Facebook

Why I’m Fine Without Facebook

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Four months ago, I made a decision to delete my Facebook page. I went back and gave it a second chance a few weeks ago. I have permanently deleted it (again).

Here’s why:

Before Facebook, I knew that I was often irrational. That my feelings Facebook deletesometimes got the best of me and that I often said things that maybe people shouldn’t say to other people. But then I realized that my parents did it and my parents’ parents did it and we all turned out OK.

Before Facebook, I knew who my true friends (and family) were. I knew that I could pick up the phone and call a select few people and they would be there day or night. And my Friend list didn’t comprise 400 people, most of who have to rely on Facebook notifications to know when my birthday is.

Before Facebook, I knew that, as a father, I am flawed. I knew that I could be myopic about projects; often ignoring all else in order to finalize something I was working on that would benefit my family. But I also knew that I spent a lot of time with my kids and my wife. That most of my weekends I spend running back and forth from one sports game to another and when not doing that, often playing with my kids in the yard throwing balls, riding bikes, you know…family stuff. But I also knew that I hug my children–a lot. A lot more than I was hugged as a child. And I tell my kids how special they are and how much I love them. And I have to believe, that no matter how I might yell sometimes, my kids can’t help but know how much I love them–because I’ve shown them.

Before Facebook, I knew that 15 years of marriage can make things seem a little stale–that maybe it’s not quite as exciting as it is when you’re first dating. But I also knew that my marriage was strong. That what we have as a couple is the envy of millions of single adults. And maybe we don’t have date-night as often as we’d like, but it’s not because as a man, I don’t care about my wife–that’s just life. You make sacrifices and you live with it. Period.

Before Facebook, I knew that I had a mild case of body dismorphic disorder. Despite being more active and fit than the majority of men I know, I still felt as if I’m somehow not skinny enough, or strong enough, or active enough.

Before Facebook, I could enjoy a person’s company, unfiltered by knowing every proclivity and every opinion they’ve voiced. Their personal political views, or sexual orientation or the crazy things that went on in their heads that they kept to themself didn’t interject itself into our relationship. Who cared? We’re friends because we “jive” not because we agree.

Before Facebook, I could pretend that the people I thought cared about me, actually cared. I didn’t have to wonder why someone I grew up with never comments on my posts, or why they act like I don’t even exist online. If I called and got your vmail and you never called back…I knew to let it go.

Before Facebook, men were men and women were women. However ‘wrong’ society might feel our actions to be, the consequences were ours alone to endure. We didn’t have memes telling us that traditional gender roles are outdated and that we’re somehow wrong if we feel that men should still do these sorts of things and women should do these sorts of things. And before Facebook, if a couple didn’t adhere to gender roles…great…they’ll work it out between them and live a happy life.

And on that note, before Facebook, I knew that my wife worked hard. That her full-time job and the time she spends with the kids often goes unremarked upon. But then, the same could be said of me. I didn’t need a women’s group pointing out how much money I should spend ensuring my wife gets spa treatments or nights out with the girls, while ignoring the fact that I work 10 hour days (incl. commute), come home many nights and cook dinner or bathe kids (or go straight to the ball field) and still do all the many other things required to keep a house from falling down around us.

Before Facebook, no one was constantly pointing out every woman’s successes and demonizing the efforts of men. Sure, maybe there wasn’t absolute gender equality in every facet of life, but we were surely moving in that direction on our own and everyone was benefitting from it.

Before Facebook, I didn’t feel guilty not evangelizing my faith. I’d come to grips with that the fact that I’m more a “James the lesser,” than a John the Baptist and was fairly confident that my sincere belief in God would suffice to qualify me for a seat in heaven, rather than the works that I did here on earth trying to convince others that free will should be trumped by fear or guilt.

Before Facebook, if I didn’t want to purchase a used pooch from the animal shelter, no one made me feel horrible about buying a bred-for-the-family dog from a reputable breeder.

But Facebook takes all of these things…all the things that makes life, life and it makes you feel like you’re wrong for living it your way, while trying its darned best to ensure that you live it “their” way. And that’s wrong. It’s OK if you want to surround yourself with others who live and love and feel as you do and you shouldn’t feel as if every time you look at Facebook, you have to defend yourself or your actions or feelings to someone else just because they post some strongly worded comment or picture-story that has 3,000 Likes from some international agency of change.

So I’m OK letting it go. No more will I be ruled by hurt feelings just because people didn’t agree with my posts. Likely, Facebook just didn’t show it to that many people anyway. It’s playing with our feelings and our lives and I’m quite through with it.

I’m OK without Facebook.

My happy place doesn’t involve midgets, grammas or blondes in lingerie

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image I envy people with good children like I envy the obscenely rich and their crack-addict washboard abs. That is to say that, I would probably smoke crack (do you smoke it?) if it meant I could have abs like the stars. Which means, there’s little I probably wouldn’t do to have kids that minded me, that didn’t throw fits if they couldn’t watch Scooby Doo at 6 a.m.; that didn’t scream and wail in the car seat after an hour, and who didn’t sulk like I just tanned their hides with daddy’s narrow leather belt each time we tried to get them to go to church where we hope to both introduce them to other “Godlike” chilldren and perhaps get a little Jesus in the process. I dunno, lofty goals perhaps.

It’s no secret that I feel that raising children is something best left for the likes of Mother Teresa, or perhaps even Gandhi (that is, if Gandhi hadn’t lived in abject poverty), who seem capable of meeting even the most vile of situations with an outward calm that–I personally believe–likely hid an inner desire to pick up a stick and beat the crap out of the other person. But they LOOKED calm and that’s what matters.

Anyway, CareerMom and I, until this past year, have been the only ones of her six other brothers and sisters who have reared boys. Everyone else–girls. And while yes, there was drama, there was never any of the problems we’ve lived through. For instance, remember the Infamous beach vacation of ’07 (Part 1 and Part 2), well, while everyone else was upstairs with their darling little girls having a grand old time, we were downstairs with two exhausted boys, including one baby who wouldn’t stay asleep for more than 15 minutes at a time–each time waking up and screaming at the top of his lungs.

The other siblings, and to a large part even both CareerMom and my parents, have never understood our reluctance to travel. They don’t live through the sleepless nights, the miserable car trips, etc., that we go through each time just to make someone else happy. (On a sidenote, I have since learned to not give a rat’s butt what anyone else wants. If I don’t want to go, I don’t go. CareerMom is optional. Life is too short to be miserable.)

This all changed with the birth of a boy to CareerMom’s  next oldest sister. She had a boy. And not just any boy..a HOSS of a boy. In the past year CareerMom and I have sat back and grinned as her sister has regaled the family with his latest exploits and most recently, when her family took a trip to South Carolina, I couldn’t wait to copy CareerMom on her sister’s FaceBook update that said,

“…just stopped at a random park in NC to give the kids a break from the car…we got to take a miniature train ride!”

This may seem minute to you, but I also happen to know that he’d been cranky in the car a good bit of the trip, so for them to stop…well, that’s just a little bit of Gold in my book!

Shall I apologize for finding solace in another’s misery? Should I feel bad that someone else is finally understanding–even if just a wee bit–what CareerMom and I have been trying to explain to others for five years? Maybe so, but I won’t!

And here in just two short months, we’ll have a little girl around the house and I PRAY, OH Dear Lord, I PRAY, that we get one of those darling little sleepers and not another personality like the last two. I’m not sure I can take another six months of colic!