~ Living In An Alternative Universe - Without Facebook ~
Well, It’s officially been over 30 days now since I deleted my Facebook account.
And, I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.
All kidding aside, it’s been the best thirty days!
So - If you’ve been thinking of leaving Facebook, this one’s for you, my dear:
I’ve rambled on and on about the positive and negative aspects of social media many times in the past, and you can check some of it out right here:
#71] My 69 Week Break from Social Media ~ Why I Left & Why I Came Back
So I won’t really delve into any of that just right now. But - I will tell you here about these past thirty days, and why I’m never going back on social, ever freaking again.
Basically, I have really, and quite passionately, come to believe and understand, that there are two very different worlds taking place right now. There is the Universe, and there is the Alternative Universe. And, confusingly, I’m not very sure which one is which, or which one we all live in, but I do think there are two different worlds happening right before our eyes.
I’m a huge Elon Musk fan, and I love how he, and many others, speak of the Simulation Theory. It basically goes like this - that we, humans, on Earth, are living in a Simulation, controlled by a host(s) in an outside, and completely out of reach, universe. I’m not going to get too sciency and technical here, and it’s all just a theory, because if we are part of a simulation, and we don’t even know it, and there’s no science to back it up, then what is there to even elaborate on for the purposes of today’s post.
But, if we are living in a simulation, then it means our entire world is fabricated. And we are game pieces, or avatars, and we don’t really have free will. And that the creators of this simulation, kinda, sorta, throw things in - like a pandemic - to throw us off our game. Because they get bored easily and wanna mix things up, and see how humans react. And, it also means the simulation is so real-like, that we would never even believe we are “fake” - kinda mind blowing, right?
And - if the universe is infinite - meaning it never, ever ends, then there is an infinite amount of possibilities of this theory being true? So, basically, what I’m trying to tell you right here is that, if the world never ends, there are lots and lots of “alternative” copies of Earth out there. All floating in an infinite universe, with infinite copies of us floating around as well. I mean, what happens at the end of the universe, anyways? - If the universe has an end, what is beyond the boundary?
So, maybe, somewhere in the infinite universe, there is an Earth out there, with two suns?
Maybe, there is a copy of us out there, on a copy Earth, looking up at the sunset, and seeing a binary sunset.
What if The Big Bang was simply us, popping out the opposite end of a Black Hole? Exploding our current life into being? And all of our universe, had once lived on the polar opposite end of this Black Hole? After all, haven’t we been told that nothing, absolutely nothing, can escape from a Black Hole? And no one knows what’s on the other side, right? So, what if we were sucked in, and came out, on the other side? We wouldn’t even know it. The death, and destruction, of the force of the black hole, killed and born, our universe into being, in the smallest fraction of time possible of all impossibilities.
Maybe, there is an Earth out there, where world wars never raged, and the U.S. Civil War never happened? Maybe Walt Disney never died of cancer, and instead grew the Disney Company into something completely different than it is today? Maybe the current Disney Company never purchased LucasFilm and thus, Star Wars, for four billion dollars? Maybe Rome never burned? Maybe we never landed on the moon? But instead, we went straight to Mars? And the classic, alternative universe theory, maybe a young Adolf Hitler was accepted into art school in Austria, and never brainwashed racial, ethnic, and religious hatred en masse? And was, therefore, never able to convince other human beings to commit a genocide of six million Jewish people?
And maybe, all of these people, who were never gassed and cremated, and never fought in wars that never happened, went ahead to live into old age? Maybe Rome - stayed Rome. Maybe World War I and II never occurred. And maybe all these people who lived invented great things? That we currently do not have? And maybe because of these inventions, social media, including Facebook, were never invented, because that idea, at that exact time, was not sparked into being?
Maybe I never had to go 30 days without Facebook to officially close my account? Maybe the entire world is at peace right now? Instead of China militarizing in the open seas? And potential terrorist threats to our homeland were never needed to worry over? Maybe communism was never invented? And liberty and freedom are all that we all know?
Maybe I dreamed all this up over the past thirty days?
And the world is really just as it truly is?
And Facebook still exists, just as it really does.
And thus, the online world, and the real world, is just as it all appears to be.
And maybe we only have one sun.
And maybe we will never, ever, ever witness a binary sunset, even though we know in our hearts, such an idea is possible?
Thirty days ago, my heart guided me toward the Delete button. I went from a bright and colorful and cheery avatar, smiling and holding a piece of my art on canvas, straight into what I call the gray zone.
I opted for the permanent DELETE button - instead of DEACTIVATE.
DEACTIVATING your account merely does exactly what it is called - your account becomes inoperable, non-viewable, no activity is possible.. But it is still there, in case you ever want to REACTIVATE it once again.
While, DELETING your account, on the other hand, does exactly what it says. It DELETES your Facebook account. So, 30 days ago, that’s exactly what I did. And with that decision of deleting accomplished, my account was subjected to thirty days of gray.
I imagine this gray stage can be viewed in one of two ways.
One being a form of punishment, or human torture, and tormentation. Facebook has decided that because you want to leave its platform, you first must be submitted to thirty days of teasing. Daring you to come back. Your decision to leave - not permanent - until the passage of one months time. And one month, in this crazy age, is eternity. So, if you can make it through the tortuous month, you’re free.
But instead of punishment, I like to view this gray stage as a badge of honor.
I’ve beat the system. I’ve declared my beliefs. And I stand on my own. Proudly. No longer allowing social media, and Facebook, to rule my life. And even if it didn’t rule my life, social media likes to think it does, and that’s just as bad. And dangerous. Because that’s how it gains all its power.
