We all know how crucial Facebook is to the young adults and adolescents of this generation (and more and more people above and below that age range as well). I have been on Facebook since I was about 16 years old, and am now 22. I recently decided to deactivate my account and start a new one. A lot of people asked me why I did this and, while I have an elaborate answer that I can give if they really want to know, the simple reason is for a fresh start. I used to have over 400 friends and over 4000 pictures. Now I have less than a hundred of each.
This was actually really difficult for me. It seems silly. First of all, seems silly that I would care enough to “start fresh” to move everything over to a new account. Second of all, why would it be that difficult? Well, I am a very attachment-oriented person. I emotionally attach to people and everything intensely and quickly. I’m also very sentimental. This can be both good and bad when it comes to things like Facebook. That old account, to me, was affiliated with so many ups and downs. So many pictures of people who I was once close with but can no longer speak to, for various reasons. I was still friends with people who had really hurt me, in ways that I can never get over. I was even still friends with a good friend of mine who passed away in high school. I could have just gone through and deleted all of my pictures and all of my friends, but… I don’t want to ERASE these elements of my life. It all adds up to who I am. (And besides, that would have been a lot more work!) If you go back far enough, you could even find tons of status updates and pictures that were strongly associated with my darkest times. I just didn’t want all of that baggage anymore. I’m in grad school now; on to the next chapter of my life, and I wanted to feel like I had a clean slate. And, although I sometimes wish this was not so true, Facebook is a really important part of my life! (That sounds sad when I actually write it out like that!)
This is just one example of the ways in which I’ve tried to give myself a new beginning. In the past, I’ve tried things like dying my hair or changing the name I go by (using a nickname instead of my full name, etc.). But honestly, sometimes these little things help a lot. I’ve collected a lot of experiences, some more painful than others, and I will always have those with me to learn from. But at the same time, I do not need the daily reminders. I have a lot of unfortunate memories of high school and college (as I imagine anyone does, to a certain degree), and was still friends with a lot of the kids who caused them. (Why? I don’t know. I have a tendency to accept anyone who asks, and I always feel too guilty to delete anyone! …I need to work on that, but that’s another story altogether!) Who wants to see images of the boy who called you “fat and dumpy” and told you that you would “always be a lonely girl” popping up in their news feed? I wasn’t friends with him, but I had enough mutual friends that he always seemed to come out of nowhere.
Anyway, my point is, little stings can add up. If every time you look in the mirror you think about how your ex loved your blonde hair, and it makes your heart sink, then go ahead and dye it red if you want to! Now, I’m not suggesting drastic or permanent changes, and there are also other healthy coping mechanisms that need to come into play as well. But sometimes it can be fun and really refreshing to do something that separates you from negativity in your past. Relieve some of your personal burdens. Be the you that you want to be. Not the you that you think you have to be, because of baggage that you carry. Everything that happens to us just builds on who we are, and I believe we are all improving all the time. Learning and growing. Don’t be afraid to sort out your life. I’ve learned some lessons, and now with this new Facebook account, I am going to try to move forward as the girl I want to preserve. It won’t be perfect, but it is a step forward.
What can you do to “cleanse” your life and start fresh?