Thursday, December 8, 2011

Change, Facebook, Acceptance


I deleted my Facebook account months ago in an effort to take a stand against myself and my habits. I was spending too much time looking at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I needed a change and felt powerless to get things under control. I often feel powerless though I'm almost never without some power. When I feel powerless, I tend to go to extremes.

I un-followed seventy people on Twitter and then stopped using it. I liked Google+ if for no other reason than it was new and different. Facebook, every time they made it new and different, pissed me off. They've never respected privacy and it seemed to be getting worse. I was thinking about just not looking at it any more, but I knew that I would go back to it unless I deleted the account. So that's what I did.

It wasn't a terrible decision, but there have been problems. Most of my friends in the real world aren't on Google+ or Twitter. On top of that, I started writing these daily entries and some poetry that were on my blogs but unknown to the people I most wanted to see it. Even my wife, last night, was shocked to hear that I've been posting _daily_ entries to this blog. "I didn't know," she said. Of course not. She's not on Twitter or Google+ and I don't send her an email link every day.

So, last night, tail between my legs, I signed up for a new Facebook account. I posted there that Facebook is like the Hotel California: "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

I tell this story not to say that Facebook is a trap, a bad thing, or even a good thing, but instead to talk about my approach to life right now. I have the habit of going to extremes. If I have a problem with something (such as Facebook), I run from it, delete it, or kill it off. I don't tend to compromise and I need to learn to do just that. Deleting Facebook was me trying to cope with my shortcomings. The coping mechanism (kill or be killed) turned out to work against me in the long run. Happily, there's an easy fix.

I don't regret deleting my Facebook account. It was nice to have that break and I'm not sure how else I would have accomplished that goal at the time. Restarting my account is no good reason to be ashamed. Mistakes are useful and the more I learn that I can recover from mistakes, the better off I'll be. I need to learn that life changes.

When I deleted my Facebook account it was a warm Autumn afternoon. The leaves had not yet begun to fall. I was sitting on the front steps while the kids played in the front yard. I had a beer next to me and was listening to Radiohead. (Yep, I remember the music. I'm like that.) Now, it's December and the first real snow is falling. I'm at work, before a standing desk, with a student also typing 750 words. I have a bottle of water and Laura Veirs is singing "Where Are You Driving". The changes in setting are symbolic of how other things have changed. I'm publishing my writing every day now. I've gotten two poems published in a magazine. I'm not wasting as much time on the computer. Instead, I'm writing on it.

In short, I'm changing, life is changing, and even the weather is changing. I've feared change for so long. There's a scene in Wayne's World in which Garth says, "we fear change." I want a t-shirt printed with something similar. But change happens and acceptance beats resistance every day of the week. I need to examine my resistance to change, figure out what is really going on, and decide what I want and need. I don't have to react to change, I can move with it.

I needed a Facebook account again so I created one. If it gets to be a problem, maybe someday I'll delete it. I'll have to see where change takes me. And maybe this time, before making radical change, I'll write on.