I had done ALL OF THIS DARN STUFF before. I had lived thirty days in the gray in the past. And now, I did it all over again. For the final time.
I lived 35 years of life - WITHOUT a Facebook account.
I actually stubbornly refused to join Facebook, for many, many years. Valuing my privacy, over anything else.
But then, I got very sick. And, for about ten years, I suffered. And when God helped me save my own life, I found my voice, and I knowingly gave up a certain small amount of my privacy… All so that I could help you. By sharing my stories and experiences with you - my hope is that you can see that you too can save your own life, if it needs saving, and that saving yourself is indeed possible. And that God truly is there for you too - of course.
But I don’t need to be on Facebook, or social media - to share with you.
I was moving away from home, and everything I knew, when I joined Facebook. I was still very sick when I joined. But then, I stayed on Facebook, and shared more and more, after God saved me. It all became too much. And something had to give.
I needed a break. I wanted to break free. From everything social media. It had rubbed me the wrong way. And my gut told me to get outta there. And I deleted all my accounts. Deleted - not Deactivated. And I lived social media free for 69 weeks. Well, scratch that, I lived social media free for 35 years plus 69 weeks.
And then, sighhhhh - I went back once again. The FORCE pulling me back in. The connectivity of the sites, too strong, to stay away. I was, ultimately, sucked unreluctantly back into the black hole.
So, during all this, I definitely saw life from many perspectives throughout this entire time period. I’ve lived with social, and without. I’ve seen the good. I’ve seen the bad. I’ve seen life with Facebook, and I’ve lived, and dreamed many dreams, during life without Facebook.
I’ve seen Earth with one sun, and Earth with two suns.
I’ve lived on both sides of the moon.
I have seen the flip side.
And I LOVE it!
So, after more than 40 years of life, and 30 days of living in the gray… It’s time to celebrate.
Magna Cum Laude.
I am now living Facebook FREE!
Nice knowing ya - Well, actually, it wasn’t really nice knowing him. But, no need to hurt his feelings and tell him that right here.
And I do NOT miss it - at all.
So, if that’s what you were wondering, and if that’s why you're here with me right now, that previous sentence I can guarantee you is two hundred and fifty three percent TRUE!
I do NOT miss Facebook.
Oh yeah, by the way, I did the same exact thing with all my other social media accounts.
Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc….. They’re all gone.
They were all deleted on different days and at different times. But, they’re all gone. And they’re all not missed.
I’ve firmly decided upon a life without social media. And once again, I say, right here, as my declaration of fact, and to hold myself accountable. I am NOT going back this time.
I am going full speed ahead.
Light speed ahead, in fact.
Into my life without social media.
Goodnight Like Button.
Goodnight Love Button.
Goodnight Hug Button.
Goodnight Angry Button.
Sleep well, my very dear, very fake, friends.
And that point, right there, is where I bring you back around, to the other side. That word - Fake.
Fake. Fake. And FAKE.
Social media is not real life.
Did I blow your mind with that one?
I hope not.
I hope you already know that the online world is not the real world.
I hope you know that what’s trending on Twitter is really only trending there, and not on Earth.
I hope you know that it doesn’t really matter how many likes you get.
And I dearly hope you know that when someone sends you a precious little Mr. Angry Face, not to take that button personally.
Because, if everyone did believe all that, the world would be in some pretty big trouble.
I mean, it seems that Facebook alone, minus all other social media, can pop out more angry faces in a day, than most people have breaths in their lungs for a lifetime of breathing. Just click on a live stream of something, and watch all the buttons fly by… smile, hate, smile, angry, smile, angry, angry, angry. Angry.
That’s a lot of angry faces to go around, JEEEE JUS!
There’s a lot of hatred online. There’s so much hatred online, that it's come to the point in which many humans actually believe what is happening on the internet, and what’s happening on social media, is actually constructive of what is happening in the real world.
And, guess what? I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true.
Twitter - wrap your head around this one please - is not representative of real life on Earth.
And let’s not forget about Zuck - Poor Mark Z. - he really and truly is not your friend.
And that Pinterest board you made - you don’t actually have that bulletin board hanging on the wall in your home office above your desk.
And that cloud of yours - it’s not actually floating in the sky - either.
And, maybe - you’ve heard this one - what is being portrayed on Instagram is not real life? See, I told ya you’ve heard that one before. I’m not the only one around saying these things, and these are not new ideas. I’m simply putting it out there in my own little way for your grasp and understanding of how much these social media sites have played with our Earthly timeline and trajectory.
I believe, firmly, that social media has altered the trajectory of humanity.
I believe that, because of social media, the humans who live upon our dear Mother Earth, are headed out into the dark and desolate abyss of an unknowing and quite scary future. When, instead, we could have taken a different path. But it’s all too late now. And we can only watch the horizon line, and steady our path to a more clear and lighted runway, somewhere lightspeed far into our future, and hope we land in safe territory, and not upon a fiery red Hell, flaming widely atop a different Earth, in an alternative universe.
Because ultimately, the real danger of all these social media sites is that all the infinite fakeness of - or shall we say - simulation - of real life online, and how life is portrayed online, has become so real. The line between reality and online reality so blurred. That what is taking place in the simulated world of social media is our real life, and human beings are becoming increasingly unable to distinguish what is real and true and what really happening, and what is being simulated before us for our binary eyes to see and believe in and never know how simulated or fake it all really and truly is.
So - in my desperate plea to you right here, right now, I’m here to tell you to follow your gut in regards to social media. If it doesn’t feel “right” for you, it probably isn’t.
