IntrepidWoman's Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

Banishng Facebook from my daily life on November 2nd has made me mentally more contented and relaxed and has changed my thoughts to be more positive and creative. It was hard at first but each day has been easier. I have broken the addiction. I have cleansed my mind.

Up next, my body. History: obese entire adult life, pre-diabetic, hypertension, lupus (in remission but working insidiously behind the scenes), fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis in knees, hips, lower back and right ankle, neuropathy in feet and legs, and cancer twice, resulting in radical hysterectomy and removal of thyroid. Imagine what I am costing the health system!

Four days ago, I began a Reboot, made famous by Joe Cross, who juiced his way across the US for 60 days in 2010, losing 80 lbs and ending up off all medications for a serious autoimune illness. His documentary about his journey is called “Fat, Sick and Almost Dead”. His website talks about juice fasting for periods of 3, 5, 15, 30 and 60 days.

For a few weeks now I have been juicing one meal per day, usually breakfast, and eating mostly fresh foods, not processed. Last week I upgrated to a more efficient juicing machine which increased liquid output by almost 100%. Much research has gone into juicing, types of juicers, Joe Cross and his website RebootWithJoeCross. It is the teacher in me. I needed to know all the facts.

I was finally ready to do an actual reboot where nothing is comsumed except fresh juices, water, coconut water and herbal tea. I chose 3 days because that seemed doable. (Note: purchased bottled juices are not good as they have added sugar and preservatives.)

I have never purchased an IPad app, but have downloaded many free ones. For this reboot, I purchased Joe’s Reboot app and it was awesome! For $6.99, I was able to input daily weight, nutrition, exercise, how I was feeling, etc. and any negatives were met with instant tips to counter the issue. It also contained juice recipes, progress charts and shopping lists. I just finished my first 3 day Reboot and lost 8 lbs! All info is kept in the app and I can easily add many more reboots.

This is not a fad diet. It is a quick way to fill your body with micronutrients and cleanse your internal systems. Doctors and nutritionists agree.  I could quickly gain back that weight in no time by eating processed foods and going back to bad habits.

The hardest part is after a reboot, which Joe discovered as well. North America is fat and sick because of processed foods found in grocery stores and drive-thru ‘quick and dirties’. Meals that heat in a few minutes contain very few nutrients and a whole lot of chemicals. People on the hamster wheel of life like these convenience foods because time is limited in their busy lives, BUT: there are more chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, autoimmune illnesses and cancers since how and what we eat has changed over the last 50+ years. These conditions are being found in children as well in the last few years. Also, food producers are using ever-increasing amounts of chemicals, antibotics, plastics, preservatives, and poisons in the raising of animals and crops for consumption. It truly is scary.

The documentation is available that proves all this, but people generally dismiss all the facts. Joe Cross and others have proven by example that the healthiest foods are fresh, not processed and that a diet of mostly vegetables and fruits with minimal dairy and meat meals (fish, chicken, beef, preferablly organic) per week can change lives by improving health and extending life expectancy.

Studies of eating habits around the world show very little disease and obesity where plants are the main diet. Industrialization has been our downfall!

So, here are my facts. Since I began to eat healthier, plant-based, fresh and not processed foods, I have lost 35 lbs in 4.5 months. My blood pressure meds have been cut in half, my AC1 test for blood sugar is below the pre-diabetic range now and my energy level has increased 100%.

I have found a local farm that grows vegetables and brings in BC fruits that were not grown with chemicals and pesticides. I try to buy organic in stores where available.  Also, no more caffeine (coffee), diet pop and artificial sweeteners for me. If it does not contain nutrients, my body doesn’t need or want it.

My final BUT: I am not on a diet; I have changed my eating habits. I still eat in restaurants once in a while, choosing the healthiest items on the menu, I still enjoy a piece of homemade apple pie when I make one for a family dinner, and a visit to Dairy Queen a couple of times in the summer will still happen, just not every hot day. I wont indulge in pop or chips because they have no nutrition whatever in them, and that seems like a waste to me. And when I fail, as people do, I will get right back up, dust myself off and do a Reboot. It is called eating to live, and I want to live long enough to dance at my grandchildren’s weddings.

