I recently started reading Celeste Ng’s EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, and like most well-told stories the first lines were what sucked me in. “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” The same thing happened when I saw the essay “Why I Quit Facebook and You Should Too” show up, ironically, on Facebook: “For a desk bound procrastinator like me, Facebook had the gravitational pull of the Death Star.”
I went to work out yesterday where I talked with my doctor. She sweats next to me on Tuesdays, and she asked, as she often does, what I was reading. I told her about Celeste Ng’s book. I quoted the first lines. Then I told her a story about a friend and no matter how I pleaded my friend’s case, the doctor continued to smile and shake her head and shut me down. She said, She’s not being honest with herself.
If I’m being honest, guess where I’ve spent more time this week, reading Celeste Ng’s gorgeous book, or on the Death Star?
What is it, really, about FB. FB is like a diary you want everyone to read, and what kind of diary is that? I’m great, you’re great, everyone’s great, right?? And what’s with the likes, or worse, the not likes? With the friending and un-friending, the blocking and restricting? When did I accept the word “friend” as a verb? What is a friend? (I’m suddenly counting the growing number of friends not on FB) Why does the space sometimes remind me of the 5th grade lunchroom? Do I really just want to see people’s pictures, which is what I tell myself, tell other people, or is that a lie? Am I on FB because I’m lazy or lonely or bored or a (not-so-closeted) exhibitionist or a climber or a pretend-statement-maker or a procrastinator sucked in by the Death Star, or or or or ….????
I’m pausing now, thinking about all of this wasted energy.
I made a few secret resolutions for the New Year. You know about secret resolutions right? You pretend you don’t have any because they are beneath you but you make them anyway? That’s me, your resident resolution-maker-denier. Here are mine:
1. Quit Twitter. And I did quit Twitter. Kinda sorta. Before Christmas. But here’s the truth: I’m off Twitter, but I also know that all I need do is log-in within 30 days to keep it going. And I’ve logged in. Four times. And I’ve logged in to check the Twitter feed of the prolific Writer/Twitterer who is the EXACT mean and petty tweeter I left Twitter to avoid. Oy.
2. Keep my mouth shut. On New Years Eve, I said something to a woman that I wish I could take back. It was snarky and unnecessary and then, of course, I spent the rest of the night trying to back-pedal and explain myself. Why do I do this? Why do I feel the need to comment on, just about, everything. I’m trying to do that thing parents do with little kids: take a time out before I talk.
3. Eat and drink better. I say this even as I’m having wine and pasta with sausage and cheese for dinner, but hey it’s only January 7th!
4. Get away from the computer, spend more time outdoors. I spend a lot of time outdoors, but enough? No. I need more. I need more mountains and more water and more sunshine; I need less interwebs and that includes less social media, which is seeming so much less “social” than it was when I first imagined what “social media” might be. Social media, I’m learning, is just another way to be anti-social, to be once-removed. And that’s not at all what I want for my 2015.
So. Here’s to the death of the Death Star. Here’s to the new year and to getting back to Celeste Ng’s incredible book: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” Here’s to not knowing if anyone likes me or my dogs or my pictures or my not-so-real-on-line-life, or not. Here’s to reading real words on real pages. Those are called “books.”
Do you have secret New Years’ Resolutions?