Hit that DELETE button.
Even if it means taking a different, foreign, dark and mysterious path.
Go ahead and take the path that’s deathly scary.
Take the path of mystery and risk.
Take the path that is so long, you have no idea where it will end. Or even, if it ever will end.
Lightspeed to Endor.
Just do it.
Because while you may be headed into a dark and scary future, living without the social and without the media, you can’t make it somewhere grand and beautiful and amazing and wonderful, without risking it all, and trying something that hasn’t been done before.
Your stomach may make you sick. You may feel nauseous, and question your own sanity. You may lose many friends - friends that you were only connected to via glitz and glamour of the Hollywood lights. But, if you want to find a place with two suns, you have to sever all communication with those beings anyway.
Because AT&T and Verizon don’t have cell service that far away. And there’s no land line reaching into the abyss either.
In fact, you may be risking your very life, to travel that road. And live that life. And be who you are supposed to be.
Disclaimer here: By deleting your Facebook account, you will most likely sever some relationships. And that’s ok. You see, sometimes people’s only connection to another, in this day and age, is via social media. Some people don't know your real digits anymore - only your fake digits. So, you will lose friends. You will suffer loss. And you will lose memorable imagery as well.
Ya know, speaking of loss, just the other day, my hero, Elon Musk, was once again “trending” on all the mediums of our Mother Earth.
It seemed, my dear souls, the Twitterverse was quite mad at him - once again. Because he said something so horrible, so terrible, so horrific, and it landed on our precious and delicate little ears. These ears could not comprehend such a thing. And in this world, he received many Angry Face buttons for his beliefs.
He - brace yourselves for this one my friends - said something shocking. Elon said that in order for humans to arrive on Mars, a bunch of people are going to die. And the Twitterverse had an absolute freaking cow.
Because of course, in this age where everyone lives inside their safe little bubbles, no one remembers what life is like outside that bubble. No one really remembers that living means risk. And exploring means sacrifice. And that these people who volunteer for such a mission, may not come back alive. But, Elon continued, it will be a glorious adventure.
This arduous and dangerous journey, into the darkness, will bring about death and destruction, but it will also bring about new worlds. And how can so many people love Star Wars, and Tatooine, and dream of a land with two suns, without comprehending the sacrifice that will be needed in order to find such a land outside our own dreams and in our real lives?
Of course people will die getting to Mars. Of course, because with great risk comes great sacrifice. And, I argue to you now, of course with great risk also comes great reward. Comes the beauty to see the land with two suns in real life. To travel lightspeed to other worlds. Worlds, not even visualized by humanity just yet. And with that - alternative worlds, where tulips bring about happiness. And Hitler graduated from Art School and became a worldly philosopher and astronomist, and not a genocidal maniac. He and Walt Disney teamed up, and Walt Disney’s World’s fifth theme park became an Art Park. Where anything you can dream up, you can create in this new reality. One canvas free with admission entry daily.
This glorious adventure, that Elon envisions, and speaks of, that stirred the pot, and made many angry faces bubble up into hot steam, is exactly why this man is a hero of mine. He is one rare soul on this planet. Who believes in an alternative world. Who chooses the road less traveled. Is not afraid to step off the path, and go deep into the dark and lonely space of life, and say the things that are now too delicate for humanities ears to comprehend. And do the things that humans are now too afraid to do. And risk the things that have to be risked, to find out where the land of two suns really is at. So that we can witness a binary sunset, with our very own binary eyeballs.
If you Google the term Binary Sunset, and read about the Star Wars soundtrack, you may discover for yourself something quite spectacular. You may read in the comments - ironically written on social media sites - about the infamous song that stirs this adventure. A dream that is about to be dreamed. People, in the comments, say, that the sound of this song gives them goosebumps.
Why would such a sound give someone goosebumps? They are saying these words online. But they are not living these words offline. They are hiding behind their computers. And not living the stuff dreams are made of - the stuff of goosebumps - the stuff that sends shivers up their spines, in real life.
My challenge to you here, is to search for that feeling which gives YOU goosebumps. What sends a shiver up your spine? What scares you to near death? And what brings you more joy than all the heavens set upon binary sunsets? Find that feeling. And go with it. Let go of the fake life on social media. And live a real life once again.
And, let us not forget, I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m saying right here and now that it is going to be hard.
It will be painful.
And yes, it may make you throw up and vomit your cheeseburger.
G forces and the speed of light tends to do that to a human stomach.
And, soak in all the fine print right here: you WILL, most definitely, one hundred percent positively, lose many friends and family members in the process. Because in the process of living a life made of dreams and Star Wars and Revolutions and Forces outside of Earth’s atmosphere, with it all comes a great deal of emotion and loss and isolation and darkness. But you could never see the light of lightspeeds, without seeing the darkest of dark black hole event horizon lines.
And there will be times when time passes more slowly, because you won’t really know what’s going on outside your own little spaceship.
And there will be times where time seemingly passes as fast as light travels, because you will be having so much fun, and living the life of adventure, that glorious adventure that many search their whole lives for and never find.
So with all that being said, my thirty days are up. Thirty days of gray and my thirty shades of gray living.
I’m outta here and ready for my Mission to Mars. I suggest you buckle up and launch your own mission as well.
Goodnight, Goodbye, and Godspeed.
Bring it on.~
~ Reconciling Our Irreconcilable Differences ~
I remember watching Lucy walk over to Ethel’s apartment to borrow a cup of sugar. And visa versa.
I remember when DJ Tanner talked on the phone with Kimmy Gibbler.