In summary, I am finished with Facebook and fast foods. I call that Freedom.

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In my experience, Facebook is an addiction. I deactivated my FB page 3 days ago and it has been an eye-opener. For the rest of day one, I continually stopped to check FB and experienced frustration that it was gone. For the next two evenings, I did not know what to do with myself so ended up knitting, reading a news site briefly, and going to bed earlier that most nights previously.

On day 2, I made a list of things that needed done and accomplished every single one that day! Before, I would make a list and take at least a week to accomplish it as hours swept away while I was in front of my IPad. Evenings often turned into early mornings; sometimes I would not go to bed before 2 AM and then sleep in the next day. The last 2 nights I have been tired from being active, and have gone to bed instead of sitting in front of the computer. It makes early mornings so much easier and days so much more productive!

I cannot get back the many hours that I have spent on Facebook since I retired at the end of August in 2014, but I can move forward into creative, exciting and gratifying accomplishments from this point onward.

In the last 3 days I have been knitting, volunteered to accompany my grandson’s class to the local museum to learn about immigration in early Lethbridge and southern Alberta, helped the class on another day to learn to knit so they can take part in a yarn bombing for a local festival coming up near the end of the month, shredded a lot of paperwork and cleaned out some bins from my move that were stacked in the closet for a rainy day, AND completed a list of ‘things to do’ that had been hanging around for several days.

I still want to check Facebook, when I get up, when I am eating a meal, and anytime I am not doing something. I miss the people, I think. Maybe not. A lot of them were like me, posting several times a day to show photos, put up quotes and describe daily activities. These are people I do not spend real time with. They are only in my life through FB. The few who are my ‘real’ friends will still be in contact by phone and we will still get together in person to share tidbits about our lives.

The online draw may be the convenience of being part of a community, even while wearing your pjs, and not having to make the effort to go out into the real world. Like most addictions, it begins slowly, and before you realize it, you need your ‘fix’ more often until it dominates your life. Sounds extreme, but think about it.

I made the pledge to deactivate for 30 days. I am only 3 days into it. I know I will make the 30 days, but I wonder if I will want to go back to being active on FB on December 2nd. I kind of hope not.

I have 27 days left to create a real life! My right-brain, creative side is hollaring, “You go girl!” My left-brain, analytical side is moaning, “Life is scary. FB is easier.”

The challenge has begun!

Change in life is constant. Our journey has forks in the road; we constantly have people enter and leave our lives as we trudge along through time. We move, we change jobs, (and sometime partners) and do our best to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Each of our paths is unique, but is filled with valleys and mountain tops. Life is often hard; we experience pain, loneliness and sorrow. Life is also glorious, filled with joy, love, and hope. If it was not for the valleys, could we really appreciate the mountain tops?

For me, retirement has been one of the biggest changes in my life. I moved through the adult years as a single parent struggling to juggle family and finances and finally stepped off the hamster wheel 21 days after my 66th birthday. My first year after was spent just recovering from life’s hectic pace. I was so exhausted!

Now in my second year, I am on a journey to cleanse my body and become the best I can be. Chronic illnesses have plagued me for many years. After a near-death experience in February 2013, and the recent realization that my life expectancy is not way into the future, I have taken control of my physical self.

First thing was to research to find out why there is so much chronic disease, obesity, and early deaths due to so many cancers and the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes. It all comes back to what we eat and the amount of exercise we get. Desk job + processed foods in the stores and quick-and-dirty drive-thru meals all add up to an unhealthy life style. Research has proven it. There is lots of data out there. Nothing new here, but changing it however, is not easy. We live on treadmills. Ours lives are super busy. We are raising our kids to be super busy as well and in between work and chauffering kids to lessons, we are thankful for the chicken nuggets and drive-thru coffee.

