It has recently been impossible to sit down and post something. With two kids all available free time is taken up and personal time has completely evaporated. And so, I’ve recently been waking up around 4:00am, to have some time of my own and to straighten up the house before everyone awakes. After that is completed, the rest of the time has unfortunately been taken by Warcraft but today, having done my dailies, sent the followers on their missions and finished my chores in the garrison I still have another hour or two to spare. I would have liked to get a morning bike ride in but we actually had a bit of rain and everything is wet.
What I’ve been meaning to post about is how much my mindset has changed from 2014. In 2014 I really enjoyed social media and trying to keep in touch with just about everyone. This was primarily done through Facebook and trying to keep up with what everyone was doing. As 2015 arrived that all came to a screeching halt when I realized I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. In this unprecedented online social experiment, I’ve found that the bonds and experiences that create and maintain friendships simply aren’t there.
My impression of Facebook is like me calling someone on the phone, and from the moment they say hello, telling them about my life, or what I had for breakfast, or that they should really appreciate Jesus or whatever and then without them uttering so much of a word of response, hanging up. Comments are possible but they are just that, short, one line comments. On Facebook one can never have the rich, full discussions and back and forth conversation that is the real sustenance of a relationship or friendship. Having real life experiences and physically being with the other person creates something special, these are what maintains the relationship and keeps it healthy.
Without physically meeting your friends or having in-depth conversations with them they become nothing more than a connection that is periodically revived by a “like.” Nothing has proven this to me more-so than when I write an earnest message to a “friend” but do not get a response. The preferred method of communication has become minimal communication at a distance and preferably with a barrier. The barrier is our computer/phone screen.
Relationships are now maintained with as minimal involvement as possible. Some will leave a comment on a post but even that takes too much effort for many when a simple “like” is enough to let the other person know that you still exist and have a modicum of interest in what the other is doing. If one absolutely must respond directly it is now done with texts so as to minimize any overly human contact.
There is a phenomenon that I’ve experienced and have come to learn that it is not uncommon. I’ve been away from my hometown for almost 15 years. When I go home I like to call up old friends to see if they would like to get together. What I’ve learned is that most won’t have time and will put you off. Out of all of my old high school friends only a few will make the effort. I was quite surprised when some friends who I had thought were my best friends many years ago couldn’t be troubled to take a few hours to meet up even though we hadn’t met in many years.
I thought this was really strange but I’m hearing the same thing from others who also have been away from home for a long time. My “friends” have for the most part become old, they are forgetting and have forgotten the bonds of the past. Relationships need sustenance and without it time wears away the old friendships until not much remains except that the person is simply someone that I used to know.
On Facebook I actually created a page for my high school class as I thought it would be extremely fun to gather everyone together. Unfortunately, I misjudged the enthusiasm I thought would come from it. Only 15 or so out of 120 classmates actively participate. When trying to get a sense of who might come for the 20 year reunion only these same 15 bothered to even vote. I threw up old pictures, tried to get people excited about the reunion, but only a few people were on board. Then the page seemed to almost die completely and so, in utter defeat I just gave up.
As the year is almost half over and nothing concrete in terms of a reunion date I’ve already gone ahead and made other travel plans. So I’m a bit sad to realize that I most likely won’t make the 20 year reunion after all. A 20 year reunion still seems to me like something that people would really want to participate in; we did spend four very important years with these same people after all. But perhaps I’ve simply gotten this impression from the movies and it doesn’t reflect reality or is something that was true in the past which is no longer. Very disappointing.
So here I was, Facebook having tricked me into thinking I had hundreds of friends. In reality, those hundreds of friends have dwindled down to about very few. The saying that you’ll only have a handful of good friends in life has really turned out to be true.
And so, I’ve chosen to refocus my energy not on maintaining hundreds of connections, but on those close to me and on my own betterment. I’m cutting the cord and going into a mental cloister. Unfortunately I cannot delete my Facebook entirely because some acquaintances would be lost forever. But for the most part my online life is now through this blog. Those that want to keep in touch will and those that don’t, well, they are free to do so and I sincerely hope they have a good life.
2015 has ushered in this change and I have to say I feel a bit of relief. It is tiresome to try and keep up with roughly 700 people or so and it is downright disappointing when I’ve misjudged those who I thought were good friends. 2015 is the year of letting go, of a refocus on the close and internal.
The time is now 7:00am and the household has woken up. Time to begin the day.