I remember playing baseball in the street.
I remember when neighbors actually spoke to one another.
I remember when a new family moved into the neighborhood, the locals would trek across their lawns, ring the doorbell, introduce themselves, welcome the newest residents, and drop off some baked goodies - whether it be a loaf of bread, or a plate of cookies. And it actually didn’t matter what form of food the calories were melded into, what mattered was the act of the offering.
And that was it.
They were now neighbors.
And - They were friends.
It didn’t matter who was a republican and who was a democrat.
And, all the politics in the world... wouldn’t stop a neighbor from helping a neighbor in need.
Someone would always be there to shovel the snow for the people nearby them.
Someone would always have time, or desire, to organize that infamous summer block party.
And at Christmas time, there’d always be that neighbor who wanted to host a cookie exchange - or even - set up matching light-up plastic soldiers lining the entire block.
But does any of that matter anymore?
Does anybody still do any of these things?
Do you even talk with your neighbors?
But I do know it's becoming increasingly rare. With our phones in our hands, and our heads bent down, we can’t even see our neighbors, let alone talk with them, through that black and desolate screen.
So, over time, with less one-on-one communication, we have now ended up in the situation we currently find ourselves: Anger. Hate. Violence. Incivility. And worse.
And, no I’m not blaming the smart phone for all our worldly problems.
I’m blaming us.
WE - are bigger than a phone. WE - are bigger than the internet. WE - are bigger than social media.
But - WE - have forgotten all this.
In this crazy covid world, we have forgotten that humanity is more important than how many likes we get. That communication isn’t just one directional. And that the world isn’t one size fits all.
We have even forgotten how to speak simply with one another. And how to speak civilly with one another.
And without communication with another - we are no longer unified.
Why does a couple, or a union, divorce? Separate, or break up? Why does a relationship end?
Is it because they no longer love one another? They can no longer agree? They’re not on the same page? They have different aspirations and life goals? They feel anger and hostility toward each other? They cannot even communicate with each other any longer? They are disgusted with one another and cannot stand the sight of the other? Maybe, maybe all of the above… but maybe it’s the simple fact that they no longer want to share a life together. After all, love cannot be forced.
So, what happens when we, as a nation, no longer agree with another?
What happens when we no longer love our neighbors?
When we cannot agree on the definition of words?
We are basically speaking different languages at that point, right?
Speaking different languages is not always a problem. There are people who speak different languages all over the world, and they all don’t disagree with and hate one another.
It’s the actions one takes that lead to agreement or disagreement. Civility or incivility. A smile and a handshake go a long way, especially if two people standing before each other do not understand the words coming out of their mouths.
But what happens when two people who do speak the same langage stand before each other, attempting communication, and one word means something to one of them, and the same word then means something else - something completely different - to the other? The meaning being contradictory, the opposite of intention… leading to anger, or violence over perceived meaning?
Are we in the denial phase of breaking up our relationship in this country right now?
I don’t know… maybe we are well past denial at this point. Maybe we’re well engulfed in the anger phase by now?
Yes, that must be it. Because all I see is anger and hostility - on the news anyway.
In real life, it’s a completely different story.
In real life, I see the sun rise. I see people walking on the beach… passing each other and smiling. I see myself shopping in the grocery store. And real people being real nice to one another.
I even still see neighbors helping neighbors.
Could it be that the news and media paints a different picture of real life? Are we in denial of what’s really happening, or is what’s really happening just happening differently in different locales? Is one person’s perception of the same matter differently perceived by the other? Can we even wrap our heads around that question? Yes, maybe that’s it. What’s happening online really is happening, but some people can’t see it? And maybe some people see the same thing but completely differently.
Who knows? But, either way, I still see us falling.
My perception is I see the country falling apart. As some are still baking cookies for one another, others are beating people in the streets. Bloody and bruised. Chocolate chips and cinnamon rolls. Hatred and anger. Lemonade stands and block parties. Fires and bear spray.
And, due to all this disagreement we have with each other - Is it time we broke up with one another?
No. I argue, No.
It’s not time.
We have a long road ahead. With each other.
Side by side.
Agree and disagree.
We should not divorce.
We have reconcilable differences.
We have differences - yes. But they are NOT irreconcilable.
In any good, healthy, solid, and long term relationship - continuous work is required.
We have work to do, indeed.
But, that work must be together. Not apart. Not separate. Not under disunion. Not under false pretence. And not under a guise of fake mediation.
We MUST work hard at living as good neighbors to one another. We MUST be civil. We MUST be noble. And true. And kind. And do it all for nothing in return. When did everything become about what you will get out of it? When did actions become simply about the reaction? And nothing more? After all, every time Lucy borrowed a cup of sugar, did she ever repay it?
When did we start not dropping off a plate of cookies when a new neighbor moved in next door? Expecting nothing in return, except maybe a smile. A handshake. An introduction. A civil conversation?
A long, long time ago, I guess.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. These cookies... they don't have to be homemade. They don’t have to be the fancy recipe straight from your Grandma’s kitchen. They don’t have to be gourmet.
These cookies could be a plastic box of store-bought chocolate chip cookies, sealed with a bar code and priced at $3.99 for a box of twelve from the Publix down the road.
But, here’s an even bigger secret. You don’t even need to bring cookies with you. You just need to say hello.
No, you see - It’s not the cookies we have forgotten, and it’s not that we cannot afford $3.99 with endless bills to pay, with worries over rent and healthcare. It’s the act of walking next door that we have truly and utterly and sadly forgotten and completely eliminated from our lives. The act of crossing the lawn, getting shoes wet from the morning dew on the blades of cut grass. Walking up the front lawn, climbing the porch, and ringing that gosh darn effing door bell - with good intention in our heart.
