Library of Progress

What I Read in January

January 31, 2016
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I read a lot (obviously) but perhaps due to the volume, whenever someone asks me what I’ve read recently or if I have any recommendations, I have a very difficult time coming up with any titles beyond whatever my current read is. So I thought it would be fun to recount what I finished each month in hopes of cementing them in my memory a bit better. No links or plot summaries because y’all know perfectly well how to navigate to Amazon and type a book’s name into the search box. Here’s my two-cent reviews of what I read in January, listed in the order consumed.

Station Eleven Holy smokes, I could NOT put this down. Brief premise: A flu virus sweeps around the world, wiping out 99% of the global population within just a few days. I loved the way it flipped back and forth between 1) the initial aftermath and the survivors’ horrified realization that life as it had been was never, ever coming back, and 2) life as it had shaken out twenty years post-outbreak. I can’t decide which part I wanted EVEN MORE details on. At one point I did the math and thought, huh, 74 million people left, that still sounds like a lot to me, but in reality, it’s hardly any on a planet this size. That would be like if every single country in the world was decimated save for the United Kingdom. Anyway, it gave me lots to think about. I’m still thinking about it, obviously.

The Desire Map Experience: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul Not a whole lot to say about this. I have enjoyed several of Danielle‘s blog posts so I was excited to read this, but it didn’t hit the mark for me at all. Scattered and simplistic platitudes, and it’s a mess of 4-6 different fonts, sizes, and typefaces per page. Not a cohesive or absorbing reading experience, so I moved on.

Last Night in Montreal I picked this one up because I adored Station Eleven so much and wanted to read more of the author’s work. It wasn’t the same. I was downright depressed by so much spectacularly horrible parenting, and maybe I’m completely heartless, but my feeling is that if one’s already deeply idiosyncratic girlfriend bailed on a relationship after just three months, my initial reaction would be more along the lines of “whew, dodged a bullet there” rather than “better empty my life savings and pursue her all the way to another country in order to ‘make sure she’s okay.'” I later discovered that Last Night in Montreal was Emily St. John Mandel’s first novel, so I’ll definitely read anything that comes after Station Eleven but I don’t think I’ll be checking out any more of her earlier works.

Come Rain or Come Shine My grandma got me started on the Mitford series ages ago…high school or early college, maybe? An Episcopal priest living in small-town North Carolina would ordinarily sound precisely like Not My Kind of Book, but I borrowed my grandma’s copy of the first volume when I was visiting them on spring break and short of my own reading material for some reason. Back in the day, Jan Karon’s writing was truly laugh-out-loud hysterical and I loved them a lot. The overall quality of this series has declined over time but I keep reading, because, well, I’m invested now. This one led up to a long-anticipated wedding between two particularly beloved characters and I’m always a sucker for those, so it wasn’t a bad way to pass a handful of hours.

This is Where I Leave You I have no idea why I downloaded this one, as “dysfunctional family comes together and wacky hijinx ensue” is not exactly my favorite trope. I can get that any time I want in real life, thank you. But this one was hilarious. I was hooked from the very first chapter by the excruciatingly detailed (in a good way) description of what happened when the main character walked in on his wife having sex with his boss. On his wife’s birthday. And he’s holding his wife’s birthday cake. The main character’s father, although he wasn’t exactly present (having just died) reminded me a LOT of the Shit My Dad Says dad, and I liked that also.

French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure I was cleaning out a bunch of samples that have been living on my Kindle for ages, found the first chapter interesting enough, and it was available immediately through my library, so why not. I skimmed heavily at times, as it’s largely common sense advice. I’m not exactly in a stage of life at the moment that lends itself to the level of walking, shopping, cooking, and overall attention to food that she advocates, but I wasn’t overly vexed by the dichotomy as I read, it’s just a fact. I highlighted a few passages I found interesting, but nothing life-changing.

Attachments I “read” this one via Audible and, truthfully, I’ve actually been chipping away at it since November but only just finished this month. I had a really hard time getting into it, maybe because I was hearing the emails back and forth instead of reading them, and it took a lot of concentration to remember who was saying what. But exactly four hours in, it totally clicked and I could simply not stop listening. The ending was 100% worth the slow start.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do This was another audiobook, and it was read by the author, which I always enjoy. I first encountered this one while browsing at Target and was intrigued enough by the title to find out more. I believe it was originally published as an article and garnered enough attention and discussion that it was later expanded into a book. I was particularly interested in Amy Morin’s distinction between mental health vs. mental strength, which she discussed as two entirely different— related, of course, but separate — facets of a person. And Amy knows of what she speaks — her research is of course based on her work as a therapist, but also borne out through a fair amount of personal tragedy she went through in early adulthood, and she spoke frankly about it in the book’s introduction. One gem in particular that I’ve been musing on since I finished reading: “You’re only as good as your worst habit.”