It is life. It is how it is. It has evolved over time to this. I have the privilege now, in the winter of my life, to make big changes and it is going well. My taste buds have changed after a few months of eating fresh foods, juicing vegetables and fruit daily, riding an exercise bike and taking yoga and NIA. I rarely eat bread products and have sworn off processed meats and most processed foods. Research has helped me locate locally grown and raised food where I live. Life is good. My energy is through the roof. Physically, I feel better every day.

But… Isn’t there always a but? My poor brain continues to suffer from information overload. Easy access to social media fills my head daily with the horrors of murders and natural disasters. The provincial and federal elections this year were full of hateful statements and images. I have witnessed how abuse and bullying are alive and growing on the internet.

So, what to do about it? I get up, have my hot lemon water and turn on my computer to Facebook, then read emails, then news sites. I end the day the same way. I check in during the day when I am at home. (At least when I worked, I could only do it in the morning and at night.) Some of what I see is good. I like pictures of ex-students and their families and seeing how their lives are unfolding. I enjoy posts from long-time friends and knowing what is going on at Jack’s school and in my neighborhood. Facebook has become the window to my retired life, but I have been sitting in front of it way too much, reading about other people’s lives instead of living my own.

The elements of negativity in social media are pulling me down, mentally and spiritally. As I gain energy and improve my physical self, my mental self is deteriorating.

My addiction to social media is keeping me from real-life experiences. It is time to do something about that. Tucked into my fleece sheets last night, trying to clear my head and go to sleep, I decided to go off Facebook for a month. If I can learn to love vegetables over chocolate, surely I can learn to love real people interactions over FB interactions. There is much more to me than being a Facebook troll!

I am going to deactivate my account today. For 30 days. I would like to never go back, but time will tell. Just as I crave a little chocolate once in a while and hope to learn to eat it in moderation some day, my desire is to limit FB to maybe once a week for only for a few minutes. Maybe I could eat a piece of chocolate when I check Facebook? I would have to turn it off when the chocolate is gone. Lofty goal! Better to say I could drink a freshly-made vegetable juice while I check FB for a few minutes once a week.

I will be back on December 2nd to check in. Wish me luck. I will have 30 days to make art, interact with real people and connect more strongly to my Higher Power. I will still have email, but I think Messenger will be gone with FB.

Now I am going to make my vegetable juice, and while I sip it, read Facebook, then press ‘Deactivate’. The rest of the day will be an exciting, blank canvas!

It is all about finding balance in one’s life, as well as living it to be our very best! Every single day.

Canada just had a very long and very painful federal election process. It is a relief to have it end. There is a FB photo out recently of the new and the old leaders hugging, which is wonderful, but unfortunately, there have also been FB casualties.

The question I ponder today: why are people so mean on social media, to the point of violence? I have witnessed countless images that degraded political leaders, spewed hatred and showed violence. The worst was a photo of the leader of our country sitting in a chair and his head exploding into bloody pulp. Come on! Really?

Whatever did he do that caused so much anger? I see the same anger directed at the American president, including hate-filled comments towards him when he has nothing to do with the situation being discussed!

Social media scares me. It is infested with hate-mongers, bigots and bullies. They see nothing wrong with threatening violence, name-calling, bashing peoples intelligence and integrity.

Is it because I am old and just not receptive to the current total freedom of self-expression?

I am writing this post because I did something I never thought I would ever do. I believe in free speech and the value of everyone’s opinions, but I blocked two people from FB, one during the election and one right after.

During all the hate-filled comments against the Prime Minister, I posted a positive photo/info about him and was lambasted with cutting, rude words on my page that stated I was ridiculous and ignorant to think he was a good leader. In shock, I deleted the comment, then deleted the person. I can forgive many things, including his swearing and rants about how hard life is, but I hold strong my democratic privilege of freedom of speech. Say what you want, but don’t bad-mouth on my page!