Cookies not included.
Cookies not needed.
Just a Hello.
Just a Welcome to the neighborhood.
We have definitely forgotten this simple act.
And who am I to even write about it? I have forgotten it too. Well, I haven’t forgotten. I do THINK of it when someone new moves in. But that’s about it. I THINK. I don’t ACT on it. After all, who has time for all that, right?
I’m the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I am living my very best life. But I am NOT partaking in dropping cookies at people’s doorsteps. And maybe that’s where this whole thing has gone wrong. Right freaking there.
I am truly happy. Extremely happy. Immensely happy. I am busy. I work hard. I love my family and friends. But when’s the last time I welcomed a new neighbor? I have no freaking idea.
I must give myself some credit though where credit is due. This Christmas, my husband and I made hundreds of cookies - piles and piles of cookies. The proof is on my Youtube Channel if you don’t believe me. And I did deliver cookies to neighbors and strangers alike. But this is simply one small act.
And today, I made a double batch of cookies for work tomorrow. A coworker's last day. For a ‘party’ and for my best wishes to send this person onto their next adventure in life.
One other small act.
These little acts. They do add up. They become our life. And our lives. If we are not interacting with one another regularly, in real life, then how can we have a civil relationship with each other in real life?
We need to say hello. We need to get to know one another. We need to have a relationship, other than by our avatars and screen names. Outside of the computers and not reflected through our phone screens. Let’s toss aside our usernames, and use our real freaking names.
So, is it time we broke up? Should we be getting a divorce?
I still say NO.
Now is not the time to call it quits.
We have still but a fleeting moment.
Not even now, as cities burn once again. Not even now, as the world seemingly readies itself for another war. Not even now, as more death engulfs the world. Not even now, as Evil reigns. And Evil thinks it’s winning. The flames having the upper hand. With fireworks in the night sky, and the Devil staring straight at us front and center. World War III on the horizon.
We can still work this out.
And we can stave off a civil war. But, we must heed the warning signs.
We can find the reconcilable parts of our hearts. And join together once again. As one nation, undivided.
And then we can have a simple block party. Hot dogs and beers all around. Slip, sliding away. Party in the USA. Everyone’s invited - Kimmy Gibbler included. And cookies are not required.~
I grew up without social media.
I consider myself blessed for being able to say that.
While every generation has their “thing” - I firmly believe my generation's thing is the fact that we grew up entirely without social media, but we are now living our adult lives with social media present in the world. And because of those circumstances, we have a great ability to easily and fluidly shift between old-world applications, and the more new-age digital apps - making us uniquely qualified for certain tasks in this world. We shift seamlessly and adapt easily. I call us the Floating Generation.
And regardless if we partake in this modern day medium, or not, it’s there. It has an extremely large presence in the world. For better and for worse. An all almost too-powerful of a presence.
And, sadly, in my opinion, many people revolve nearly their entire lives around this medium.
I graduated college in 2003. I survived four years of college entirely without social media. The only “Facebook” we had was the literal and actual paper face-book that was distributed each year on campus. All incoming students were given a light and thin paperback book with the names, faces, and phone numbers of each of their classmates.
That was our official Facebook at the time. And we used it - religiously. That book was part of our daily life. We would scroll through it to find somebody’s name, browsed to see what everyone looked like, searched to find out where a person was from, and scan to find their four digit campus extension to call them on the phone… a phone with a cord - that was plugged into the wall.
But in 2004, and after I was done with school, Mark Zuckerburg went ahead and invented Facebook. And the world has never been the same since.
It was my first full year after school. I was living in the real world. I didn’t need Facebook, and nor did I want it. Besides, at the time, Zuckerberg’s Facebook was geared more toward being a digital supplement to that old-fashioned face book I described above. Still utilized, on college campuses, to connect with one another.
But over the years, Facebook grew. It grew fast. And it grew big. It grew to be something that is now an integral part of most people's lives.
I personally think Facebook is too big. And too powerful. I think it is hovering on the verge of being a monopoly and in dire need of being broken up. And I’ve never, ever, had a desire to be a part of it. Even still.
But then, after many, many years of living and going through life, without Facebook, and still not wanting any part of it, I was on the verge of making a big change in my personal life.
It was 2016, and I was planning my big move from the state of Illinois, on down to Florida. That move would eventually occur in early 2017.
Every single person I knew, and loved, lived in Illinois - or a variety of other states throughout the country. But I knew ZERO people in The Sunshine State at the time.
I wanted a way to stay connected to all those I knew I would be missing… a thousand miles away from everything I knew.
I deliberated long and hard with myself about potentially signing up for a Facebook account. And eventually, at the end of 2016, I went ahead and registered - for the first time in my life. Knowing that I would be easily connected in a free and easy and modern manner.
I immediately discovered that “the whole world” is on Facebook. I found all my old classmates, neighbors, relatives who live near and far, friends from grade school, people I haven't seen in 20 years, and all my current friends. And I even made new friends. All through Facebook.
But, I did all this right before the 2016 Presidential Election.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past many years, and haven’t paid attention to the news, you know very well that the political side of Facebook, and all social media, is NASTY.
No other way to put it.
It was through Facebook that I discovered people I know and love say things online that I never heard them say in person.
When people are behind a digital screen, they have a lot to say, and they say it loud and proud. Fine. Whatever. Everyone in America deserves their free speech.