Clutterfree with Kids — This book is is by the same guy who writes the Becoming Minimalist blog and is most definitely geared toward people who have not even begun their minimalism journey yet. As we are already fairly deep into maintenance mode, he was just preaching to the choir. My daughter is still at an age where it’s fairly easy for me to manage her belongings and”disappear” stuff as necessary (or prevent its entry into our house in the first place) to keep us from getting overwhelmed, so I was hoping for more practical tips for when she’ll inevitably gain more autonomy over her own things, and this just wasn’t it. Oh, well.

STATS
total: 9
abandoned: 1
loved: 5
meh: 4
print: 7
audiobook: 2

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Bullet-Pointed Life

January 25, 2016
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How are things? Here’s some stuff that’s new in my world lately.

– Project: Basement Cleanout is coming along very nicely. We spent about 3 hours on Phase 1 last Monday when we both had the day off, which included lugging several bags of trash and recycling to the curb and packing an entire SUV full of stuff off to Goodwill. Our remaining belongings still need to be organized somewhat and shelved neatly, but ALL of the trash and junk is now OUT, which feels huge. David said he was going to be “ruthless” and he totally WAS. I was so proud!

– For someone who has only been exposed to Spanish since last July, C’s impeccable pronunciation blows me away. I really wish I could hear more of all that she knows — I know it’s way more than she lets on — but she doesn’t speak it at home very often, despite my best attempts to engage her in conversation.

– Speaking of daycare, this week they are starting yoga classes with the toddler and preschooler rooms. I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about this and I cannot wait to see the pictures and videos that the director has promised she’ll be taking.

– C provided us our very own “life’s bleachable moment” this weekend. This one, to be exact. So gross, but also pretty hilarious, even in the moment. Fortunately by the time I arrived on the scene, she’d only really gotten one good dunk and swish in, so the cleanup wasn’t that bad.

– After two weekends in a row of subzero temps, it has since warmed up substantially (20s and 30s), so on Saturday morning C and I bundled up in our winter duds and went outside to play. We ended up at the makeshift skating rink at our neighborhood park, which absolutely fascinated her (“That’s amazing!” she said, gazing at it raptly). I pushed her across the ice on the sled for quite awhile, we held hands and shuffled around like penguins, good times were had by all. I guess we’ll need to get the two of us some skates now!

– At 2y3m, C is juuuust closing in on having enough hair for a the tiniest ponytail on the very top of her head. Until now she’s been living vicariously through other people’s hair. We spent quite a bit of time doing and redoing her ponytail and admiring it in the mirror on Saturday. I’m going to have to pick up some more of those minuscule elastics for her, preferably in really bright colors.

– We actually cooked dinners on Saturday and Sunday, rather than just heating up stuff from Let’s Dish! Well, I say we but David does 99% of the cooking around our house. He made these pork soft tacos, which are one of our longtime favorites, and Lidia Bastianich’s bolognese from her Italian-American Kitchen cookbook. I wish I could find the recipe he used online, but trust me when I say it was spectacular.

– Late Saturday night I was sitting downstairs reading when C started to toss and turn and whimper. I waited to see if she’d settle on her own, but when she was still at it fifteen minutes later, I went in and asked if she needed a cuddle. She tucked up against my shoulder when we sat down in the glider and was snoring again within minutes. I sat and rocked with her for another half hour because it was so just so damn sweet and peaceful, and I so rarely get to see her sleeping these days unless it’s through the video monitor.

– Other weekend highlights included an hour-long massage (finally cashing in a gift certificate from my last birthday…uh, in June) and a lovely brunch at my dad’s house with his wife, my brother and sister-in-law, my one-year-old nephew, and my grandpa. The purpose was to get together one last time before they head west for the rest of winter like they do every year — first to California for a month in wine country, then to Utah to ski. I really wish we could join them for a few days but we don’t have the financials if we want to finish up our debt repayments by summer, and that’s our top priority right now. Maybe next year…

– Goals for the week: get to work earlier! And hit the gym at least three weeknights.


