Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a nerd. Worse yet, I’m one of those 50 something-year-old mothers who, once I really got the hang of it, became addicted to Facebook. My two oldest immediately jumped the Facebook ship and now post on Instagram and other social media sites and refuse my friend requests. They make fun of me almost daily for over sharing. My son’s girlfriend gave me a piece of her mind about posting her personal pictures on my page (of my grand puppy!) It’s her life and I am not allowed to steal material from it. Lesson learned.
There were some really good things that came from my Facebook addiction and there were some really awful things. I connected with old friends and with high school peers I’d not given myself the chance to know 30 years ago, mostly because I thought l was not worthy. I connected with like-minded strangers who are now pen pals.
Connection. Something I was lacking for some time, absorbed in raising my special needs daughter, advocating for her to get the education she deserved; trying desperately to give her some sort of social life by joining various groups and driving miles to get her to social activities with similarly disabled kids. All while also working 40+ hours a week at a paying job and caring for my disabled parents, who lived with my family and whose needs became enormous as the years went by. When did I have time to connect with anyone? I barely connected with my family as I plowed on, totally losing me.
Some of these new Facebook connections developed into lifelines I am so grateful to have. Others were huge mistakes. Significantly, I began a very dysfunctional friendship which almost ended the most important and solid relationship in my life. I also alienated friends and family by sharing what should have been theirs to share if they chose to. For this I feel terrible, but I have grown and matured and learned. Still learning.
I also confronted my obsessive/compulsive nature head on through bouts of FarmVille marathon plantings and harvesting at 3 o’clock in the morning, and Candy Crush delusions of my super powers. Without the help of conventional therapy or a 12-step program, I faced these demons head on and am now happily abstinent. Don’t get me wrong, I have a conventional therapist, but I could not bring myself to add this to my list of reasons why I was having a nervous breakdown. It was embarrassing!
I no longer spend hours going back and forth with delusional know-it-alls who I feel ARE WRONG about whatever subject they are putting their 2 cents in on a comment chain. I’ve learned that I just might be wrong, actually. Doesn’t happen often 😀 , but I’m more apt to admit it now. More importantly, I can’t change anyone’s mind about anything by arguing on a social media site.
Facebook helped point me toward WordPress and expressing myself through a different media, while learning to blog. Blogging is a way to express myself, and for those who want to read whatever it is I write, they can subscribe. Most readers leave me alone if they disagree with me. I find WordPress readers much more restrained and mature in their commentary. I’ve also made a few very good pen pals through WordPress. I’ve also finally figured it out that agreement is not really what I’m after, free expression is.
I still keep up my Facebook page, but it is different from what it was a few years ago. No political posts inviting argument, no posting of the things happening in others lives. No religious posts or negative comments on others posts. No excessively inviting people to play games which are the biggest time wasters and feed into my OCD. I am enjoying this stage of my social media growth but am open to continually learning and to allow the natural progression to the last stage, when I will decide to pull the plug.