I can very easily block out mentally and physically that which I do not want to hear.
But it does get a little old.
I came for social connectivity. I didn’t come for the constant electioneering, and to learn who voted for who - all day long.
So I tried to ignore the politics, and zone in on the photos.
And it turns out my absolute favorite part of Facebook was, and is still, those photos.
I also realized that social media is the single best way to find out all the latest social news, gossip, and any and all information about life changes involving people you know. The stuff I was looking for all along.
I found myself completely up to date on the latest pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, baby showers, births, deaths, obituaries, accidents, injuries, illnesses, new home purchases, engagements, Say-Yes-To-The-Dress days, wedding showers, marriages, anniversaries, birthdays, pet adoption days, Gotcha Days, National Cheesecake Day, International MisMatching Sock Day, Taco Tuesday, Touch-A-Truck Days, Nurses Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Star Wars Day, Bird Day, Hoagie Day, National Roast Leg Of Lamb Day - May 7th, in case you were wondering.
The list is endless.
May 8th - National Coconut Cream Pie Day.
June 26th - National Take Your Dog To Work Day.
And, just so they can give themselves yet another plug, while you’re already on their applications all day long... We have June 30th - National Social Media Day.
Every day is something.
And guess what else?
EVERY PERSON IS OFFENDED BY SOMETHING ELSE.
That’s one of the most valuable things l learned by joining social media.
Why don’t we have:
I learned that everyone cares what everyone else thinks. I learned that people are very sensitive. I learned that when people write something online - they think it is pure gold. And I learned that if any single person disagrees with another, in any way - it’s the actual end of the world for that relationship.
DISAGREEMENT = NUCLEAR BOMBS GOING OFF EVERYWHERE.
Hence all the hate, the back-and-forth, the petty comments, the blocking, the unblocking, the following, the unfollowing. That all - also - never ends.
And since I really don’t care what other people think, I am, once again, able to function with or without social media in my life, just fine.
I joined to see photos of my friends and family and their babies and their wedding showers. But instead, it’s more about why this person hates whoever the current president happens to be.
So, after about a year and a half of being digitally social, and being sick of it all, I gave it all up.
When I left Facebook, I also gave up my Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I had initially joined the mothership, but I had then joined the other big three soon after.
And while I nearly despise and almost hate Facebook, I absolutely LOVE Instagram. I am a very visual person though, and as I said before, I enjoy the photos. Instagram is all imagery. A great place to post all my travel photos and latest artwork, and to see those actual photos that I was seeking out when I joined Facebook initially.
I had used Pinterest just for fun.
And I found that the best benefit of Twitter was for hurricanes.
Yes, you read me right - hurricanes.
No sooner than I moved down to Florida, Hurricane Irma blew through later that year. She was a big one. And caused the whole state to be in an uproar. We were evacuated. Twitter was VITAL to me during the hurricane.
And while lots of apps and websites didn’t work under bad internet service at the time, Twitter stayed on strong. So did Facebook. You’ve heard about how if you have bad cell service during an emergency - when all the lines are tied up - that it may be easier to send a text for help instead of trying to get through on the phone, right? Think that for Twitter in this modern day... I found that utilizing social media during the worst of the hurricane, to get my news, was the very best way, to get the actual news.
We live on an island, with not even a handful of bridges to cross over during a hurricane evacuation. The bridges do close down when the winds reach a certain mile per hour - sustained.
I quickly started “following” the local news channels plus the three local beach towns, their mayors, the City of Jacksonville, and the Jax mayor, all on Twitter. They all provided a wealth of factual information to me all throughout the duration of the storm. It brought some level of certainty - communication - to me, during a time of great uncertainty.
I also followed the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, Publix, Winn Dixie, our governor and two senators, Beaches Energy Services, Jacksonville Electric Authority - JEA, all the local area fire and police departments, JSO - Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns River Ferry, the National Hurricane Center, JaxReady, the Jacksonville Public Library, oh yeah, and Dunkin Donuts… Because you can’t survive a hurricane without donuts, right?
But after I went ahead and quit social media, I then went through the following storm seasons entirely without social media. Which led to a much more “manual” and old-fashioned form of finding out the news, when the internet was overloaded and the next storms were nearing us.
When the next hurricanes blew through and around us, and I was on my zero social media experiment of 69 weeks, I literally dug through the closet and pulled out an old-fashioned radio. I was ready, just in case the power went out, to listen to the news that way. But nothing I did was in any way a comparison to Twitter. And social media would have been almost priceless to me during those next storms.
But willing to stick it out, I made it through alive and well. No social media. No damage.
Ultimately, I quit all social media after about a year and a half of being on. I did NOT miss it. I was focused solely on my own personal well being and sanity. I left for my own mental health. A completely selfish decision. But very grateful that I did.
When I signed back up after 69 weeks of being away from The Zuck, I had to start my accounts from scratch. I had completely deleted all of them. So it was an official starting over process. Sort of like being a toddler and learning to walk again. I had to re-find all of my friends and family there. It took a while, but I found most of them.
During those 69 weeks without social media, I focused strictly and selfishly on my own well being and daily productivity. And now that I have social media back in my life, after that extended absence, I am able to have a fabulous life balance of living with social media applications in complete confidence. And today, having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, back in my life, I am even more productive than I ever have been.
I run my life. I don’t let social media run my life. I never did. But some people do.
I think if people can find that balance, they will feel a lot better and at peace with the existence of social media in their worlds.
No, I don’t think social media is going anywhere. I think and see it remaining a huge part of people’s lives into the future.
And that’s also one of the reasons I came back.