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Time Tracking: What I Learned

January 21, 2016
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As I mentioned in my last post, I ended up not tracking every second of my week, but I think I got enough to draw some conclusions.

I worked 40 hours on the nose. I spent 4.5 hours in the car between commuting and daycare drop-off and pickup, which seemed like a lot given that daycare is ~5 minutes from our house and my office is ~15, but I guess it all adds up. I try to mitigate the time in the car with audiobooks.

If I average out all my nights, my data says I slept ~7.5 hours a night. I…tend not to believe this. I know LV has reported that people consistently underestimate how much sleep they get, but I believe this figure is a better representation of hours spent in bed, not necessarily hours sleeping. I felt extremely under-rested all week long as a result of staying up until 11 pm or later and had insomnia on at least one night. That it took me 30-45 minutes every single day to drag myself out of bed all week reflects this also. Not good. That chunk of time would have been much better spent on the front end of the night.

I exercised twice, once on a weeknight and once on the weekend. I’d like to get this up to at least 3 or 4 in total.

I spent time with my husband and daughter every weeknight, and all weekend together. We did a family outing on Saturday and just hung out at home on Sunday. I didn’t spend much alone time with David doing anything particularly special or date-like (aside of chatting over dinner and before lights-out), and the reason for that is largely that it’s winter — I beelined it straight to the warmth and comfort of my electric mattress pad most evenings after C was in bed. But in nicer weather, we typically spend large parts of every evening sitting together and talking, either out in our yard or on the three-season porch.

I can also see some lifestyle changes reflected in my data since the last time I tracked time. We no longer live in a major commercial area, so we run fewer errands and do a lot less shopping since it’s not as convenient to just run out on a whim. I’ve also dialed back the amount of time spent on housework compared to what I used to do — it’s true that our stuff fits more comfortably in our new house, and it’s easier to keep things tidy, but this is also a conscious decision on my part to try to relax my standards. I still did general pickup, kitchen cleanup, and laundry, but generally no more than 15-30 minutes each weekday. Weekend days involved more kitchen cleanup due to cooking all three meals a day at home.

Finally, I seem to have quite a bit of leisure time — essentially the rough equivalent of a part-time job. The vast majority was spent reading, but I also took in plenty of internet and social media, did an e-course, went out for dinner with my family, spent an evening at a friend’s house, and sat in the hot tub at the gym. Of course, keeping one eye on the clock all week meant that I was more purposeful about leisure than I might have otherwise been (no puttering, for example), but that’s never a bad thing. Seeing the exact number of hours spent on leisure was fairly eye-opening and makes me feel like I can safely allocate more of that time to exercise and sleep without feeling like I’m missing out too much on other things I want to do.

And of course now that I feel like I’ve got a handle on where my routine could be refined a bit, we’ve just switched things up again — David is doing drop-offs so he can exercise right after work instead of in the mornings, and I’m now doing pickups, so I’ll only be getting myself out the door in the morning. I’d like to say that would make it faster, but I know myself. So perhaps one more week of tracking is in order for some new insights. Not this week, though. I need a break. 🙂


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Time Tracking: Uh…

January 18, 2016
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Well, I kind of petered out there near the end and ended up not physically logging days 5, 6, and 7. But here’s a snapshot of how I spent those three days.

I woke up on Friday morning feeling like crap. Weak, achy, my sinuses hurt, lots of post-nasal drip, lots of coughing, raw (but not sore) throat. But nor did it feel precisely like a cold, flu, or sinus infection. Your standard winter crud? I feel like it’s been waxing and waning since November. I had told David I wanted to attempt a morning workout at the gym to see if that would be feasible over the long-term, but given the way I was feeling, that was a nonstarter. I got C ready and sent her off with David and then showered and went to work and picked up my computer and came back home. I worked all day but was able to toss in some laundry here and there, and baked a double batch of banana bread at lunchtime. David was home with C around 4:30. We chatted for a bit. He wasn’t feeling well, so he went upstairs for a nap and I hung out with C, gave her dinner, ate my own dinner, and got her ready for bed. I’m not 100% sure what I did with the evening, but it involved some puttering, some blog reading, and some book reading.

