10 Days Without Facebook

I’m interrupting my blog series about “The Raft is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward A Buddhist-Christian Awareness” by Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan to do a quick update on how things are going since I stopped going to Facebook. Well, I mostly stopped going to Facebook. In the last ten days I’ve logged on twice for less than five minutes each to see if I had any new messages. I scanned my notifications to see if there was anything particularly important (there wasn’t) and I didn’t even look at my newsfeed. Facebook is a great way to communicate one-on-one, so I’m checking it weekly to instruct people to email me if they’ve reached out to me that way.

So, how is this little experiment in anti-social networking going? Pretty good, but it isn’t without struggles.

First, the good. I am being WAY more productive. In the last ten days, I have blogged every day, meditated every day, gone on a run every day (for a total of 42 miles), finished reading five books, practiced yoga 8 times, scheduled my first therapist appointment and set up an interview with a possible life coach. I’m also considerably happier, am sleeping better, drinking less, eating better, and communicating better with my partner. I don’t think all these benefits really come from not wasting time on Facebook, I think it is more of a mental thing. I would always feel grumpy, exhausted, and combative when on Facebook, but like any addiction, I kept going back for a little fix, a little dopamine shot. I would scan the timeline hoping to see something, anything of value and then keep scanning because I was sure there must be something worth seeing just down the page. I would read people’s comments and get annoyed, and see news articles that are highlighting all the negative things in the world that are outside of my control. It was truly toxic to me and I am doing much better now that I’ve cut it out.

Now, the bad. I am kind of lonely. A significant part of my social life was online and I don’t really have a lot of friends here. I do miss a lot of the support and intellectual stimulation I got from the private FB groups. My introversion/anxiety/shitty internal dialogue often prevents me from getting into situations where I will make friends or asking my friends if they want to grab a coffee. I think this negative aspect may become something positive though, without my online social fix I am more motivated to be more proactive in the meat-suit world to meet people. I’m going to check out a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or an obstacle course fitness class this week (not sure which one) and I am also really interested in volunteering with the local hospital. Hopefully, I’ll push out of my comfort zone now that I need to find a network to avoid being lonely (working from home has its downsides).

Additionally, Facebook is really the best place to share my writing and thoughts. I don’t think anyone really checks my blog unless I post it on Facebook (which is why I decided to log on in a few minutes and share this post… I understand the irony). If I am series about becoming a writer and creator then I need to act professionally, and that involves a level of advertising that doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe I can pay someone to log in to my account daily and share my posts or I can somehow use it without getting sucked into the negativity.

Anyway, that’s how my ten days are going. It has been a roaring success and I’m going to stick with it. I’ll probably report back at the end of the month with another update or when I have something professional to announce (hopefully, my podcast series will be done this month).

Until then, please feel free to reach out to me via non-Facebook means (see below).

Much love to you all.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/5292148
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

The Next Chapter

Since posting about my annual “failures” last week I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I want to move forward. By next July do I want to have accomplished the things I didn’t last year? Or are they things that are no longer important to me and I should quit? Are there other things I want to commit to accomplishing? Last year’s failures fell into six basic genres that each require a different response.

  • Author – My book isn’t an audiobook yet, but I can change that. Starting today, I am going to make this my priority. I’m going to record every single day until I have a recorded draft of the book. It may not be a perfect recording, but good now is better than perfect never. Once complete, I’ll listen to it (shudder), make any major changes or re-recordings, and then submit it to Audible. During this process, I will also be able to give my book another look for any potential edits. I will also start working towards “going pro”, which is going to require a shift in mindset as well as some practical changes in my life.
  • Fitness – I’m going to keep running daily and working out regularly. I think implementing a monthly “glutton weekend” can help prevent me from entering major periods of sloth. I’ve got an 8-week workout plan I’m using and this October I’m going to start seeing a personal trainer. I also have some running goals that will get me to the 100-mile run level. Oh, and I’m committed to a mountain climb next year which is motivating me to stay in shape so that I don’t die.
  • Finances – I’m getting into a pretty good groove when it comes to saving money and earning money. For the next year, I’m going to keep working on cutting out waste and increasing passive income to get to the point where I could stop working (I won’t because I love my job and the people I work with) and still maintain my lifestyle.
  • New Practices – I am not sure how to integrate new practices in my life that I know are valuable but I also find difficult. I never regret yoga or meditation or language practice after I accomplish them, but it is difficult to motivate myself to do them. I think part of the problem is that I’ve committed to too much and maybe I need to focus on just one thing to get into and prioritize it above all else. I need to jump into it first thing in the morning when my mental fuel tank is full and I’m less likely to justify skipping it. I don’t need a lot of mental energy for work, the gym, or running because I know I’m going to do those regardless of what other circumstances are going on, but by the end of the day it is difficult to get the mental energy together to do something like meditate, so I need to do it first thing in the morning (well… maybe after a cup of coffee)
  • Facebook – The biggest time and energy suck of them all. I’ve come to accept that I have a bit of an addiction and my use of it is generally unhealthy. I’m going to schedule reasonable time for Facebook (probably 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening) except when I am posting a blog post. I’m also going to only check Facebook Messenger once a day. I need to constantly ask myself “is what you are doing at this moment helping you accomplish your dreams?” and when it comes to Facebook the answer is almost always “No”. Sharing articles of interest and talking with people is great, but scrolling mindlessly or getting in stupid debates with people I’ve never met is a waste. I would be better off reading, writing, cooking, gardening, exercising, working, masturbating, yoga, cleaning, meditating, etc.
  • Vegan – I think I’ve found a workable solution to my temptation problem, at least for the situations in which I can prepare for. I’m going to start eating my largest meal of the day directly before going to places where temptation is going to be and I’m going to carry a bag of almonds with me. Hopefully, this will keep both my physical hunger and my psychological oral fixation at bay to provide support for my ethical strength.

So I guess that is where I stand for the next year. I’m not sure the exact path I’m going down for each of these goals, I imagine it will vary with each one and many of them will have a bunch of sub-goals and reward systems to help move me up the mountain. I wonder if it would be beneficial to break down a proposed system for each of these six sections, maybe I’ll do that tomorrow in another blog post. I find writing things out to be helpful but I don’t want “being busy” to replace “being productive”. Oh well, I guess I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.

I haven’t answered any questions or comments lately and would love to hear from you. So, if you’ve got a thought or question submit it to me anonymously at  www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH and I’ll respond.