There are two times per year that seem like the perfect opportunity to make things in life great again. And by that I mean the perfect opportunity to rub the slate clean and start over. The first is, of course, the New Year. Just head to your nearest gym on 1/2 or 1/3. It’s PACKED. It’s time to start over.
For those of us who were raised in the Catholic faith, the other good time to start over is Lent. After all, it’s time to give something up. Ash Wednesday comes along, and we don’t eat meat. We decide on what our Lenten sacrifice will be. It might be chocolate or alcohol or red meat, depending on the year. Sometimes, it’s a diet disguised as a Lenten sacrifice. And last year, it was Facebook…and that served two purposes.
The first purpose was that I am, quite frankly, a compulsive user of Facebook. It is easy for me to spend hours and hours wandering around to different pages and playing different games and following different links to whatever seems like a fun or interesting or especially disturbing article. So it would be psychologically healthier for me not to spend a lot of time on Facebook. But giving up Facebook is also giving up something that keeps me entertained and sometimes makes me smile and often makes me laugh. I get to see pictures of all my little NICU miracles and my friends’ kids and all the dogs and cats that share their lives with my friends and family.
This political climate is TOUGH. I see a lot of things that I don’t like coming out of Washington (and also coming out Harrisburg, honestly). And Facebook is like a rabbit hole of political commentary and horrifying stories and reminders of how awful people in this country can be to each other. Instead of going out and doing something to help the communities about whom I am worried, I am immersing myself in all the yuck I am seeing online. And it doesn’t feel good. And it’s like reliving the same shit over and over again.
I was listening to one of my new favorite podcasts today, Call Your Girlfriend, and they were talking about self-care and how important it is right now. And I am not doing self-care very well. And one great point they had was this: If you want to make a difference, pick one cause that you really care about, and make a phone call to find out how you can help that cause. Instead of reading the stories over and over again about things that you already know are happening and already are horrified by, turn off the news and step away from the computer and do something.
So even though Ash Wednesday is almost over and I have been using Facebook all day long, I am giving it up tonight. I am going to consider what it is I am most concerned about in this country today, and I am going to figure out what I can do to help, and I am going to stop watching the news and reading the stories and making myself continue to feel worse and worse about something I already feel pretty bad about it.
So goodbye for now, Facebook. I will see you on the other side of Easter.
And maybe occasionally on Sundays.