Saturday I woke up feeling better physically but really crappy mentally. It was even colder this weekend than it was LAST weekend — with “feels like” temperatures as low as -35 degrees — and I was fed up as hell with the cold. For all the waxing poetic I did last weekend, being forced to hibernate instead of it being a choice gave the experience a definite shift from “cozy” to “claustrophobic.” I felt chilled to the bone, extremely dried out and dehydrated in every way, and just plain DONE with winter. We killed some time in the morning drinking coffee and watching a TLC show called The Lottery Changed My Life sort of interesting in the wake of the $1.6 billion Powerball — and then we pulled ourselves together and went out anyway. We visited a train store near our house that has tons of train tables for kids to play with, and to one of our favorite delis for lunch. When we got home, I tried to nap while C did, but I couldn’t sleep, so that irritated me further. I gave C a bath, we heated up enchiladas for dinner, and once C was in bed, I went to a friend’s house for movie night. I was home and in bed by 12:30 but couldn’t fall asleep until almost 3. Story of my life this week, apparently. I read my Kindle in the dark until I finally drifted off.

Sunday was better. We didn’t do much, but I felt less hostile about it than I had the day before. David made us breakfast of oven-cooked bacon and “fancy” eggs scrambled with cream cheese and chives, and gave me my pick of time slots for the gym. I opted to go first, and walked for an hour on the indoor track while listening to my audiobook. That was nice. I came home and had lunch and put C down for a nap (which was short and extremely restless), then showered and watched a movie while David took his turn at the gym. We scrounged leftovers for dinner and just hung out and relaxed in the late afternoon and evening. C had a slight fever yesterday so she went down easily at 7:30 after her non-nap earlier in the day. Around 8:45 I cleaned up the kitchen, took care of some household stuff like changing our bedding, and got in bed to read until lights-out at 11:30.

And…scene!


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Time Tracking, Day 4

January 15, 2016
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Are you bored with these yet? I kind of am. Not so much variety on weekdays for me. But for the sake of completion and posterity, I’m going to forge ahead.

On Thursday, I snoozed my alarm and didn’t fully wake up until almost 7:15. I grabbed my phone as usual but only for 15 minutes this time. C and I left the house closer to 8:30 (ack) and so between that and a quick stop to pick up some breakfast, I was at my desk by 9.

In the late afternoon, after another frazzled day, I called David, who had also had a stressful few days at work, and proposed a rare dinner out. We bandied around a few options but in the interest of simplicity and proximity (the places we were more interested in would have meant sitting in traffic), we decided on our neighborhood pizza joint. I left work around 4:45 and picked C up, and we met at the restaurant around 5:15.

We had a lovely meal out. C has always been an extremely good restaurant-goer, even as an energetic toddler, and we left around 6:30 feeling much more relaxed and looking forward to the rest of the evening. David took C home while I headed to the library nearby to pick up my reserve items. I was home by 6:45 and surprised to find C already completely ready for bed. I put my stuff down and commenced her book time at 7, which she dragged out until 7:45. I have a hard time cutting off books.

I got myself ready for bed and made a beeline upstairs for the comfort of my heated mattress pad, spent 30 minutes or so interneting and the rest of the time reading until lights out around 11. I couldn’t sleep, though. I tossed and turned until 12:30 and ended up grabbing my Kindle to read in the dark for a half hour until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and then I was out for good.

On a related note, I am seriously enjoying this series about how prominent New Yorkers spend their Sundays. Except for how poor I feel after reading them. 🙂


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Time Tracking, Day 3

January 14, 2016
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I’m staying up too late this week, so I moved my alarm back to 7 and spent half an hour in bed with my phone upon waking. David was working from home, so he got C up and dressed while I got ready and we were out the door at 8:15, at work by 8:45. Same as as the other weekdays. I’d actually like to get her to school at least 15 minutes earlier, if not more. It’s good to see I can speed up my morning hygiene if I need to, so I guess I’ll either need to get up earlier or take it out of my phone time. 🙂

Wednesday was a rather trying workday and I felt pretty tightly wound and low-blood-sugar-y when I left shortly after 4:30. Since David was home, I asked him to start prepping dinner so we could eat early, and I picked C up on the way home. We chatted about our days while he finished getting food on the table and we had dinner together as a family, including lingering at the table for about 15 minutes after we finished eating. I then gave C a bath and got her ready for bed while David cleared the table, unloaded the dishwasher, and stacked everything else in the sink.

