People Reached

The Virtue of Being a Private Person II: Giving Up Facebook and Social Media and Living a Quiet Life

giving up social media and being a private person

Once upon a time, I posted about being a private person and how I felt good living that kind of life.  Well, my life was not always private.  I have posted quite a bit about my own life, especially after my wife and I had our daughter.  We felt compelled, almost required to share our life with others.  Shortly after my wife gave birth, we moved far from family, and one year later, moved to Ukraine from the west coast of the United States.  Before my daughter was born, we were told, "now that you are having a baby you have to be on Facebook."  We gave in and went back to Facebook after over a year away.  And this blog kind of fell by the wayside.

Since our daughter has been born we have lived and traveled all over the world.  And, most of the time, we have been on Facebook and Instagram, sharing our journey with everyone who wanted to take a look.  Some enjoyed our posts, others didn't care, and at least one was irate at how we lived our lives.  But, the big question is: Did any of it bring any happiness?  

social media emotional drain infographic

Did it make me feel good to be a public person?  I thought so at the time.  I honestly thought I enjoyed sharing the images of us traveling to exotic locales and publishing my accomplishments for all to see.  It felt good because everyone seemed to be doing it, and at times I felt that I was doing it even better than others.  At times, it got to be too much and I left for a few weeks, but always came back, as I felt bad for not sharing my daughter with those who we left behind years ago.  I felt that I was missing out if I didn't share the pictures of the places we were visiting and showing our little girl growing up to family and friends on social media.  

In early 2020 we embarked on a trip to India followed by a month in Nepal and then the pandemic hit.  We flew to Kyiv, Ukraine.  There we began a new life as the world shut down.  I wondered if I would ever look at the world the same way again.  Facebook and Instagram immediately lost their luster.  There was nothing interesting or exciting to share.  Sure, I was in Ukraine again, which was really interesting, but I felt that life had stopped.  I was not the only person who felt this way.  Many of the people that I followed on Instagram were posting travel pictures, but they kept saying that they were "doing the right thing and staying home" and that they were merely sharing "old pictures."  It seemed so pointless to me.  The desire to travel left me and I started to desire something different in life.  I started to desire my own place in the world and some peace and quiet after all the sharing of our lives on the internet for the past six years.

As the world began to open up again we moved to Dnipro, Ukraine.  I never really thought much about living here, but that was where we were placed to teach and I thought it would be a nice change.  During my time in Kyiv, I knew that I needed to make huge life changes.  I wanted to rearrange how I lived life and to think of life in a different way.  I began to read a lot, learn new skills, and focus on thinking in new ways.  I knew that there was one thing that I wanted to get rid of, and that was how much I was using social media.  


woman on the rooftop, looking out over the city

After moving to Dnipro, I felt such peace.  I felt like I did before our daughter was born -- when my wife and I had our own place in the world far from anyone in our families.  Life was quiet again.  I knew virtually nobody here.  I had not felt this way since I started law school in Massachusetts in 2010.  It was strangely beautiful.  Part of me wanted to share it, but a bigger part of me didn't.  The bigger part of me wanted to keep it quiet, live my life as a private individual, and not go on Instagram or Facebook and share pictures.  This is my new life, and I see no need to share it with the world.  It feels more beautiful that way.  

Many people are under the impression that you have to do what everyone else in the world is doing in order to have a happy life.  I don't think that's the case.  I have come to learn that some entities want you to think everyone is doing the same thing, but there are a lot of people who are living life on their own terms.  If you don't feel the want to share your entire life with the world, don't do it.  At least consider taking a break from it and enjoying life for what it is.  Go out to dinner and don't take a picture.  Go to a park and enjoy the scenery without checking Facebook.  Enjoy a beautiful sunset and tell yourself you won't take a picture (at least to post).  Try it and see if you can do it.  Can you have one amazing day or take one vacation and not post about it on social media?  People have for centuries.  Try it.  

the closed door - your life doesn't need to be an open door for the world

There is a virtue in being a private and quiet person.  There is beauty in silence and simplicity.  What will you gain from being loud and proud on the internet?  Is that better than a quiet and peaceful life where you can hear your mind and not be bombarded by the constant remarks on your life?  Why curate your day to day for the rest of the world to view?  Once upon a time, people used to go deep into the forest or mountains for rest, relaxation, and renewal.  Yet, now we live in a louder world than ever before.  Why do we choose this?  Why not take a break for a while and see how you feel?  For many, such a task seems arduous.  It seems almost unthinkable in this modern age to take time off of social media.  It's like cutting a life support system.  People write about how they barely could take a week off, and if they took a year off, it's seen as some great feat of strength.  There's no reason that you should have to brag about taking a year or two off Facebook.  It's as if it's not normal to be away from that site.  It's as if you believe that you will miss out on living life if you are not on social media all the time.  Believe me, that's not the case.  Life is best lived with those around us.  The world is more beautiful when you take the time to enjoy it for what it is.  It changes, people change, we grow, and life goes on.  Embrace life for what it is.  

Comments

Popular Posts