I have been casually thinking about further minimizing my use of social media and quitting Facebook for over a year now, but I did not seriously consider deleting my account until November of 2022 while visiting a friend in California. We sat in a dive bar in Venice at some late hour of the eastern pacific night, drinking pints of beer and spilling about life.
“I’m thinking of getting rid of Facebook,” I said too loudly with fortified, liquid confidence.
“Yeah; you and everybody’s parents are the only people who still use it,” my friend joked bluntly.
While factually untrue, it did make me recognize how many of my friends no longer use Facebook as a social platform. I felt like a searchlight had locked on me, shining a harsh blue exposure up from beneath my chin, preparing me for some on-the-fly campfire story that I wasn’t even sort of ready to tell. Sitting in that high-top, busted-pleather, half-booth in Venice, my feet dangling above the sticky floor, the seed of an idea germinated and I knew with certainty that someday I would extricate myself from social media’s entangled roots. Two days ago, I finally felt ready to approach that “Delete Account” button, knowing that it was the right move for me.
I prepared for my departure as I saw fit. I wrote down birthdays. I notified my Facebook community of when I would leave the platform, giving family and friends the opportunity to reach out if they wanted to keep in touch. Most importantly, to me, I saved pictures from my account and Mike’s, revisiting old memories that I’d not looked at in years. With my memories harvested and stored away, I felt ready to continue on my journey and leave Facebook behind.
I pulled up the login screen four times on Wednesday, without thinking about it, and it became clear to me that this might be a tough withdrawal process. Social media caused a lot of easy access to distraction for me and I finally felt it was time to fight off that distraction to pursue creative hobbies and make time for healthier physical and mental practices.
Wednesday morning before work, instead of scrolling through my Newsfeed while mindlessly chomping on my cereal, I sat in a chair by the window and watched the sun rise out of pink clouds over the Atlantic, enjoying each crunchy bite. This morning, I felt inspired to do some writing on this post which I have been struggling with for the past couple of days. Already, I am feeling more grounded in my own life. I am happening upon inspiration during times when I would not have noticed it or pursued it due to scrolling on social media, and I am feeling the wispy roots of my creativity beginning to take hold again.
For years, I nourished a carefully edited portrayal of life for an audience of friends, family, and people I’d avoid on the street. I had grown like a flowering vine, clinging to my wall, not easily torn away. But now it is winter with spring in sight, and I am ready for sprays of wildflowers to bloom again.