“Walked out this morning, I don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home.”– Sting
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “may you live in interesting times.” I’m not exactly sure whether that’s supposed to be a fortune, prophecy, or a curse. I guess it could be said that we are always living in interesting times. Some times are just more interesting than others.
I’ve seen a number of people lately that have chosen to leave Facebook. I suppose Facebook is the addiction for people in my age group. The younger crowd prefers Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat. Either way, they provide us with a way to stay connected to friends, stay connected to the world, and stay connected to family. Occasionally, those three intersect in a way that makes us increasingly uncomfortable.
I get it. I have been posting these to my public wall recently and have been sharing them with a few select friends. The ones that say they are leaving say they are fed up with the politics and the fighting. I get that too. Part of me realizes that I’m playing a role in that. A part of the cost of that connection is being forced to choose how to deal with how that connection makes us feel.
It wasn’t so long ago that we didn’t get bombarded with news and constant updates on the news every minute of every day. You might have the nightly news cover a major news story for ten minutes and then everything would go dark until the next day. It wasn’t until our childhood before we had cable and then we didn’t have 24 hour news until we were out of high school.
The emotional toll of getting constant updates, alerts, and commentary can seem overwhelming. Then, add to that the slings and arrows of people we may have known somewhat well back in school and it can seem like all too much. If I simply counted the number of people I am friends with on Facebook from high school it would easily outnumber the people I was actually close to in high school. It’s similar to the number of people that shared a class with that one now famous member of your graduating class. I didn’t know they could fit 80 people in a Chemistry class.
So, some of us surf the internet looking for a social network that allows us to see family photos and shots of the last vacation without diving into a political diatribe. I’m keenly aware of this. It’s the main reason why I’ve refocused my energies to write one of these a day. I can say what I need to say, post it for those that want to read it, and then go about my day. I can go to my private groups where we can all collectively complain about the same things and no one is the wiser.
As tempting as it is to unplug from the world, the world will always be waiting for us when we get back. We certainly don’t have the energy to fight every battle and no one expects us to. Yet, we need to stand up and be counted for some of them. None of us want to be bombarded with politics and I have certainly snoozed more than a few people lately. Still, these times make it unavoidable. So, for those wanting to leave I wish them the best of luck and hopefully we won’t be total strangers. Being a part of the madness is somehow preferable to having to put my message in a bottle.