I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what adds value to my life. Questioning how I spend my time and energy. That’s the big idea behind minimalism to begin with, isn’t it?
Decluttering, buying less, simplifying, safer beauty products, secondhand shopping, mindfulness, capsule wardrobes, whole foods – at the end of the day, it’s all about joy.
Minimalism is about cultivating a simpler, more fulfilling life. Feeling good in your own skin and empowered in your choices.
One place in particular, where value has been called into question of late, is Facebook. Not social media entirely, just Facebook specifically.
You see, I’ve grown to despise it. And yet I still find myself mindlessly scrolling when I could be doing something better with my time.
What used to be a fun way to connect with friends and family has become either a highlight reel of other people’s carefully cultivated personal brands, or a tragic and terrifying stream or violence, divisiveness and politics.
I can’t enjoy pictures of my friends’ babies and vacations anymore. I can’t shoot a note to connect two friends moving to the same city. I can’t even check in on craft night. I must also see ISIS, and the election, and all manner of horrifying things going on in the world.
Not to mention, it seems we are living in an age of outrage. Everyone is an expert on everything from Gorilla body language to health care reform. And each of these experts now has their own personal soap box on which to stand and shout.
And I’m 100% guilty of this as well. We use Facebook to promote our message of wellness and minimalism here at Crop Tops & Kale. (Lucky for me, Bridget heads that up.) And I’m definitely guilty of sharing political articles and opinions myself. But I no longer see any value in doing so.
Distasteful memes, violent videos, racism, hate, bigotry, nasty comments – it’s all I see now when I log in. And for what? We’re not changing each other’s minds, engaging in civil discourse, or making the world a better place with this activity. In fact, shares and likes and comments have become mistaken for real change-making and activism.
It’s too much for me. The value I used to find through the connection and community aspect of the platform (or even just the guilty pleasure of seeing photos of an ex-boyfriend’s wedding or something) has entirely evaporated.
I find myself with nothing but an anxiety-inducing stream of bullshit to sift through.
And don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Pollyanna. I understand that there are horrific and very real things happening to, and because of, my fellow humans beings across the globe. We need to know about them. And I do feel compelled to stay informed on current events, but there are better ways of doing so.
I don’t need to be privy to the opposing, political viewpoints of my relatives. I don’t feel the need to see each horrible thing unfold on live footage, whether it’s a world away from me, or in a city nearby. Even if those things are mixed in with John Oliver videos and puppy memes, they do nothing but leave me feeling powerless and afraid.
And I know I could try to curate a more positive feed but, I no longer see the point. I can only see a point in deactivating my account.
So that’s what I’ve done, at least for a while. I’ll let you know how it goes. I did this once before and it didn’t stick. But that was before the election year came into full swing and before I really started to question the value Facebook adds to my life.
Perhaps there is something to be missed. Perhaps I’m forgetting. But if I do find myself missing it, I’m going to investigate the real reason.
Because though I’ve never seen it as the highest and best use of my time anyway, it at least used to be a fun distraction, an indulgent source of entertainment and connection. Now, it does nothing but leave me anxious and angry and sad. And life naturally brings us all plenty of that on it’s own.
We experience enough heartache, hardship and arguing in our real, everyday lives. In the people around us that we physically interact with every, single day. Our real family and friends and their ups and downs. I don’t need to see the entire world’s problems day in and day out as well.
So as with the rest of the useless clutter I’ve jettisoned from my life, like old socks and nicknacks, Facebook too, can take a hike. I just no longer see its value.
What about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with Facebook? I can’t be the only one, right? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.
And if you’re interested in learning more about this whole minimalism thing, pop your email in below and we’ll send you one sentence that will help you lose weight, be happy and figure out your life.
Also published on Medium.