While I was driving home from work earlier, I’d taken a page from this awesome book and asked myself: What would feel good right now? The answer came to me immediately: swimming. So as soon as C was in her jammies and snuggled up on the couch with David, I got myself ready for the gym and headed out at 7. I was in the pool by 7:15, swam laps for 45 minutes, and relaxed in the hot tub for 15. I was home by 8:30 and said hello to David and made myself a snack of air-popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. I finished cleaning the kitchen, got ready for bed, and read from roughly 9:30 to 11, when I turned the lights out.


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Time Tracking, Day 2

January 13, 2016
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Awake at 6:30; this time I spent 45 minutes in bed with my phone before physically getting up (on one hand: sigh; on the other: not so surprising, given how late I was up the night before). I shortened my getting-ready time by fifteen minutes accordingly (meaning I skipped blow-drying) and was out the door at 8:15 again. I did daycare drop-off and was at work by 8:45.

I left work at 4:45 and was home fifteen minutes later, David having picked C up. We hung out as a fam while David started preparing dinner. The rice burned just as everything else was coming off the stove, so I dashed to the grocery store that’s <5 minutes from our house for microwavable brown rice packets. Dinner was done by 6:45 and I attacked the cleanup while David got C ready for bed. I even pulled together the batter for banana bread in this time.

From 7 to 7:30 was C’s book time, although she kicked me out of her bedroom halfway through so SHE could sit in the glider instead of having to sit on my lap. I gave her a few books from her basket and she was more than happy to page through them on her own, “reading” the parts she recognized out loud. So incredibly freaking cute. I kept an eye on her through the open door while I finished picking up and put the banana bread in the oven.

Once she was down for the night, I puttered around and got ready for bed while waiting for the oven to ding, then moved upstairs to our bedroom to internet (45 minutes) and read (just over an hour or so). I tried to go to sleep around 10:30 but was feeling pretty restless and wound up still, so I ended up turning the light back on and reading for another half hour before falling asleep around 11.


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Time Tracking, Day 1

January 12, 2016
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Here’s what I logged for Monday. This is a fairly typical workday except that David wasn’t home in the evening, so dinner and bedtime routines were shorter than they usually are.

I woke at 6:30 when my phone alarm went off, but lingered in bed checking email and various internet haunts until 7, when I got in the shower. C woke up somewhere in the middle of my getting-ready routine but was unusually content to continue hanging out and playing in her crib for awhile. I did my makeup and hair, got dressed, and packed up our stuff mixed with getting her ready in bits and pieces.

We left the house at 8:15, which involved a spell of warming and scraping the car. I departed C’s daycare by 8:35 and walked into my workplace at 8:45. I’m not tracking the specifics of what I do at my job all day beyond “work”; right now it’s much too fragmented to be able to track easily but I’m still accomplishing everything I need to. If I care about optimizing that process (which I really don’t, at least not right now), that’ll be a project for another week.

David picked C up around 4 on his way home and fixed them each dinner. I left work at 5:10 but didn’t get home until close to 5:45 as it was snowing heavily and traffic was slow moving. I made myself a grilled cheese and hung out with the fam until David left for a meeting around 6:30. Bedtime routine and book time started at 7:30 (much abbreviated since I prefer to be closing her bedroom door at this time) and she was in bed by 7:45.

I spent 30 minutes picking up the house, including cleaning the kitchen and folding a load of laundry, and then it was me time. From 8:30 until 11:30, I spent some time catching up on the first day of the Hibernate course, including the blog and FB community, I put up a blog post of my own, and I did some pleasure reading. In the middle of that, David came home so there were a few 15-minute blocks of helping him bring in groceries and just chatting. I turned out the lights around 11:45 (way too late) and slept badly for a few reasons.

Some observations:

  • I suspect I spend an absolute eternity getting ready in the morning compared to most people. I doubt this will ever change.
  • No exercise. I could have done something at home after baby bedtime but I wouldn’t have. I’ve never figured out an in-home exercise that feels good enough to do regularly (or at all).
  • My optimal lights-out time is probably actually 9:30 – 10 (this is my first “window” during which it’s far easier for me to fall asleep but I often ignore it) but I really wanted to get my personal stuff done last night.
  • Not too much in the way of wasted time! At least not what *I* consider wasted time.

 


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Resting Weekend

January 11, 2016
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How was your weekend?