Alas, after it was all over and I was relieved to have the negative stuff in the past, another person decided to state that a local candidate won because “aging boomers with their religiosity HANDED her the seat. People who are narrow-minded and suffer SEVERE memory loss.” A friend of the poster challenged this by stating she had voted for this person and found it insulting that hard working people who build this country were being put down.  The original poster said she “was not insulting our elders”, but the person still “got the vote by default.”

I could not contain myself, which is proof that I need to get off FB for either a good, long time or forever! I responded by stating the person “got the win by receiving the majority of votes from people of all ages in the riding” and stated that the writer was “insulting boomers who have been around a lot longer” (than her) “and we do have brains and far more experiences with life and politics! ‘Narrow minded’ and ‘suffering from memory loss’ = totally insulting!” My rant included “The people have spoken in this fine democracy and it is time to get back to working hard at making an honest living, paying forward with good deeds, and showing love and respect for our fellow humans!” Of course she took offence. To me, that is a bully. When someone stands up to a bully, they get louder, but eventually go away. I did not wait. I unfriended her to make her go away.

So, now I sit and ponder the whole thing. Am I terrible for standing up for my beliefs? Her statements were on her own page, so I did not have the right to comment, but isn’t that what everyone does, comment? We tell people how awesome their new image is, how incredible their holiday sounds and how cute their kids are.

I guess the rules change during an election and also when the discussion is about religion. Religion and politics. They say we should never discuss those two things. What is the third thing we should not discuss? Sex? I can’t remember. Maybe because I am a senior.

I am a baby boomer, after all with “severe memory loss”, at least according to an ex-FB friend. Sigh!

Facebook has done more than reconnect out of touch people and create a cyber world, that for some, has become more important than their real world. It is a place to put it all out there, good and bad – talk about how rotten or perfect your spouse is, and how awesome your children are. It is a place to show with photos the over-the-top spending at Christmas time and trips to warm places. It is the ‘look at me, I have more than you do and I can prove it with a bazillion photos’ place.

We also share when our houses will be empty because we are going away. We tell where we live and where we work to total strangers.

Some people feel the need to announce how many lattes they have consumed today, how they are yet again surviving until Friday, what they ate for lunch and how lucky they are to have what others have not. Some days it is exhausting. Why do we feel this need to share our lives so deeply with people who we do not spend time with and never see and probably forgot about until they found us or we found them on FB?

We certainly learn a lot about each other though. The intimate sharing shows us the person who never has anything positive to say, the one who thinks the world is conspiring against him/her and those who live on soap boxes for causes 24 hours a day when their own lives are less than stellar.

It is a place to shout your beliefs, run down politicians and your boss/workplace, dislike your neighbor and those you work with. I wonder about all that ‘stuff’ we put out there now that is going to bite us in the butt in the future. Jobs can be lost and relationships destroyed because of Facebook. Really. No, really.

But there is an eery new thing happening lately. People are talking to the dead on Facebook. They put lengthy comments on FB pages of the deceased, talking to them as if they are still here. I read one the other day wishing the person who had passed away two months ago a happy birthday! What? What do you mean, ‘Have a great day’? Are you thinking these people have passed but are still connected to their Facebook pages? You don’t continue having birthdays after you die! You would have had another birthday if you had lived! Reading “Have a great birthday”on a deceased person’s site is so weird!

In memorium pages are different. They eulogize the person and those left behind share memories and photos. That makes sense. It is the talking to the deceased as if they are checking their email daily after death that is kind of freaky. It is becoming more and more common. Talking to them as if their lives continue, but in another dimension that is connected to FB.

Can you picture all these souls milling around in the afterlife, the unknown zone out there, still reading their FB pages? Strange and a bit weird. No. A whole lot weird.

I like the new timelines because we are able to look back at our FB histories, all the way back to when we first signed on. We can see all the comments, photos, and shared items. Our past posts are spread out before us, like in an album or scrapbook. Ever think you might have changed your mind about something you expressed 3 years ago? Oops. It remains out there. Forever.

