Over a month ago, on a Friday evening, I logged off Facebook knowing that it would be a while before I would read another post or wish someone happy birthday on their wall. I wasn’t leaving Facebook forever, but I knew it was going to take a big commitment to pull away from the Facebook magnet for even 40 days.
I was inspired and intrigued by a book written by Chicago resident Ryan G. Beale called Forty Days off Facebook: A Pivotal Journey, in which he signed off Facebook for 40 days to journal his experience during a time of hardship in his life. For him, Facebook had been a “source of anxiety, addiction, sadness, joy, voyeurism, stress, and exhibitionism.” So as I read his book, I decided that for each day I took off from Facebook, I would read the same day’s journal entry in his book. The first days were full of reminders that 39 days would follow, etc., and I felt a bit stranded myself. Around Day 20, I let go of that nagging feeling and began to witness a life without Facebook. Without Facebook, I felt less dependent: I was able to go through my days living my own life without needing to follow someone else’s life.