Goodbye, Facebook

I was always suspicious of Facebook. It didn’t strike me as my kind of thing, whatever that may be. A bit too individualistic. And what did I have to say that was interesting?

In the end, while I was in university, I was convinced to sign up. I started to get a feeling I was missing out on stuff. Missing out on jokes, or on social activities. So I joined.

There then followed a couple of years where I loved the site. It was my connection to the outside world. It kept me in touch with all the friends I wanted to keep in touch with. It made it all very easy.

But in the last year I’ve become increasingly disillusioned. Not because of any changes the site made, or any silly reason like that. It’s more fundamental.

In the past few months I’ve been wanting to quit, wanting to free myself of the daily chores of checking to see who has said what to whom, and whether anyone found my last status remotely interesting or entertaining. I never really used it to let people know what was going on in my life, or what I thought on a hour-by-hour basis, like some people do. No, it was often just used to make some ridiculously stupid or bizarre comment. Sometimes they had some topicality, but mostly they were just whatever nonsense had come to my head that very minute.

I had started to grow attached to this. And this was very unlike me. I’ve always been Mr Not Really Popular. I only ever had a very small circle of good friends in school, and no one else mattered. Whenever I made attempts to change this, I was very uncomfortable, and ended up going back to the norm.

So to suddenly start becoming dependent on finding out what people thought about me, and thinking constantly about how I need to interact with other people, to sustain friendships, or to keep doors open, was actually rather tiring, and, on reflection, nothing like who I am. It sounds extremely selfish, but I don’t have the time to maintain minor friendships. And, let’s face it, there’s a reason why they were minor in the first place.

In the end, it was untenable. The people I actually want to keep in touch with are all available via other means. I can text them. I can e-mail them. I can speak to them on MSN. Those are the very small number of people who are actually worth it.

Or maybe they aren’t. Because that was the other doubt it put into my mind. Facebook exposed a lot of the people who I thought of as friends as being nothing of the sort. Some people would routinely ignore my comments, despite the fact that they were clearly using the site.

All these thoughts were just unhealthy for me, and so, about three weeks ago, I deleted my account. The addictiong took a couple of days to go, as I kept aiming for the “FB” favourite icon in my bookmarks bar, and realising there was nothing there… but now it’s gone I feel better.

Facebook just isn’t for people like me. We over-analyse everything to death. I’m my own worst enemy.

I think I’ve said that many times before…

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A Sort Of Holiday

It’s Sunday afternoon and all is quiet. I’m still officially “on holiday” though I did do some work earlier this week.

This is most unusual, because I’m still sitting in my parents’ house. I’ve been here for about 10 days now. But it’s only really the past four days that I’ve actually began having a proper break. And it all began with a simple thing.

Turning my phone off.

Earlier in the week I missed a couple of phone calls. Not many, but enough. Each one that came through made me despair. I worried that I was missing business permanently. I also worried that maybe I could help them immediately and therefore make my eventual return a lot easier.

But, for now, I couldn’t care less. The holiday will officially end tomorrow, when I’ll turn my phone back on. The phone has now been off since Thursday afternoon. I changed the voicemail to say I was on holiday and would deal with things when I get back. I have even been disciplined enough not to look at my e-mail, though I wish I had changed it to an autoresponder to tell people I’d get back to them.

It has worked, though. I feel like I’ve had a few days without being hounded by clients, without having to think about computers, about websites, about HTML, and having to check voicemails every couple of hours. I feel better, and definitely less stressed. Of course, it won’t take long for that to all start up again, but I do feel like I have recovered from an incredibly hard time over the past month. The work has been ceaseless.

But I do think the holiday has helped me to clarify a few work-related thoughts. I’m now ready to stop doing all distant call outs for a number of reasons. Firstly, they don’t pay enough for the hassle they cause. Secondly, I just don’t have the time to cut several hours out of my day for them; and thirdly, I need to reduce the stress business causes me. I feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken sometimes. I’m willing to sacrifice the small amount of money they bring me if it gives me back critical working hours. And, it will also reduce the dependence I have on my housemate, which, if all goes to plan, will be reduced to zero in the coming months.

So this holiday has definitely been good. I have made some useful decisions. I’ve had some good fun. I’ve also had some nice time off with my family, who are all undergoing their own various stresses, strains and difficult decisions at the moment. It’s a changeable time for everyone. I have offered advice, but no one wants it, so I won’t be doing so any more.

Switching my phone on tomorrow morning though is going to be interesting…