In that time away, I set up my own website, a lifestyle blog, an Etsy shop, a place to showcase all my art and writing. But if I want to actually reach people with the things I write and show my paintings to the world, social media remains one of the best ways to do it.
I might write a blog twice a week, but my utilization of social media to help it get out there and maybe reach that one, singular person who may benefit from a specific article in some way, is the point of me sharing it all, on social media.
So while I do despise Facebook, and did have a near love/hate relationship with it in the past… I have now turned that relationship into merely a like/dislike relationship. I can live peacefully with Zuckerberg in my life now, and I know the exact purposes of my visits to each of the other mediums as well.
I still go back to Pinterest simply as a brain teaser, for creative solutions to new ideas.
I go to Twitter for hurricane and rough surf and coastal storm news. Or in today’s new world, pandemic and apocalyptic plague news… charts and graphs and statistics that change by the day. Announcements, once again, by our leaders and representatives on important matters.
I go to Instagram to share all my favorite photos. And see everyone else’s.
And I go back to the now old and trusty and reliable Facebook for those wedding announcements. Babies being born. And yes, in my 69 weeks away, I had friends who had babies, that I never even knew about because I was away from Facebook. When I joined back up I discovered that an old friend endured an entire pregnancy, birth, and had a new baby in her life. Her second child, I never even knew about, in this world. So yeah - Facebook is THE way to communicate with friends and family in this digital era.
And, since I’ve been back, I haven’t missed out on one birth announcement, I know who is pregnant, who is getting married, who died, and I read all the obituaries shared that way. I see in real time who made a roast in their crock pot for dinner, plus which sides they cooked with it. Then, I get the recipe.
I get to see friends travel to Hawaii, and Iceland, and Costa Rica. I see family travel to Disney. I see Dollywood and weekends at a cabin in Michigan. I see special Friday night date nights and fancy dinners out. I see birthday parties and special cakes. I see first haircuts, first baby steps, and first days of school.
I see my nephews' latest milestones as they age from infants, to toddlers, to little boys. School age children who make their first communions and have their grade school graduations. Those pictures, to me, a thousand miles away from all my relatives, are priceless. And all free to share back and forth with these social mediums.
And - I see politics. Yes, politics is still there. And as you may guess, it’s worse than ever. I see Civil War. I call it Civil War 2.0. I see and know who hates President Trump, and I know who loves President Trump. I know who is conservative and who is liberal. And I mostly try to ignore it all - and just laugh at it.
I am glad I left social media for 69 weeks. I am extremely happy with and 100% confident in my decision to ultimately come back to social media. Especially considering how very far away I live from all my family and most of my friends. And I am still, and forever grateful, that I grew up in a world without social media in it.
P.S. - No, I am NOT on TikTok. ~~
*Did you ever go on a social media break? Do you have a Facebook account? Do you live on social media or do you live entirely without social media? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, check out these other adventures in The Sunshine State, right here:
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
56] Shell World ~ Key Largo
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
Every year, on this day, when I wake in the morning and look at the calendar, it's just another day… but then I see my phone screen displaying today’s date to me. The phone tells me that it’s Nine Eleven, and I get a sinking pit of a feeling in my stomach. A feeling of doom and gloom. It feels like in a nightmare when I am falling and there is no end ever to the fall; and then wake up scared to death. But that feeling stays with me all day. It’s a feeling of aching and utter real, raw, sadness. And I feel it every single year, without fail, on September 11.
From that point forward in the morning it becomes a very different day than any other of the calendar year. It becomes a very difficult day for me. A day I push myself forward with an extra amount of force. Force necessary to complete my tasks and go about a normal day of activity.
Saying good morning to my husband. And then our first words to each other this day: ‘It’s Nine Eleven.’
Talking on the phone.
Reading and watching the news.
Going to the library.
Tipping the barista a bit extra today at Starbucks.
Crying as I write this.
Choosing a very happy comedy or adventure-filled film to watch this evening with my husband, and my dog-who didn’t live through that day upon this Earth. Choosing a comedic film to not add any more sadness to my day than necessary.
Saying goodnight to the most solemn and somber day of the year.
On Nine Eleven, 2001, I was at the very beginning of my junior year of college. I abruptly quit the cross country team at the start of that school year, after two years of running NCAA Division III collegiate athletics. I always thought it was a rash decision, but I went with my gut, and my gut feeling does not fail me. I also quit winter and spring track, right then and there as well. Fiercely independent - I had always wanted and craved to run on my own; and this decision allowed me to give more time and focus toward my very expensive college education. My grades were not where I wanted them to be. I only had so much time and energy; I was spreading myself too thin. I was confident in my decision and never wavered from it.
My grades immediately improved with that action. I knew I made the right decision. I made a lot of important life decisions during that school year. I became engaged to be married. I moved off campus and into the condo my fiancé and I purchased in the spring of junior year. I continued onward with my schooling. I worked. I planned my wedding. But when I think back on my junior year of college, I always remember that it began with Nine Eleven.
On Nine Eleven I was safe at college in Illinois, tucked far away from the terror taking place to my East. Being in the Midwest, I never happened to know anyone directly affected by the attacks on America that day. And I spent most of that day in the dorm rooms of my friends, watching coverage on tv. That was all you could watch. Everything else stopped. Not being directly affected by the attacks at all, and feeling the way I do each year on Nine Eleven... I cannot even bear to imagine the pain and suffering of people who were directly affected in any way by the attacks.
