Enjoy the silence
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
I finally had to disconnect. After weeks of feeling like I was on 24-hour call, I logged onto my various social media sites and made a wonderful decision – to log out.
Like most people today, I have chained myself to technology. Unfortunately, I threw away the key and technology became the yoke around my neck. In recent weeks I realized just how much technology was bringing me more stress than I needed.
There were already two things I knew I could not rid myself of: my cell phone and my email account. I am not a phone person. Unless the other person or I have something to say, my philosophy is, just text me. Of course, I tend to brush off texts, too. I also hate sorting through or replying to emails. And I only listen to voicemails to remove the little ‘you’ve got voicemail’ icon from my phone screen.
Basically, if I didn’t need money, I would live a Jeremiah Johnson-like life and have no contact with the world below my mountain.
But my job requires me to keep those two means of communication running.
The biggest problem for me in technology was also the item that started out as the most fun – Facebook.
When I logged onto Facebook in 2008, it was great. I found friends and relatives I had not seen in ages, was able to keep up with people out of state and overseas, played some games, and realized people reveal just how crazy they are when hiding behind a computer screen.
In recent months and weeks, though, Facebook became a burden. It turned into another avenue for people to need me for this or that or contact me about work, outside of work.
(Now, please understand, I really do love my job and I know the public is the only reason I have a job. However, I also like sleeping at 2 a.m. and enjoying my two days off without having to go into professional mode. It takes a lot of energy for me to be professional. If you know me or have met me, you’ve probably noticed.) I could not be on Facebook enjoying online arguments between strangers, laughing at videos of dogs jumping on trampolines or staring at a status and thinking, “You are a special kind of stupid,” before someone would notice I was online.
Then I would be overwhelmed with contact, about anything and everything. A few times I broke into a chorus of the Men at Work song, “Who Can it Be Now?”
Finally, last week, with an inbox full of messages and a home page filled with notifications, instead of updating a status or posting a picture, I deactivated my account – which led to an onslaught of emails and texts asking, “Did you delete your Facebook? Did you delete me from your friends list? Did you block me?”
Apparently, I’m popular online.
I must say, though, that these six days without social media have been so nice, if not peaceful. I don’t feel like I am having to answer requests 24 hours a day. My phone is quieter without so many electronic notifications. In fact, two different nights while getting into bed, I realized I had left the house around me quiet throughout the evening; I flipped through a magazine and laid around, just staring at the ceiling. I wasn’t stalking Facebook and I wasn’t in the mood to watch anything on television.
It was so quiet and peaceful without that one noisy aspect of my life, I was at rest in the silence – four hours had passed but I did not realize, because I was just enjoying the silence around me.
Communication is wonderful, but only to a certain extent, especially if it involves the ever-present technology we have today.
Will I ever go back online? Yes, I know I will. But I am enjoying this Facebook fast so much, I don’t know when that might be.
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