This past weekend, I spent my birthday (yep, I turned 25 “again:) in Dallas with a really good friend of mine. Now my friend, is rarely ever on Facebook. But me?? I LIVE on it. I admit, it’s an addiction. That’s right…my name is Stephanie and I’m a Facebook addict. When I first joined the community back in 2009, I immediately became hooked. Being the typical Cancer moonchild that loves to connect with her past, the idea of connecting with old classmates that I grew up with and distant family members I hadn’t seen in ages really appealed to me. I love nostalgia. And I love reuniting with my past. And then, there is the expression component. As an introvert, I’m pretty shy and reserved in social settings. Being social in the real world makes me uncomfortable and drains me. But in the virtual world, I feel completely free and uninhibited. When I joined back then, I was also going into my third year of marriage and things weren’t going so well. My marriage was quickly heading south and Facebook filled a void for me. Over time, it gave me an outlet to express my thoughts and became my muse. It became my primary source of entertainment. I’ve always taken great pleasure in uplifting others, even when I’m feeling down myself. I really believe it’s my gift to this world. I share inspiration, politically incorrect humor, thought provoking discussion topics, and even participate in some social Facebook groups. And over the years, it seems like I’ve developed quite a following . So back to my weekend…while partaking in the awesome bar hopping birthday festivities my friend arranged for me, she jokingly mentioned that I live on my phone. And I couldn’t deny it. She was absolutely right. I live on Facebook. I live on my phone…in daily life and when I travel.
But I’m not the only offender. When I reflect back on past travels, I’ve made the same observations of other fellow travelers. The “matrix” struggle is real. What is it about social media and technology that makes it so hard to give up when we’re supposed to be living and creating experiences? Why can’t we unplug and disconnect?
I suppose the daily grind of the rat race is partly to blame. As human beings, we’re creatures of habit. It’s hard to stop running once the hamster wheel has stopped spinning. It’s difficult relax and just be. I have a problem and whether they know it or not, so do many other travelers. So, I’ve made the following vow to myself for my next trip: I WILL NOT LIVE ON MY PHONE. With the exception of occasionally check-ins (for safety reasons, especially when traveling solo), I will NOT Facebook. If I feel the urge to post that epic selfie I just took in front of Christ The Redeemer, I will post it and not comment until I return. I will not miss out on connecting with myself or the company of others. I will not miss out on just “being”. I will not miss out on experiencing once in a lifetime moments. Rare moments are priceless. And I will no longer spend them of Facebook.
Can you unplug?