Being of college age when the terrorist attack upon America occurred, I believe I am a member of the in-between generation. Or, what I am calling the “Floating Generation.” Listen up if you are about my age and ever wondered what generation you fall in. Are you a millennial? Or a Gen X’er? I used to question my generational status all the time. Some days I thought with 100% certainty that I am a Millennial. Then, other days, I think, those silly Millennials!!! I canNOT relate to them at all! There’s no way I am a millennial, am I? I realized that people my age have our very own and very distinct generation. I hover. And float. The Floating Generation. I hover and I float between generational skills and beliefs. I float back and forth and go where the waves of time take me. I can balance that paper checkbook very easily if the internet went down. I can use Apple Pay at McDonald’s in an instant if I forget my wallet. Maybe someday I won’t even carry a wallet? I am a ‘Floater.’ Everyone is born into a distinct generation. It’s up to you to decide which one that is, though, and which one you will put yourself in - even if that means creating your own generation.
I had grown up prior to Nine Eleven. Nine Eleven occurred when I was a very young and very new adult. A young adult making very important life decisions for the very first time. For me and many others, there was life before Nine Eleven and life after Nine Eleven. Just like there was life before smartphones and life after smartphones were invented. And there also existed for us life before social media and life with the advent of social media. Or “Life Before Facebook” as I commonly say. I am of the American generation who has experienced both eras. I lived and survived life before the internet and now live with the internet a part of my life every single day. I know how to live with Facebook, although I have chosen to now continue life without a Facebook account. I know how to balance a paper checkbook, and will be forever and eternally grateful for the banking app on my phone home screen that keeps track of everything for me now. I float back and forth between the two eras, quite easily adapting to any situation on hand, maybe easier than others can adapt. We are adapters. Adapters to the continual and quick-paced changes taking place around us. This Floating Generation appreciates those little things like a bank app more so than any other generation potentially can appreciate it. Because we have seen, experienced, and know both ways of life. Generations coming up and being born now will have those pieces of technology molded into their lives from as long as they can remember back. How will they relate and study and know their past?
At some point in the unknown future, will there exist a generation of humans who don’t know how to live life without a smartphone? Or live life without the internet? I question if the internet will become classified as a public ‘utility’ in the future?... As imperative to life as gas and electricity and air conditioning and heat are now to our way of life? I compare and contrast my life before and life after in my head all the time, as only ones who really and truly experienced both can do so. And I also see life before Nine Eleven, and I see life after Nine Eleven. We are definitely a different nation today than we were before the attacks. Just as the entire world is different today directly because of social media’s never-ending presence, as well as the invention of the smartphone.
On future Nine Eleven’s, there will be more new and innovative inventions that will have changed human behavior and communication yet again. When I go to sleep tonight I will know that this day will come again 365 days from now. The world may be far different again next year at this time. And years into the future. One thing will remain the same though. That feeling inside my stomach. That pit. Because all the technology in the world cannot change the real and raw feeling inside a human heart. And stomach. It will be like the ‘Groundhog Day’ film, I think to myself. The same day all over again. Just 365 days apart, not the next morning. Except this year, 2019, there was one difference for me. Today, this Nine Eleven, 2019 - eighteen years later - I came to the realization that an entire generation of Americans are now legal adults who never lived through that horrific day in America. They don’t know what waking on this day feels like to some. They need to know our history. - how and why things can change in an instant. I pray they are taught what happened.
My dad is a World War II history buff. That’s how I have always thought of him. And when I think of his history knowledge, I then think of the show Seinfeld… The episode where Jerry and George see Keith Hernandez. And Jerry tells George that Keith Hernandez is a big Civil War buff. George is fascinated by the statement. He says he’d like to be a buff. What does one have to do to become a buff? He contemplates. My father is one of those such buffs. Sometimes I think he knows more about WWII than some of the generals who fought in the war.
Recently, June 6, 2019, marked the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. I like to educate myself about WWII. I like knowing as many details as I can. I’d like to someday know all that my father knows about WWII. Yet, I know I will never know as much as my father knows. He knows things that WWII movies get factually wrong. When this past 75th Anniversary came and went, I couldn’t help but think at the time, that someday, it will be the 75th Remembrance of Nine Eleven. And then the 100th. Whole generations come and gone. What will American’s think that day, Nine Eleven of the distant and unknown future? Will they be watching television that day, on some strange futuristic device, and see world leaders from all over the globe come together to remember the fateful day of the past? Will people put flags up and wear American flag tees and pins to remember 9/11 that far into the future? They might, and they will, if future generations are taught what happened. A history which is forgotten is a history that may be repeated. If something is forgotten, how does one learn anything at all from that something?
To the new and waking and growing generations of American’s out there - this is what Nine Eleven feels like to some of your fellow Americans. And next year, on Nine Eleven, Twenty Twenty, we will feel this way again. This is why the American Flag is brought out specifically today, hung proudly outside homes and businesses and in window displays and waving from vehicles all across the country. This is why news coverage is different today. This is why when you Google something today on your smartphone you will see a sad and somber black ribbon just below the search bar, draped gently over the American Flag; a Flag who mourns a loss from 18 years ago today.
And next year, on Nine Eleven, I already know on that morning I will again wake and I will again look at my calendar and see the date; and a sinking pit of a sad and heartbreaking feeling will fall upon my stomach. That Groundhog Day repetitive feeling will come upon me again. Reliving the day with heartache and a profound sadness. And I will go out into society to get coffee, and I will tip the barista something extra that day - whether I can afford to or not. Living the same day, with the same feelings and emotions, again. And tears will come again. Without end on that day of the calendar, Nine Eleven. For the rest of my life. I will never forget.
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