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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things As They Really Are

*Warning to those who read this post. These are the opinions and thoughts of me, myself and I. In no way am I suggesting what I am about to say, is for everyone. It is personal choice and accountability that I have done the things that I've done and in no way do I preach or pressure anyone else to do as I have done. With that said, I commend those who face personal addictions whether great or small and have the courage to dispel them from their life*


A lot of you have been wondering where I've been. Well I'm still healing up from my leg. Still trying to put away and organize things in our house. Trying to get rid of things that I don't need in my house (it all ends up in bins that are for the "Garage Sale", I kept meaning to have this summer). I refer to it as "De-Cluttering".

I'm also trying to de-clutter my life a bit. I've always felt I spend too much time on the computer/Internet, making no room for the imp0rtant things in my life. Of course my good old excuse has been, "well I can't really do much, with my leg and all, so why not be on the computer?". After much thought about all of the distractions in my life and after reading a talk by Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, I decided to do something about my online addiction.

Now some of you may say, "Addiction? Addiction to what?"

Let me explain...

I joined Facebook (an online social network) a few years ago, at the request of some friends back home in Canada. After having a MySpace page to "keep in contact" with friends from back home I decided that Facebook was a better option and more private. I had a blog going at the time to provide updates to my friends, but Facebook provided more instant communication and was easier to navigate.

The first few months of Facebook for me was seeing how many friends I could find and get. In my first two weeks alone, I already had 100+ friends. It was a challenge and race to see just how many I could get. When that novelty wore off (and 300+friends later) I had used Facebook to make contact with friends from all over. I had friends from elementary school & high school that I hadn't seen in over 10 years. There were church friends, friends of friends, acquaintances of friends, new friends. You name it, I had it. There were even people wanting to be friends that I'd never even met before! Boy did I feel the popularity coming on! My numbers finally climbed to 650+ friends.

How did I keep in contact with that many friends you ask? Well it was easy. I would write on their "wall". It's easier and much more impersonal than sending just a plain old "private" email. Writing on some one's wall makes not only the recipient feel special, but the sender also gets satisfaction and instant gratification that you just made some one's day, by the impersonal contact you just made with them. As if that simple contact couldn't get easier, it could! Most times I would wait patiently on my home page and just wait for some one's status to change, just so I could comment. It was even more awesome when someone would reply instantly. It felt like I was having a real conversation.

There were times in my Facebook'ing that I'd think, "I just don't have time in my life for this and I should just quit", but as friends were replying back saying, "NO! You can't leave Facebook!", I thought to myself, "you're right I can't. Where would my social life go then? I wouldn't be up on the latest news.....I would loose contact with many of my good friends. I simply CAN'T!" So on went my life on Crackbook (as those who are addicted refer to the online social network).

At one point I decided I simply had too many friends and did a clean up of my friends list (dropped those I didn't really care to stay in contact with and those I hadn't talked to in a long while that it didn't matter if they were gone). Nothing felt better. It felt like popping a zit. Hurt a lot, but in the end, nothing but relief! (apologies for the gross depiction)

Now let me tell you that having to keep my leg up did not help my addiction to Facebook. It made it worse. Some days I would be on the computer from the time Dan left for work, till the time he got home. But it was better than sitting in a bed all day. That was my excuse. But I had to face the fact. I was addicted to Facebook.

Then I made a mental list of the lack of things in my life. They made me realize things needed to change.....

I wasn't reading my scriptures
I wasn't going to the temple
I wasn't giving my children enough of my time
I wasn't eating breakfast and/or sometimes lunch
I wasn't journaling (blogging)
I wasn't pleased with myself

Let me just side track a bit here....

Dan and I are simple people. We're a bit old fashioned in our ways. We want a simple life. We're trying to head into the direction of how things "used to be". We're trying to become more self sufficient. We sometimes get a little tired of the big world and it's big ideas. We've been watching less TV (by TV I mean Netflix, since we don't really have TV per say) and reading more. In this one book Dan read, it had a lot of good ways of simplifying your life. Most we already knew and some we were already practicing. However in one part it talked about simplifying your friendships. It made me think a lot about Facebook and how most of my friendships on there, weren't really real. As much as it seemed like it was, in reality it wasn't.

