Monday, February 14, 2011

lent in the time of Facebook

I`ve decided to try an experiment.  I`m going to give up Facebook for Lent this year.  I`ve never done Lent, but it always seemed like a good idea, even for non-religious people.  Forty days of abstaining from something that isn`t good for you, or something that you have a dependency on.  I like having goals to accomplish and deadlines to guide me.  So I`m really going to do it. 

Back in November, I wanted to limit my Internet time to 30 minutes a day.  I failed miserably. I think a large part of my failure is due to the fact that I live far away from my homeland.  Once I`m back in the U.S., where I can call my family easily and read labels at the grocery store by myself, I`m hoping that I won`t need to be online as much. 

Most people give up things like chocolate or booze for Lent; something that they physically consume. But I have to tell you, sometimes I feel like Facebook is consuming me.  I`ve found myself obsessing over things that really don`t matter whatsoever--like how I look in pictures or how much more popular the pretty girls from high school still are compared to me.  Facebook makes life weirder and sometimes harder.   It gives us the ability to shape how other people view our lives.

I`ve spent the last couple of years trying to convince myself that life is not a competition, and having Facebook--which is basically just millions of people vying for each other`s attention and approval--is setting me way back.  It`s hard not to feel a sense of competition when people are posting professional engagement/maternity/wedding/travel pictures every other day.  It`s hard to be bombarded by statuses about how amazing life is for some people, how happy and content they always are. 

When life is good, Facebook is even better.  When life isn`t so good, or even just boring, Facebook reflects that. 

No matter how good my life is, with Facebook, it seems that someone else`s life is always better. 
I`m not ready to give it up forever just yet--and I definitely can`t give up the Internet--but I think taking 40 days off Facebook would do me some good.  Lent starts March 9.  I think I can survive living in the real world for that long (as long as I have email).


  1. I just read this article the other day...your post reminded me of it. Good luck with your Lent goals! :)

  2. I Don't think anyone could have said that better, and I think that is a respectable goal. Good luck!