I finally did it. I deleted my Facebook account. I’ve escaped!
It wasn’t easy, however. Not only did pictures of random friends appear, with the anguished (Facebook generated) message that they’d miss me, but I was required to give a reason. I ticked the box that said Facebook wasn’t useful to me, and immediately a whole lot of reasons why Facebook was useful to me popped up. One final hurdle; I was asked to log on in order to log out, but apparently my password was invalid. I tried and tried again but it was no go. After much swearing and general crossness, I decided to try changing my password. Well, the invalid password worked perfectly well this time; I made the change, logged in yet again and pushed the button. Ahhh… An extraordinary feeling of relief surged through me.
The week before I did this, I posted that in order to simplify my life, I was quitting. And while that is utterly and completely true, there is another other reason.
I’m just not a Facebook kind of person.
I found validation for my escape in a book by the American author and blogger, Gretchen Rubin. In 2009 she published a book called The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun.
Rubin started this on-line project not because she was unhappy – her personal and economic circumstances are, frankly, better than most and moreover, she absolutely knew it – but because she wanted to be happier in the life she was living. Each month, she chose an areas of her life such as marriage, parenthood, friendship, leisure and mindfulness – to explore. She thought and read and researched and made resolutions. And she kept a chart to track how well she kept those resolutions. The blog was a great success and turned into this book, and another – Happier at Home – published in 2012.
Now, this could be awfully twee and self-involved. Perhaps it is. I could also be critical of Rubin’s limitations. She’s not particularly adventurous; not curious about other cultures or religions; won’t try meditation; and is resolutely (that word again) her urban, middle-class, white, well-educated, professional, work-obsessed, routine-bound and somewhat obsessive, wholesome American self. But really, why ask her to be someone she’s not? And in fact, if I did a Happiness Project, it would actually be a lot like hers. I too struggle with impediments to happiness like impatience, cross moods and misguided perfectionism (and that’s only naming a few!) And I’m middle class etc etc And I’d like be happier in the life I’m living, too. And one thing I can start with is to imitate Rubin and create my own set of commandments.