Time- It’s no secret all the time we have started putting into social media. Time spent running through our feed, reading about each other’s mundane daily activities, time away from actual conversation with our friends and families. When Chris and I made this huge move from our over-scheduled lives of Las Vegas to seek the simplicity of rural life, freedom of our time was one of our biggest motivations. I didn’t want to spend the greater part of my day running to work, running at work, and running home only to catch up on all the home and child duties. We gave up our two-job household because we knew time was more valuable than the exhausting rat race that was not making us happy, no matter how much money we earned. The exchange has been worth every penny we gave up, and I am not about to continue to waste another second caring if someone who has never called me, never come to visit, or I have never even met in person has an opinion about how I raise my children, who I vote for, or what I had for breakfast.
Inner Peace- When seeking a life of passion, simplicity, and minimalism in a world wrought with discontentment, material gratification at the cost of personal freedom, and complex schedules, Facebook just doesn’t fit in. For months now I have experienced an increase in anxiety that I simply cannot justify. I have a wonderful life, deciding each day how I will spend each moment, spending numerous hours caring for myself, my family, and my home. I have freedom in my days that most people my age only dream about, yet there are times I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders for no good reason. I have spent a lot of time meditating on this and can only come to one conclusion, I am carrying the weight of the life experiences of people I don’t even truly know. I read the arguments, the anger, and the judgmental attitudes of person after person who feel the need to comment on things they are not even close to being affected by personally. I have been caught up in these conversations to the point where I dwell on them for hours, or even days, wishing, hoping I could just make them see things my way. Why? Maybe it’s my own ego. Maybe I feel like if I don’t care than I am not compassionate. Whatever the reason, I am ready to let that go, and move forward in my own experience, calm and truly connected instead of falsely involved.
Birthdays- I got a visit from my parents on my birthday. They drove 2 ½ hours to take me to dinner and eat cake at my home. I had a text conversation with 2 close friends, one from high school who does not use Facebook, she just remembered my birthday after all these years, and one from someone who has become a close friend more recently, a member of the millennial generation who should have felt plenty comfortable with just a Facebook post, but took the time to actually message me. I got one phone call from one of my closest lifelong girlfriends and we talked for an hour, and this was after she took days off of work to take a trip with me earlier this spring, just to celebrate this milestone 40th birthday. I got over 80 Facebook posts, yet I literally felt so much more touched by those who reached out beyond social media. I am making a personal vow to try to remember people’s birthdays with phone calls, cards, and messages once I no longer have Facebook to remind me. The Facebook birthday message has become almost meaningless, and yet another testament to how little we value a true sentiment that takes time to actually put another person into our thoughts for more than 20 seconds. I will say, I did get one truly awesome video post that made me laugh, and a couple messages through Facebook that extended beyond the timeline post that were appreciated, but overall, I think birthdays should be celebrated because we are sincerely grateful the person we celebrate was brought into the world, not because we feel obligated by a reminder in our notifications.
Optimism- When I joined Facebook so many years ago it was amazing! I could connect and talk to people that I had no idea how to reach after years of losing touch. I was able to help a grieving friend get through the loss of her young husband, a friend I hadn’t talked to for years before I found her on Facebook. I was able to share my creations and passion for art and sewing and was awarded with unquestionable support when I was just starting this new adventure. It pushed me forward and helped me get to where I am today. I have made connections with people that I never would have met otherwise, and made real friends with whom I have had the opportunity to spend quality time. For this I am undeniably grateful. Recently, however, I find more often than not, that people I know are otherwise good at heart posting hate-filled memes, ranting about their opposing political parties, and plugging the already overbearing government system as the solution to all of our problems. People complain about their lives and the lives of people they don’t even know without accepting responsibilities for the choices that have led to their circumstances. People talk about income inequality and what they deserve without accepting their role in changing the economic disparity through mindful consumption and thoughtful purchasing. People post articles depicting tangible goods like tampons as “a basic human right”, without realizing that a human right is not a tangible thing. I have seen blame put on the fashion industry and the numbers and words they use to size their clothing as an attack on a woman’s self-worth, without stating the responsibility that self-worth lives within ourselves. I have read people’s views that they deserve free health care, without acknowledging personal wellness choices as being a responsibility. I am tired of the overall discontentment of a people who have all the power in the world to change their situations through their actions, live lives of self-sustainability and self-reliance, and see the world as an ever-evolving place where tragedy breeds resilience, and for each bad day there will be a good one. Facebook has become negatively unbalanced, and I refuse to subject myself to the underlying pessimism it showcases.
I have asked myself if I believe my business will suffer without the Facebook audience, but I don’t believe it will. I think it will flourish under new creative ways to reach out to people. One of my favorite things about YB Urban? is that it is most successful when I can reach out to people in my community through face-to-face exposure. I am not going off the grid. We have our website, and we can be reached through messages. I will blog more, post photos of our family, and write thoughtful articles about our life, our experiences, and our knowledge. I will contact friends directly when we have a party or event planned on the farm, and I will email our fans with new products, specials, and classes. This life we have cultivated is not about extending our reach out to anyone and everyone. It is about being a close, successful family unit, offering our time and skills to our local community, helping our neighbors, accepting the generosity of people we know, sustaining our freedom, and continuing to better ourselves in every endeavor that allows us to thrive in the short time we are on the Earth. I know I will not lose the close connections with those I know and love, because leaving Facebook is not leaving life, and the relationships that matter will continue to enhance my existence, without all the unwanted clutter.