It wasn't until Dan said that he was contemplating getting off FB, that made up my mind as well. He stated simply feeling the need or the necessity of Facebook to feel connected was the one reason he felt he should get off. I couldn't have agreed with him more. I had felt the same way. I felt there was no way I could sever the tie that Facebook had created for me and it was for that same reason that I needed the tie to be cut. That's when I knew it was a true addiction.

So to cut this story short, I ended my ties with Facebook. It wasn't easy I tell you. Facebook makes it very difficult for you to actually delete your account. In fact you can't delete it at all. You can "deactivate" it and in the future come back as if you'd never left at all. But I wanted my presence on there gone forever. As if I'd never existed. That meant I had to delete all my posts, pictures, friends, etc... Even trying to change my name proved difficult. But in the end, it was like the hugest zit I've ever popped (sorry again for the gross depiction).

I felt the satisfaction that I had done something to better my life. I'm not saying that Facebook is a bad thing and that everyone should get off it. On the contrary. I did come back in contact with old friends and I was glad to have it for a while so that I could keep up with the lives of my family, my friends here and the ones back home. It is a great network for friends and family. However as I stated earlier after reading an apostolic voice of warning, I realized even more than this form of socializing was in fact replacing my reality.

Elder Bednar's talk was a great one. It has changed my life as well as a few of those around me. Not all of his talk applied to me, but the parts that did, made an impact on my life as much as words from Prophets and Apostles in the past have. I urge you to read it. I'll even provide a link to the talk. You can read it here.

I have chosen to post on here, the parts of his talk that hit me most. They are as follows....

Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication.

I am not suggesting all technology is inherently bad; it is not. Nor am I saying we should not use its many capabilities in appropriate ways to learn, to communicate, to lift and brighten lives, and to build and strengthen the Church; of course we should. But I am raising a warning voice that we should not squander and damage authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones.

Lucifer will encourage you to misuse and to minimize the importance of your physical body. He will attempt to substitute the monotony of virtual repetition for the infinite variety of God’s creations and convince us we are merely mortal things to be acted upon instead of eternal souls blessed with moral agency to act for ourselves. Deviously, he entices embodied spirits to forfeit the blessings and learning experiences “according to the flesh” that are made possible through the Father’s plan of happiness and the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son.

As I've written to some of you already, I will continue to blog. In fact I'll probably have more time to now. I'm grateful for technology that allows us to share and communicate more rapidly than ever before. I'm also grateful to have an online journal; this blog, to enable me to update those whom I care about, on our lives. So although I've said "Goodbye to Facebook", it's HELLO! to more time to better myself and better my family.

6 comments:

Taryn said...

Hey Suze... I love this post. Thank you for inspiring me, I'm not sure if I will quit facebook, but you actually are making me realize that I too might have a problem. I have decided that since I can get online at work - quite often - I will not be getting online at home unless I have a good reason. As a working mother, I only have limited time with my daughter and husband and should spend all the time I can with them as well as friends face to face. This really made me think and I appreciate it! Good luck, I will be keeping in touch with you in blog world. :)

Debbi said...

WOW.

I heard that talk too, and we had a RS/Priesthood lesson on it. And, oddly enough, you're the SECOND blog I've read today about internet usage and time-wasting.

I thought about leaving FB, but I can't. I have too many family members whom I keep in touch with, share photos with-- etc.

BUT.
I have seriously contemplated leaving the blogosphere. And returning to 'simpler' days of PAPER journals (gasp! They still exist!) or scrapbooking.

Chesney said...

good for you. i acutally left facebook as well, only for different reasons. im glad to see your new blog postings. i love reading blogs, especially of family members. i hope you are able to write more. i dont comment everytime, but i do read them all.

Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing that talk Susan. It was awesome and, again, has given me lots to think about. I hope we can be blog buddies and keep in touch that way!

Lisa said...

Hey Suze,

Cool post!

Lisa

tonksfam said...

Very good post. Rob and I are new to FB. He didn't really want to be on, but saw that he needed to get in contact with some old friends and finally gave in. Now he's in contact and wants out. I wanted in because, lets face it, I'm a SAHM with little social life in reality, so why not try to build it virtually? Besides, it is the only way my cousins will contact me. But you make some great points. Maybe I should get off now that I'm in contact and go back to good ol' email.

Returning to the simple way of life? There's a reason we get along with you two ;) We don't have a TV, and we can't afford Netflix. But pbs.org and byu.tv are our favorite websites when we want to watch free stuff! (pbs.org shows free victorian flicks through Masterpiece Classics, if you're interested) :)

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