Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pain is Temporary...Right?

As I laid on my couch in the fetal position, I couldn’t help but wonder “When will this pain go away?”

I’ve never considered myself much of a tough guy: I am scared to death of bee stings, being pinched is one of the worst pains I’ve ever experienced, and when I was a younger more fearless type, I was never one to engage in fights or other violence that could potentially hurt me. On the other hand, maybe it’s simply the perception of certain pains that I’m afraid of. After all, I can anticipate the sting of a bee, the burn of a pinch, or the crunch of my nose as someone’s fist makes contact to my less than hard to locate proboscis. I can also anticipate the pain of getting a tattoo, which undoubtedly hurts far more, and for a much longer time, than either of the previously mentioned pains. But the pain of a tattoo has never steered me away from getting one. In fact, sometimes when I’ve gotten tattoos, I’ve gotten them because of the pain. Not necessarily because of the pain that receiving a tattoo causes, but because of the pain I’m experiencing at that point in my life.
People get tattoos for various reasons, and being someone with tattoos, I’m often asked “what does that mean?” or “what does that stand for?” While I prefer to keep the meaning of my tattoos to myself, I’ll share a bit about my philosophy.  My tattoos are primarily life event tattoos. I can remember, quite specifically, what was happening in my life when I received each of my tattoos (even my first, which goes back over 18 years). The one common denominator that my tattoos have, outside of a specific period in my life, is trust. After all, if you’re going to allow someone to drill permanent ink into your skin, you’re going to need some degree of trust right? But I’m not necessarily speaking about trust in the artist (that’s there to a certain extent). I’m talking about trust in the universe.

We all know the saying “shit happens”? (If not check here for a refresher). Well “it” certainly does; usually when we least expect it. The approach I take when “it” happens? Trust.
I’m not necessarily an “everything happens for a reason” guy, in the sense that the universe has a grand plan for everyone.  I believe that everything does happen for a reason; and that reason can usually be tracked to actions and consequences of those actions, either by you or someone else. So when “it” does happen, you’ve just got to trust that things will get better and begin to take the actions which support that.
About three months ago I got a new tattoo; I was looking forward to the pain. I anticipated the pain from the tattoo; it was as I remembered. The pain from my tattoo has long disappeared…but there was no anticipating this pain…I trust this too shall pass.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Diagnosis - FOMO?

I had lunch with a couple of friends on Friday afternoon; one of them, having read my blog (caused by my guilt trip no doubt), laughed and said "dude, you have FOMO."
"What the hell is FOMO?" I replied.
"It's the Fear of Missing Out. It's like a Dr. Phil thing or something" he said.

Obviously given my new little Facebook experiment I had to do some research on this FOMO business. Now, I'm sure I'm late to the party with this (given the amount of articles, blogs, etc. that I was able to locate), so I won't get into the nitty gritty details of what FOMO is, outside of the self-explanatory acronym. If you want to research a bit more about the the condition, there's a great article here. Oh and for the record, I didn't find any Dr. Phil FOMO info. Screw that guy anyways.

Fear of Missing Out? What on earth could I be fearful of missing out on? I thought about my Facebookoholism. What types of behavior did I exhibit while on Facebook? I was certainly an active user; it's safe to say that I posted status updates or photos at a minimum clip of five times a week. However my "checking" Facebook behavior was far more frequent, into the five times an hour arena, if not more. At first thought, it's pretty easy to assume that I had FOMO. After all, doctors nowadays pretty much tune you out after the first couple of symptoms and diagnose you regardless of what comes next. My initial self-diagnosis is FOMO.

FOMO, according to the articles I found, is social media related, it is not Facebook specific. This prompted more thought; I'm not cutting off social media, do I need to? Am I just putting off the inevitable? Is something else going to be my new Facebook? Will I now reach for my phone in the morning to check something else? From a social media standpoint, I use the following: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I also use some very cool apps that link them all together. I would have to say that if anything fulfills my FOMO, it would have to be Twitter. Twitter, to me, is real-time information that tells me what's going on right now. Through those that I follow, I'm certain not to miss out on anything that I care about. So if it is FOMO that I'm suffering from, I'm still going to suffer as long as I'm viewing my Twitter feed. For this reason, I'm claiming my Facebook experiment is not caused by FOMO - diagnosis debunked.

