In which I renew my commitment to the full experiment…

I realize the focus of my writing has widened beyond just the 99 day Facebook experiment. It now includes the journey of healing I’m beginning with my anxiety and depression. More on that in a minute.

I am two-thirds of the way through the experiment. If you were to look at my profile page on FB, the only posts that I have made were the two that I shared with close friends back when I went to the ER for my heart. All of the other activity is from me being tagged in photos or status updates by other users. To an outsider, it would appear as if I haven’t logged on in weeks… in reality, I have been silently reading the activity of my closest friends for every day of the past few weeks. In my mind, I have justified it because I have not been posting anything for myself, but if I am honest I realize that I have been cheating on the experiment. Facebook has continued to be a time-waster for me. It is interesting, though – I no longer think in status updates. At the beginning of the 99 days, I would have a thought cross my mind and immediately be tempted to type it out for my friends to see, but that urge has completely faded. In contrast, I’ve seen a couple of people’s activity over the past week or so that have caused me to think, “Wow, that person must be really lonely or have nothing to do, because she has posted 4-5 times per day every day this week.” Then I realize, that was me just a few short weeks ago. What in the world?? Why was I so desperate to be noticed? And now, as I fall back into my old habits of reading the site daily – what am I so worried that I’ll miss? I have read absolutely nothing that I couldn’t have learned from other sources. So today, I once again commit myself to staying away from the site.  I will reclaim the bits of time that I have spent peering into the carefully crafted windows of others’ lives.

I have been taking a daily anti-depressant for three weeks. I do feel that my mood is lightening. I don’t feel quite as sad, lonely, and hopeless as I have in times past. My medication dosage may need to be tweaked here and there, but I feel like we are on the right path.

Within the next week or so, I will be seeing my electrophysiologist to discuss the results of the thirty day event recorder that I wore to detect any lingering heart abnormalities. It will be interesting to see if it caught anything of note. Personally, I’m almost more excited to eat at the Caribbean restaurant near the doctor’s office than to find out my results. Maybe that is because this cardiac journey has been a very slow one and I’m used to living in uncertainty… but those arepas, plantains, and black beans sound so good!

Life’s Most Valuable Resource, wasted. This is sobering.

My Facebook Fast was briefly interrupted last weekend as I had an ER visit and was kept for observation. That event is for another post on another day, but I did reach out to about 20 close friends on Facebook at that time. I’m now back on the bandwagon and not missing it a bit.

However, facing a serious health crisis while lying in an ICU bed tends to make one think of mortality and how one’s life is spent. Am I living life well? What would my young children remember of me if I were suddenly gone? Would they remember me hugging on them, cooking with them, doing adventurous things with them? Or, would they remember seeing my face buried in a laptop or phone, attempting to communicate with faceless “friends” in unknown places?

Most people say that Time is life’s most precious resource. It is given to all of us, but we never know how much we have. And when it is gone, it is gone. You can’t get it back. I have been squandering my time away like I have endless stores of it, but my recent health issues have reminded me that my account does have a limit.

Back in January, Facebook celebrated its tenth anniversary. TIME.com posted an article at that time on their Tech page, entitled “How Much Time Have You Wasted On Facebook?” After linking your Facebook profile to their site and estimating how many minutes per day you typically spend on Facebook, a counter begins. You can sit and watch the minutes, hours, and days accumulate as the app scans the timestamps on your Facebook posts and activity. It also shows a counter for how many things you have posted on Facebook since joining the social media site.

I am embarrassed to share mine. What a terrible waste.

Screenshot 2014-07-24 11.03.20

This simply has to change.

I don’t know how many days I have with my husband. With my children. I have faced some serious health issues in the past ten months, and this app now tells me that I have given almost that much time to my computer.

If I am drawn to Facebook primarily out of a need for relationships, then this same need is the exact reason why I should walk away from the site, possibly forever.

In the past couple weeks, I have figured out ways to seek out connection with the important people in my life. I don’t need Facebook to do it for me. When I see the people that matter to me, we actually have real conversations because we have not shared every sordid detail of our lives with each other online. The hardest part has been reminding those still active on the site that I haven’t read their timeline and they have to remember to tell me about things they’ve shared. But all in all, these are very doable adjustments.

I’m so flustered by the Wasted Time Clock pictured above that I can’t even figure out how to end this blog post. Please, be gentle with any judgement you may be tempted to dole out because of my poor time management. Instead, may I suggest that all of us examine ways that we are not present with the loved ones that surround us, and that we try today to eliminate a distraction or two so we can see them and love them, right here, right now.

Because time is ticking away.