It was time to retreat. I had forces battling me on all sides and knew that if I didn’t pull back now, I would be consumed and overrun. I surveyed my options and took a path that I knew would put my communications at risk, but it seemed the right thing to do. 

No, I’m not reliving my battlefield experiences. I’m talking about getting off of Facebook.

The word “retreat” came to mind as I was thinking about this piece and it is perfect for so many reasons. In the traditional sense, it does mean to pull back, to reevaluate and to strategize your next moves. This is exactly what I needed to do. It was not just Facebook that caused this – it was, well, life. You may have noticed that the world is a bit of a turbulent place these days. I have had to limit my watching the news and engaging in conversations that may have a political bent. I just don’t have the energy for it. 

Then, outside of all the external forces, there is always what is going on personally in my life between family, friends and relationships of all kinds. And, of course, there is business, just to add to the stress level. None of this by itself is overwhelming but when put together…oy.

Here’s the really great news: I am aware. I know when I’m in too far over my head, when my emotions are on overload. I know when it is time for me to step back, to breathe, to rest, to play and have fun, to eat well and exercise. For the most part, I actually listen to these cues and follow through. 

I’ve not always been like this. For a large portion of my life, I preferred to bury my emotions, to take the “I’ve got this” attitude and just power through. I ignored warning signs, bypassed emotional cues and maintained the persona of an in-control, nonplussed and continually upbeat person. This is a position one can maintain for a limited time period without consequences. I have learned that I prefer the “be aware and take care” life to the “deal with it later and suffer the consequences” one.

So back to Facebook…

Really, for the most part, it was great. On an average day, even if  I was stressed, it was manageable. But lately I realized that my life was tipping past that 80/20 point, where I want 80% of it to be involved with things that bring me joy and 20% necessary but not necessarily enjoyable. I was finding that that “other” part was creeping up and frankly, it’s just not worth it to live that way. So, I looked at all that was stressing me and, of that group, which ones could I do anything about. While there were a few tweaks here and there, nothing really would make much of a difference – except possibly taking a break from Facebook. I realized I was spending way too much time on it, to the detriment of other more positive endeavors. I found myself drawn into stories that were sad or painful or frustrating or infuriating. And then, on top of all of that, I got a couple of negative comments on posts I’d made which hurt me personally. “That’s it,” I thought. “I REALLY don’t need this.” And off I went.

Yes, my life got calmer. Yes, I had more time. And yes, I do miss the daily interactions with my friends. 

I think I may try going back, but I think I’ll do it differently this time. I know what works for me, and what doesn’t. I don’t need to accumulate “friends”, or try to be nice to everyone. If I wouldn’t want to spend time with a contact outside of the virtual realm, then why connect at all? 

Retreat. A time to sit back, figure out what’s best and move forward positively. 

Re-treat: Do something nice for yourself, once again.

Both work for me.