For me it started off as wanting deeper connections; this was about me and the people that I have in my life. Is there the possibility that I miss out on something that someone I care about is doing by not being on Facebook? Absolutely. Is that a risk I'm willing to take? Absolutely.

The other day I called one of my friends:

"Hello" she said.
"Hey what's up?" I asked.
"Oh nothing, I'm just sitting in a chair getting my nails done. I'm having a girls day to myself...didn't you....Oh that's right you're not on Facebook anymore" she replied.

Didn't see it on Facebook, didn't miss out. Had a great little conversation with a friend and found out what she was up to the old fashioned way.

I spoke to another friend the day after I had attended a Halloween party:

"How was the party?" she asked
"It was fun, they did a nice job" I replied
"I saw that picture, that was a funny costume" she said
"What picture?" I asked
"Oh yeah. It was posted on Facebook so you didn't see it" she answered.

I guess even when I'm not on Facebook, I'm on Facebook. Only this time, there was no fear of missing out, I was living it. And not once did I feel the need to update my status, post a picture, or otherwise.

This is getting easier.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Facebook Anonymous - Day 2

I've noticed the withdrawal symptoms immediately.

Not more than three hours after the plunge I found myself reaching for my iPhone or iPad with no intention other than to press the glowing blue icon with the familiar "f" emblazoned on it; it was automatic. The icon wasn't even there. I had deleted it on all my devices (step number 2 after deactivation is to remove all remaining Facebook stimuli and reference). My brain, so used to the shot of excitement and my physical body, so used to the muscle responses, have clearly adopted a habit. Mind you, this didn't happen once, this happened on four occasions in the first four hours of disconnect! "What the hell am I doing?" I would ask myself after each failed attempt.

Obviously it was going to be important for me to invest my energy into something else. Simply cutting off my Facebook world wouldn't suffice. By following that approach I would undoubtedly develop some sort of twitch and inevitably fail my mission with a relapse of epic sorts. Besides, then I would have to go crawling back with my tail between my legs. After all, some of the final comments I received when creating my next to last Facebook post were along the lines of "see you soon", "you'll miss us", and the ever loving "get lost eh." I couldn't succumb to that fate, not now, not so soon. I'm sure I'll be back some day, just not today.

What would I do with all that extra time I had just discovered? You're reading it. Well, nobody is reading it yet, but maybe someone will stumble across this and find it semi-interesting. If not, I don't care. This is a new outlet for me and I'm going to give it a run. Of course blogging is soooo yesterday, hell, it may not even be yesterday, do people still blog? So here it is, my second ever blog post. I won't always write about my Facebookoholism, but right now that's my flavor of the month.

15 hours down. Yep, not even 24 hours yet. This morning when I woke up the mental and physical habit took over again...I reached for my phone with only one intention....I can't wait to break it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Facebook Anonymous - the plunge

My name is Jeff, and I'm a Facebookoholic.

It's been 75 minutes since my last Facebook log-in. To my knowledge, Facebookoholism doesn't run in my family; I'm the first and I had my first Facebook in 2008.

So why then? Why stop now? I've been doing a lot of reflection lately - I am on Facebook a lot. I mean a lot a lot. When you spend all day on a computer the urge is continuous. Checking every 20, 15, 10, 5, and even 1 minute to see what's going on with "all" my friends. And then there's the posting. I got to the point where I was beginning to annoy myself with my random, way too frequent, self-fulfilling comments, pictures, and "likes". Besides who were they really for? What was I trying to get out of them? Acceptance? Closeness? To feel good about the life I choose to present to the world?

I recently went to an ad hoc college reunion with some of my fraternity brothers. When I mentioned to one of them that I was going through a divorce he said "Really?" with a confused look on his face, "you look like you're in a great marriage and happy as all hell on Facebook." That's when I started to reflect on my Facbookoholism.

So my experiment begins today; the account has officially been "deactivated", indefinitely. I'm going to begin by reconnecting with the people that really matter to me. I'm going to call them and talk to them. I'm going to ask them questions like "what have you been up to?", "how are things going?", "how do you feel about that". I'll ask them to email me pictures so I can see them(most of them aren't on Instagram yet), hell, we might even video chat. It's a start.

Already, I'm fighting the urge to go see the most recent update by someone who I haven't talked to in 15 years. Will they miss me? Will I miss them? Who knows, only time will tell. Wish me luck.