|Alice in Wonderland - If I had a World of my own... |
By Brandon Christopher Warren
Remember life before Facebook? Yeah....remember that? I joined only 5 1/2 years ago and it now seems as if Facebook has always just been there.
It's kind of like, I don't know...the internet.
In 1996, just before I graduated high school (and at the time we took 5 years of high school here in Ontario, so I was 19 years old), our teacher took us into the computer lab to show us something. He pointed at one of the monitors that was displaying a simple text web page (although none of us had any clue what that was) and said "class, this is the internet."
Even from its most rudimentary days, email changed a lot of things and opened up social possibilities. It used to be that you would maintain (relative to today's standards) a small group of friends, acquaintances and relatives. When you were not within local phone calling distance, you would have to be fairly invested in a friend in order to maintain contact, either by paying expensive long distance phone bills, or by writing letters by hand. This was life as I knew it up until I was 19 years old.
For the first 6 or so years of life with the internet, I didn't use it much more than to keep in touch with friends and loved ones via email. These were the days of dial-up, when it could take upwards of 5 minutes just to email an attachment. Loading, reading, and replying to email was very time consuming and one could only get so much of it done in a given day.
Then in about 2003, my husband told me about these things called "blogs" a.k.a web logs. He signed up with Live Journal and started blogging. I thought it was silly at first. It didn't make any sense to me that a person would write an intimate account of his life on the internet. I had kept paper journals over the years and would never have dreamed of letting another person read them. After a while though, I caved to the pressure and opened my first blog on Live Journal. Thus began a large shift in my life toward having "online friends" and sharing a lot of my life on the internet.
Eventually we got high speed internet and that made communicating online even easier. I had my LJ friends and my message board groups and also was a part of a few Yahoo email groups. Then of course Facebook came along. Again, I had no idea how all-consuming "Facebooking" would become and how much a part of my daily life it would eventually be when I signed up in 2007. Through Facebook I made even more friends and many of them were re-acquaintances: people from my past with whom I may have never regained contact, were it not for Facebook.
In 2010 I became Orthodox and wanted to follow blogs of women who were similar to me. I found an Orthodox women's web ring and joined. Later I decided to open a whole new blog that reflected my Orthodox faith and stopped blogging on Live Journal. That is how this blog came to be. I have enjoyed blogging here immensely. I love writing and I love translating my thoughts and feelings into prose. If I could make my living by writing I would absolutely love it.
However, last year, my beloved husband found himself out of a job and I soon ended my own career as a stay-at-home mother and got myself a job that pays cash, as opposed to sticky kisses and crayon drawings. I have the marketable skill of being bilingual in a country that has two official languages and my family needed me to put it to use. It's been a good thing for me in many ways and the kids are older now and in school most of the time, so it's not too hard on everyone. The only thing is that I have very little time and energy to put into writing.
I am no longer a stay-at-home mom looking for a creative outlet. I have a job that keeps me very busy and pushes me to the limits of my abilities. It fulfils my desire to be challenged and then some.
So I am going to stop blogging indefinitely. I am going to stop spending time on Facebook indefinitely. I will keep both sites open, but will not be active on them. I will be reachable via email and will still get my Facebook email notifications if anyone is needing to reach me. If you want to contact me, just click on the "Message Me" icon, which links to my email. I obviously want to continue writing, but maintaining this blog is too time consuming for me right now (although, if you want to throw a writing gig my way, by all means do!).
I am going back to my imperfectly ordinary life. I'm going to write some letters by hand and read some books that have spines. I'm going to chat with people face to face and share my stories in a circle of friends, rather than a web ring. I'm going to keep in touch with people who are closest to me by putting in the necessary effort. My friends list will now be those to whom I send Christmas cards. Please do keep in touch and I will do my best to do the same, it just won't be in the form of status updates and "likes."
I am going to reclaim my life, pick up where I left off and (hopefully) recapture what I had and who I was before my online life began. Part of this is definitely based on a need to step away from what has become an unhealthy habit - to turn my eyes away from the screen, which in some ways is like a looking glass into which I narcissistically gaze far too many hours of each day. The other part is that I am in my mid-thirties and I need to move on with my life. I know there is more out there for me. This world-wide-web ended up being way smaller than I thought it was. The real world is far broader and holds the kinds of adventures I am now seeking.
Farewell for now, and may God bless you,