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Last month I wrote about how I gave up snacking at work.  I know my weaknesses and I finally accepted that occasional snacking leads to regular snacking.  So, I haven't snacked since the beginning of the year.

Giving Up Facebook

I grew up Catholic, and one tradition that I've always had is to give up something for Lent.  The Lenten season runs between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, a period of 46 days.  People are encouraged to give something up that's important or difficult.  The idea is to give ourselves a small reminder of what Jesus gave up during his 40 days in the desert.

In the past I've given up a variety of things, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Candy
  • All Sweets
  • Alcohol.

This year, I decided to take on a different approach.  It was time to take on the idea of giving up Facebook.

Why Facebook?

There are many things to love about Facebook.  These include:

  • The ability to connect with friends.
  • Getting news and other information real time.
  • Keeping in touch with acquaintances, people you don't necessarily want to interact with daily, but like keeping tabs on.
  • Having lots of things to laugh at.

So why would I want to give it up?  Well, there some things I don't like.

  • I didn't like how often I would be checking it.  I'd usually have a tab open at all times with Facebook when on a computer.  On a phone, each time I picked it up, one of the first things I did was thumb to the app.
  • The tone of Facebook has changed.  Ever since the election, Facebook just has not been fun for me.  I get that people aren't happy, but for some, their posts suggest that they think about this 24×7.  Maybe they do?
  • It was a new challenge.  As you can see from the list of things I've given up in the past, most involved junk food.  Since I'm largely working on that anyway as an ongoing thing, I felt I needed a new habit.

How Did It Go?

Before giving it up, I was a little nervous.  Since I had it open all the time, I was afraid I would instantly miss it and end up going another direction.

Thankfully, that didn't happen.

On the day before Lent, I went onto my laptop, phone and tablet, and signed out of Facebook.  I also removed the icon from my phone and from my browser shortcuts.

I found by not having it right there as an option to open, it helped right away.

Quite honestly, once I started going without Facebook, it was pretty easy.  I browsed to websites (you know, the old-fashioned way) for news.  I e-mailed people or even *gasp* called them.  I downloaded a couple of games to play.  Maybe not the best alternative, but at least I was keeping my brain busy, right?   Generally, I found that I was probably on my phone less times and for less minutes of the day.

I did miss a few things:

  • I missed seeing what my friends were up to.
  • I missed posting a bit while we were on our recent trip to Florida.
  • I missed posting the occasional post that I'd put up when something witty came to mind. Though let's face it, I'm probably not as witty as I think I am.

Will I Stay Away?

For now, with Lent having ended, I'm not going to lie.  I'm back on Facebook.

However, I think this has shown me that I should and can cut back on Facebook.  Maybe I'll try to avoid putting the shortcuts back where they are front and center.  I think that'd be a good start.

All in all, it was definitely a cleansing time in many ways.  Technology has advanced so much over the past couple of decades.  So many things have come into our lives as new things that we quickly adapt and make part of our lives.  Browsing the Internet.  E-mail.  Blogging.  Chat.  Videos.  Social media.

Giving up Facebook is a reminder that these things, and the things that come along, are tools.  Facebook and other social platforms have not just given us new ways to communicate, but in many ways they've taken over.  That's not a good thing.

Maybe being a little more old school is a good thing, you know?

Readers, do you give up anything for Lent?  If so, what?  Also, what do you think about Facebook and other like items?  If asked to give them up, how long could you go?  Drop me your thoughts in the comments below.  And, thanks for reading!