It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. Admittedly, I’ve recently been side-tracked with my person Upskilling Journey over on code:Runner(UK), which has preoccupied me for the last couple of months. That’s only really one part of it, though.

It occurs to me that the main reason is social media. Everyone congregates around popular BigTech social media platforms like flies around a watering hole, because — why? Because it’s convenient and easy. We don’t want to put any effort in any more.

We want to show off our latest pair of ¬£200+ shoes. Express our affluence by posting holiday photos. Boast which “friends” are in our close circle with photos of evenings out. Posting family photos to people who don’t know those family members.

It’s not about friendships or relationships. It’s about one-sided statement-making. I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone. Posting when something, anything, happens in my life, desperately seeking that first ‘like’ from people who don’t have two words to say to me at any other time.

This year hasn’t been the best year for me. Losing my means of income forced me to take a long hard look at what my future entails. I can’t say there’s been much positivity.

As my birthday approached, I kept having numerous scary thoughts about this possibly being my last one. That’s how bleak and empty the future looks to me.

When I took a step back, I saw that I was sliding down into a pit of depression, and I needed to find a way to stop. I thought I had done this several weeks ago when I embarked on my plan to not yet rejoin the rat-race of desperately seeking a job as the only option for my life. I decided then that the most positive path I could take would be to reskill / upskill, to learn something new, to get myself into a better position so that I could do more than frantically chase the desperate end of the job market. That was a positive move and I am enjoying the learning process, the “upskilling”, I really am.

And, yet, it wasn’t enough. I still found myself sliding downwards. I needed to do more.

That’s when it occurred to me that visiting social media was one of the primary causes of my depression. Seeing people post about going on holidays abroad that I’ve never been able to afford, and really can’t do now. Seeing people post about spending time with family members, when I have no family members to spend time with. Photos of people getting together with their friends for evenings out, or going on a run, knowing that I’m never asked to join in.

Knowing that I have a lot of “friends” on Facebook, none of whom really give a moment’s thought about me. Are they really “friends”? It’s times like this that make you wonder.

With my birthday approaching, I realised that the day that celebrates ‘me’ boils down to one thing on social media. For one day of the year, people who generally ignore you for 364 days of the year post “Happy Birthday” without really meaning it. It’s like a quick way to ensure the conscience doesn’t get pricked. It’s like ticking the “yearly obligation box”. Well, I don’t want to be a “tick box”. Not any more.

All ‘Happy Birthday’ means to me is “You’ve been ignored / forgotten for 12 months until Facebook reminded someone you have a birthday”.

So why do I visit Facebook? To keep up with news from “friends and family”? News of events and occasions I’ll never be a part of ? Why do I want to be reminded of that? It’s not a positive thing, only negative.

Between this negativity comes Facebook themselves with an ever-increasing number of “sponsored ads” for products that you know you can’t afford. Facebook knows more about us than we know ourselves, yet they still inundate you with ads for things they know you don’t have the money for. Why? All it does it remind me of my financial dire straits.

Is there anything about Facebook and other social media that isn’t negative? I don’t see it if there is.

And so, today, on the date of my birthday, I chose to distance myself from social media. Last night, I turned off all Facebook & messenger notifications. I logged out of Facebook on all of my devices. I vowed not to check in on Facebook at all for the entire 24hr of my birthday.

Should I reach the end of the day without checking Facebook, I shall then embark on a process of deleting all of my data from that platform and move to delete my account.

If someone, anyone, sees a part of their life that they want me to be in, then there are other ways to keep in touch. Regular phone / text, or via my several websites. But not social media. Not Facebook. Not any more.

I don’t need the negativity of social media in my life right now. I have enough of that from within. I need to find positivity. I need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I need a reason to fight back. For, if I don’t find any of these, then my own personal future may be a lot shorter than it should be.