Ours was peaceful, quiet, and COLD. Incredibly so. We’ve enjoyed an unusually mild winter so far this year (for which my usual tendencies toward SAD say thank you!). Temperatures started dropping late Friday night into early Saturday morning, and stayed that way. With windchills as low as -25F at times, the question of going out was…out of the question. Save for David making a brief trip to Home Depot, and me walking the trash to the alley, we didn’t leave the house until Monday morning.

So, we just lounged. We all got plenty of sleep. We made French toast one morning, pancakes the next. I read a whole novel, did some writing, made banana bread. David and I both did laundry AND we put it all away, every last stitch. We formulated a plan for tacking the mess that is the basement, possibly as soon as next weekend. C spent the entire weekend in pajamas, cycling from one fleece sleeper to the next as they came out of the dryer. She was very happy.

It all sounds so ordinary and not even worth mentioning, let alone writing about, but truly, this is highly unusual for us. It’s been only recently that staying home all weekend to just hang out and play has turned from stressful and unfulfilling to genuinely relaxing, refreshing, and happy cozy fun times. That probably says as much about me as it does about trying to entertain a toddler indoors during the deep midwinter. So I’m enjoying the opportunity to wholeheartedly embrace the fallow season of the year.

To that end, I’m participating in an online course by beauty that moves called Hibernate. It just started today and runs through the next four weeks. I really like the idea of turning wintertime into a special time of focus on coziness, rejuvenation, pampering, and fulfillment instead of just something to be endured (only ten more weeks til the first day of spring…ahem).

I’m also doing Laura Vanderkam’s latest time tracking challenge, also starting today. I didn’t realize the timing of both projects when I signed up, and doing both at once feels like a bit much for me, but at least LV’s is only for one week. I’ve tracked my time before and even color-coded my finished log but never got around to analyzing it too deeply (or at all, really). I do still have the first log, though—AND it was pre-child—so comparing the two might be incredibly interesting. To me.

Have a great week!


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Paring Back Facebook, One Month In

January 9, 2016
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For me, the reasons for paring back were not really the usual suspects. I mean, of course privacy is critically important and the ads really suck, but that’s not what drove me away.

Mostly I was irritated, massively so, every time I opened the site. Less so by the content being posted and shared (with the obvious exception of articles and arguments about politics, of course), but by the loss of control. I was so, so, so sick and tired of seeing “activity” from my friends rather than their actual posts and pictures. Of seeing the pages they’d liked, the polls they’d answered, comments from other people who I didn’t know and was never going to meet that had been left on their stuff. You can tinker around with “show less of” and “never show” and “show first in my feed” and “hide this post” until the cows come home, but the algorithms keep changing and all that time spent trying to tweak my experience was never going to result in a Facebook feed that didn’t piss me off every time.

So when I started thinking about paring back (encouraged by my husband, who had basically abandoned his own account a few months prior), I searched around for articles and blog posts of people who have done the same thing. I didn’t really find any. I mean, I found TONS of posts from people who stepped away fully, who not only deactivated their account but deleted it as well. I didn’t actually want to do either of those things. I didn’t even delete the app off my phone.

Instead I went through my account, over the course of a few days, and I tediously unfollowed everything and everyone. When I log into Facebook now, I see a blank main page (except for the ads, natch) and a blank activity feed. And ohhh, man, it’s great. My brain instantly felt quieter, calmer, less fragmented. Gretchen Rubin once wrote about people who always want to feel full vs. people who always want to feel empty, and I am most definitely in the latter camp. I am not soothed by knowing more, by the accumulation of objects or pieces of information, whether they are analog or digital. I need room, space, buffers, in every area of my life. It feels like my head is once again full of my OWN thoughts and feelings rather than an echo chamber of various levels of acquaintances.

There are a couple people whose pages I check manually once or twice a day, and about once a week I go through my friends list and glance at my top ten or so (the more I do this, the more they move to the top, so that process has streamlined as well). I left notifications turned on for exactly two of the many groups I belong to so I wouldn’t miss any news or events being posted. And…that’s it. I imagine with time the number of pages making the viewing cut will get fewer and fewer. I still post something myself maybe once a week or so, mostly kid pictures, but that is dropping off as well. I considered switching to Instagram, but I probably won’t. I probably read fewer articles now, since Facebook was my primary source of news (sometimes “news”) and information, but that’s not exactly a loss either. If something is truly important for me to know, I believe I will find out about it some other way.

I don’t know if I feel like I’ve gotten loads of time back because I still waste plenty of time surfing the internet in other not particularly productive ways yet, but this feels like a huge first step.


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