Nothing is off-limits on FB. Nothing. That is scary. If you can think it, you can put it on Facebook.

More importantly, Facebook, the organization, will have so much intimate information on millions of people, neatly organized! The implications of that should make us stop and think before we put another thing on our pages.

When I downloaded my timeline, I went through everything, deleting information and photos. I decided to do this after thoughts about a total stranger who became a follower on my blog a few months ago. When I checked him/her out at the time, I had an uneasy feeling about their character and integrity. I realized I was sharing some intimate thoughts with a stranger who was giving me bad vibes. Yikes.

We are all doing that with our FB pages. It is not just a couple of friends flipping thru your photo album and laughing over high school escapades or enjoying cute stories about the kids. We are laying it all out there for total strangers to see and learn about us and those near and dear to us.

Do you not find that a little unnerving? Almost as unnerving as messaging those who have passed away as if they are still sitting at their computers?

If I have more than one alcoholic drink, I am asleep in the corner. Many years ago, I was married to an alcoholic who could party all night, won the at-party award for funniest stand-up comedian when drinking and who asked what was wrong with me because I did not have the same stamina. He was funny, but he was drunk and often.

I do have an addictive personality however, and it has come to the surface in many forms other than alcohol. The latest is Facebook. This world of connecting with people you’d lost track of and then following their posts of what they ate for breakfast and who they are ticked off at today had become my world.

It started innocently enough. I signed up, found people from my past and delighted in catching up with their lives.  Then I was spending long evenings just hanging on-line, commenting here and there and even checking for updates as soon as I got up in the morning. After each day in the work world, I would unlock that front door at home and head straight for the computer. Between cooking, cleaning, watching a tv show, I would gravitate back to the computer, checking my email, then FB.

It all seemed innocent enough because it was a gradual slide into this obsession. One day I realized how ridiculous it was. Ninety of those ninety-eight people are not part of my real life. I am not going to make the effort to visit them, nor will they likely ever visit me. I really don’t give a rat’s tail that “R” had a busy day and wishes it was the weekend, or that another “R” is sitting in a cafe having a ‘Mucho Grando Poopo, extra-large’, or that “M”‘s daughter is beyond awesome in the school operetta.

So, what have I been doing on there? Standing on my own soapbox, in front of a sea of faceless computer screens, I have been sharing MY anecdotes about life and family. Do those ninety-eight people care that my grandkids are beyond cute and smart or that I have a new drama of the week in my life? A few people, my A list, take time to comment, as I do on their updates.

But Facebook should be like that one drink, occasional and just a brief encounter. As an addiction for me, it had gone too far.

Since the beginning of my FB journey, I have suffered the massive sharing of materialistic opulence at Christmas, the constant wishing it was Friday, the complaints against lazy husbands, bad hockey and more snow. I witnessed a one-day event that continued on FB for well over a year and an emotionally charged group who began in-fighting over a local news event.

I saw people at their worst and people at their best. I presented myself at my worst and maybe at my best (debatable), but I am finally finished. I have de-activated my account.

The first few days were difficult. I wanted to constantly ‘check’ what was happening on FB. I held back, saying I would stay off for a week, and what a week it was! I got so many other things accomplished! I read an awesome book, did household purging and thought about other things besides FB and its ‘peeps’.

I finally did check in on day 7. I had missed a few hundred posts. My mouse scurried through them. Same old, same old. I was let down and elated at the same time. Then I deactivated my account again and will attempt a 2 week hiatus this time. My goal – to either close my page for good or only drop in once a month.

In all fairness, I do miss the ‘friends’ who wrote with wit and gave me a daily laugh. I miss “P” and “S” whose anecdotal stories about their children were delightful, and “L” who is a born writer and expecting her first child with so much joy and gratitude after a long struggle to get pregnant. I miss “S” who tells stories of his escapades teaching in Asia.

