Because sometimes a hiatus is needed
Nope, this isn’t a blog about taking a hiatus from blogging, although I suppose I have also been taking one of those. No, the hiatus for today’s discussion has been one that has needed to come for some time now and involves Facebook.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to shame anyone off of Facebook. Really. I’m not even getting off Facebook for good and if you decide you want to or should, you should do it because it’s your own, well-thought out decision.
Oh, Facebook. How I have a love-hate relationship with it. On one hand, it helps me stay connected (although the level of “connection” can be argued …) to people, and when you a) are a stay at home mom of small ones and b) live across the ocean from all of your family and the majority of your closest friends, well – connection is something you need to stay ahem, sane. I appreciate some of the encouragement from particular people online (and hope that I am also an encouragement to others at times) and it’s how I learn about great blog posts, free Kindle books, and the like. Others have also told me they really like living vicariously through the things I share about our Thailand adventure and I really do enjoy “including” people in this journey of ours.
But on the other hand … oh, the other hand. I am not disciplined enough to spend small amounts of time on it. I expend emotional energy getting riled up because people seem to think that Facebook is the place where you can post things and say things to people that you never would say to their face as well as the perfect venue in which to discuss the world’s biggest issues. I suddenly have to know what’s going on with my high school friend’s dog (not really, but you get the point) … um, huh? I run to it whenever I need some mindless activity, when my own reality seems to difficult to face, and well, any other time. Translation – Facebook is many things, but it’s mostly the single biggest way I waste time as well as one of my least helpful ways of coping with life.
That “on the other hand” is the reason I finally made the decision to take a hiatus from Facebook. Well, not a total hiatus. There are several local FB groups that are necessary in order to stay connected with to get information regarding living here in Chiang Mai as well as stay connected with a group of ladies I spend time with, so I made up a 2nd, slightly cryptic account and joined those groups. I deactivated my main account for at least the month of January.
You know what? I’m 3+ weeks into my hiatus and I’m ok. I think I’m going to make it … and (gasp!) beyond that, I’m enjoying the hiatus. I might even extend it.
In these past weeks of not spending much time on FB, I’ve learned some things about myself and about connection. The fact of the matter is that I’m not as well connected to as many other people as when I was spending consistent time on FB and that’s definitely a loss of sorts for me. However, I have limited time and energy and I’ve had to decide who it is that I want to spend time connecting with, both here and back in the States. I’m hoping that being connected with fewer people means that I’ll be more deeply connected with those who I do connect with.
I’m able to be more present in my life here in Thailand. I spend less time on my computer and more time connecting with my family and developing friendships with other local friends. I’ve been writing more. I’ve spent more time reading great books and thinking about things I’ve wanted to think about for months now. I’ve baked new recipes and learned to make homemade chai tea concentrate. You get the picture. Although I still need to work on not running to the internet in general (blogs, etc.) when reality seems too hard to deal with, I am doing better in that area because I’m no longer mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed a crazy amount of times each day when I should be resting or coping with life in healthier ways.
These past 10 months, I’ve been thinking more about the fact that I’m an introvert (as in, I need to be energized by being alone in order to enjoy my time with others – this is just one aspect of introversion, but the one I’ve most been thinking about), how it relates with and affects being a mother, and how much time spent in deep, meaningful relationship is necessary for me to thrive. In the past 3 weeks, I feel less tired and a bit more clear-minded. Call me crazy, but I really believe trying to process all the information from so many different peoples’ lives was draining me emotionally. It would be different if I could just read a status post and move on, which I can in most cases, but not in all. In other cases, I’m thinking about that person, wondering what’s going on below the status post, pondering the difficulty that the person seems to be experiencing right now, or having to think through different issues in my own life that were touched on by their status post. Or, I might spend time comparing my life to others’ lives, even though we all know that FB only gives us a snapshot glance of someone’s life.
To be honest, I don’t have excess energy to think through all of that right now. Life is intense enough and there’s plenty to think through, deal with, and act on. Instead, I’d rather deepen the relationships both back in the States and here that I feel like I’m supposed to invest in with my limited time and emotional energy. I’d rather be more fully present with the life I’m living here in Thailand right now. And as a result, yes – I will miss out on being connected with some people I really wish I could be. But in the grand scheme of things, the loss comes with a bigger gain in many other areas of my life.
Well, I believe I’ve just talked myself into continuing my hiatus. It’s funny how that works. Here’s to another month of learning, connecting, and choosing the best over the good in my life!