Off the grid

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My year without Facebook

Article: Autumn McDowell – Sports Editor

Almost exactly one year ago today, my life changed forever.

No, I didn’t take up smoking, only to give it up. I didn’t even become a raging alcoholic who found the bottom of the barrel for the last time. While these accomplishments may be applause-worthy, I did something much more important, something that only people with true will power can do. I deleted my Facebook account.

To be honest, I was reluctant to even try Facebook the first time it was offered to me, as I knew the high likelihood that I would become addicted. And while I had managed to resist the peer pressure for many years, I finally surrendered, and made an account.
My first experience with Facebook was something extraordinary. I was receiving friend requests left and right and suddenly my life became dependant on seeing that little red number sign next to one of the icons. But that is where the magic ended.

[3A] - Autumn - Facebook - Haley Klassen

Although Facebook is a great tool for connecting with old friends, or keeping in contact with people that have moved away, the majority of people rarely use it for these recreational purposes. Most people, including myself, become obsessed with keeping on top of their brother’s, girlfriend’s, brother’s, friend’s, cousin’s drama and creeping pictures to make sure that you’re skinnier, nicer, and generally more ridiculously good looking than other people that you have barely talked to. And you all know it’s true.

The truth is, Facebook affected my life negatively in many ways, and perhaps that is why I am so bitter towards it. My theory is if you are looking for something, you won’t stop looking until you find it. Evidence of cheating ex-boyfriends often surfaced through Facebook, and while some people might suggest that it was better to find out, I would rather have not found out through a social media site. You cannot imagine the pit in my stomach that it had caused me so many times.

Before I knew it, Facebook went from being a casual drink at supper time for me, to a pack-a-day full out addiction. Suddenly it was consuming incredible amounts of my time and, finally, I knew that I had to quit the book cold turkey.

I was addicted to Facebook for roughly four years before I finally decided to kick that monkey off my back, and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I have ever made.

Suddenly, with just one click, knowing every detail about my friend of a friend’s lives just wasn’t important anymore. When someone comes up to me and asks, “Did you see on Facebook..?” I no longer care. My life is much more drama- and stress-free since getting rid of Facebook, and if you have the will power, I highly recommend doing the same.

Although I may still be a recovering addict of sorts, every once in a while still getting the urge to see that small red number, or crave those friend requests, that small gratification isn’t worth it to me anymore.

While the rest of you refresh your pages repeatedly to see the likes go up, I’ll be enjoying life. Facebook free since Nov. 2012.

Image via Haley Klassen

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