In two weeks, I will go back to FB and find out what these few are up to, but I will not go back full-time. I have things to do and important decisions to make about my own life, and I want my free time to be exactly that, free, not attached to my FB page.

BTW – I found a FB addiction site on-line. People were expressing similar sentiments as mine, but I decided not to join. Everyone there had transferred their addiction from FB to this new site.

What is it? I googled Facebook Etiquette and did not find much, after I was told by a friend that I had breached it. I think they felt uncomfortable about my personal sharing on this blog, but isn’t that an individual preference? What I share is up to me. It did not affect another person; it was about me.

After reading what was out there about etiquette however, I chose to trim my friend list a lot and to change my focus on Facebook. I probably should trim my friends right down to a handful if I am going to be upfront and personal, but I will leave it up to the rest to dump me or keep me as they see fit. My feelings wont be hurt if I am dumped. I am a big girl! (Actually, according to 4-year-old Michael, I am a princess who wears Crocs.)

Seems to me the rule is, there are no rules. As long as you do not put up embarrassing photos of others, tag people who don’t want to be tagged, change your relationship status without consulting the other person, fight with others openly out in FB land, say anything hateful or derogatory about others, what else is there in the way of rules?

Two people I know say that FB is “evil” and say they want no part of it, yet they seem to know what I write on it. Interesting and humorous. If you don’t like it then get off it. I have freedom of speech and I use it, as those who read this have noticed, ha! ha!

I especially like my friends on FB who have this same philosophy. They vent with passion and pleasure and we all comment on each other’s rants. It is especially nice in the middle of the night, like right now, when I have insomnia so badly.

Part of hyperthyroidism is this insomnia and I cannot do anything about it. I also cannot do anything about the right-eye twitch that has recently developed from this condition and is very irritating and embarrassing in the middle of a staff meeting. I have to sit there with my finger pressed into the corner of my eye to stop the twitching. Then I have to switch fingers. Nice.

I wait with eager anticipation for a surgery date to cut out this little organ that is covered with ‘C’ lumpies and causing distress in my life. I read up on thyroid cancer and thyroid surgery tonight to get out of the fear zone and into the knowledge zone.

Years ago when I was diagnosed with lupus and very little was known about it, I went to the Calgary Lupus organization and the Foothills Hospital medical library and photocopied everything they had available as well as purchased books written by doctors on the topic. (One interesting one was called “The Sun is My Enemy”, written by a doctor who was diagnosed with lupus.)

Within weeks I had a large binder full of info, divided into categories of how lupus affects different organs in the body. The health unit in my home town actually asked to borrow my binder at one point and photocopied (again) all the info I had so as to help others who were being diagnosed.

With knowledge comes power and hands-on involvement in treatment. I need the expertise of doctors but want to be involved in my treatment. Nothing worse than blindly trusting a physician and worrying about what he/she is doing or deciding to do. The only doctor I blindly trust is my GP in Bellevue because I went to high school with him! Yet I have been known to argue with him too. I do bow to his expertise most of the time.

I have to shower, go to work and function like a normal human being in a few hours, even though I am sleep-deprived. Sheesh! I will just point towards the end of the day when I drive into the city to see all three of my gorgeous grandkids together for a few hours. Because they live in different cities, it does not happen that often and when it does, it gives me the highest of pleasure. I truly love to see them all together.

I am reading “Eat, Pray, Love” at the moment and not liking it much. In my opinion, which means very little, the author is totally self-centred and so wrapped up in self-gratification that she seems to care little about others. Of course I am still in the early stages of the story, so should not form such a strong opinion so soon . . . I guess if I end up disliking the book by the end, I will go to the movie and live the story of finding the perfect life through Julia Roberts and her hunky Italian.

Oh if life was like the movies! Here I am, on Facebook, all wrapped up in myself, but with no Italian hunk waiting in the wings. What I do have is fascinating, funny and feisty friends, an awesome, supportive family and a job that is Fun!  Okay. I win!




Historically Speaking

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