I've been feeling pretty lonely lately. Is it because the majority of my time is spent with an infant? A beautiful, growing, entertaining but yet nonverbal infant?
Is it because the holidays are rapidly approaching and, with them, sharp and unexpected pangs of simultaneous sadness and joy at the vivid memories that the voices of Andy Williams and Nat King Cole can suddenly resurrect?
Is it because I'm lacking in constant and consistent interaction with God and His word?
It's probably a healthy mixture of all of those things, but one thing that keeps shoving itself to the front of my mind when I am aware of my loneliness is the fact that I'm too visible on social media but feel invisible in "real life." Over 500 friends/connections, a myriad likes and comments and chat messages, but an overall sense of isolation and a growing desire for connection with real humans.
As I told my husband the other day when, yet again, I'd gotten my feelings hurt by seeing photos of gatherings of friends with whom I used to spend time, "I'm huge on Facebook. Everyone likes and comments on my stuff; they just don't wanna hang out with me."
I laughed, because I realized just how ludicrous that statement sounded: "I'm huge on Facebook." For one thing, it's a bit arrogant. I don't mean to say that I mean anything to anyone outside of my friends/connections. For another...it's a bit sad. What do all those likes and comments even mean other than a perfunctory "click" to like a photo of my son?
I find myself defending my Facebook activity a lot -- perhaps too often. Maybe that's kind of telling, now that I think about it. If I have to defend it all the time, perhaps it's time to step away from it for a while.
It does serve a purpose, in that I've really made an honest effort to read between the lines and find ways to love others. A status asking for prayer reminds me, quite simply, to pray. And once I pray for that person in his or her situation, a lovely chain reaction is started that reminds me to pray for others, and then I'm reminded of how thankful I am and I thank God for the humanity that amazes and destroys me every day.
But too often, I feel sad and selfish instead. I see pictures of parties and get-togethers and I think about how it would've been nice to have been invited, even if my new lifestyle as a mom would cause me to decline more often than not. I get frustrated at the battling posts: breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, vaccinators vs. anti-vaccinators, Republican vs. Democrat, etc.
Having a position of leadership on a few pages will keep me from deactivating completely, but perhaps that is a big lesson in self-control that I can learn over the holidays. It will create a need for me to take ownership of my own activities and personal time spent on Facebook, but still sharpen my skills of diplomacy and marketing for the pages on which I'm an admin/creator.
I'll admit something: I'm afraid to step back completely for fear that I won't be remembered at all. If I'm not on Facebook and therefore forced into people's minds and daily social media activities, how will they remember me at all? Or will they?
Will a break from things make me feel better? Or worse?
I don't know the answers. But I do know that I need to take a step back. Check only once a day, if that. Take my husband's lead and just keep Facebook on the far outer edges of my life and, instead, take pictures with a real camera, use my phone to call or text someone to see how they're doing, get in my car and drive over for a visit and some shared snuggles with Z, and enjoy every moment of my own life, instead of viewing everyone else's life through their Instagram filters.
(Even now, I am thinking "Should I post a link to this blog post on Facebook?)
I know that we live in a world where social media is part of our lives...but I toe the line all too often of making it too much a part of my life. Making it my daily life. I think I've finally gotten hold of the desire to be validated and liked...right now it's just about the quality of my interactions. And Facebook is falling short of my needs and expectations. A few good friends and quality face-to-face time seems to be what I'd prefer these days.
Wish me luck. I'm not really going anywhere...but I am going to try my best to take a real step back from everything.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. We do have so much for which to be thankful!