today is ash wednesday, the beginning of lent. today i deactivated my facebook account.
i’ve never participated in lent before. when this time of year rolls around, i always have grand ideas about things i could give up, like smoking or eating food, but my ideas never come to fruition. maybe because my reasons were entirely self-serving: giving up eating in order to lose weight, quitting smoking to avoid spending money and eventually dying of cancer.
my reasons for deactivating my facebook aren’t religious; i won’t be spending all the minutes that i would have been spending on facebook in prayer. facebook, for me, is something mindless i can do to distract me from everything else that’s going on in my life. i get on facebook and i go into a trance, a technology-induced trance, where i click-click-click without consciousness of what i’m doing until i end up somewhere in the facebook sphere with no explanation of how i got there. so i guess instead of indulging in the mindless, i want to be able to practice mindfulness, to be present in my present and be able to be part of the world in a more substantial way than social networking.
i’ve never counted, but i would venture to guess that i waste probably two hours a day on facebook. those two hours are a gift, and i want to use them more productively, or at least more creatively: i want to blog every other day (if not every day); i want to start writing a short story; i want to commence a sewing project; i want to do more pleasure reading; i want to take my camera from its dusty shelf and put it to use again. and who knows, if this forty-day experiment proves successful i may have no need for facebook in my life anymore. wouldn’t that be nice?
so this is day one of my facebook fast. wish me luck.