5 Lessons Learned from my Facebook Fast

During the season of Lent this year, I decided to ‘give up’ Facebook. I have always struggled with comparing myself to others and Facebook is the perfect habitat to do so. Sure, its a good communication tool, but it’s become a online place where people attempt to present their best selves to the internet. Largely it has become a place to brag or show off an accomplishment to say, “Look at me! I do this all the time! Isn’t my life awesome?!” Okay so maybe people don’t intentionally set out to do just that, but perhaps you take 2 or 3 selfies before picking your best one? Not that it’s wrong, but the whole concept has become uncomfortably toxic to me over the years; present your best self and pretend that you are that person 100% of the time. It transforms you to be an impostor of your true self. Anyway, so I chose to fast from Facebook for 40 days and here is what I learned.

  1. The addiction is real. When I first started this fast, I had to be really intentional about not going on Facebook. In the first week as I was browsing the internet somehow I ended up on the Facebook homepage more than once. How did that happen? I removed the bookmark and anything that could automatically lead me to it. It was my own two hands typing in f-a-c-e-b-o-o-k-.-c-o-m without my brain even realizing it. Yeah, I was terrified to say the least! I had this constant pull to see how many people liked my photo or messaged me to say hey or to check on whose birthday it was that day. It was this constant, real gnawing at my brain and I think the only reason I noticed it was because I was fighting the urge to log on. I knew that I was addicted to it before I gave it up, but good golly miss Mollie (hey girl!) I had no idea how much of a grip it had on my ability to be present in my daily life. It was a real challenge to give it up, but by the end of it I can look at my presence on Facebook as a choice and less of an addiction.
  2. Facebook does not make me feel better about my life. On Sundays I would check my Facebook to see what was going on in the world, connect with friends who didn’t know I was fasting during the week, and to see whose birthday it was just so I could send them a Happy Belated Birthday text. It wasn’t so bad because normally on Sundays I was off having my own adventures and had only a few spare moments to check Facebook during the Lenten season. But things would still pop up on my newsfeed that would instantly make me feel jealous or less than in just a few seconds. Seconds! Two seconds before I was completely content with my life and then two seconds later I feel miserable because I didn’t do x,y, and/or z. So why would I continue to invest my time and energy into something that can make me feel so negative about my own life?
  3. People assume I know what’s going on in their life. Our world has become so Facebook-centric – save a few friends – that is has become a current of knowledge. If it’s on Facebook, you should know when a birthday is or that someone got engaged, or that someone went skydiving even though they’re terrified of heights. All of those items are really important if you are trying to cultivate a real friendship. You should know those things about those close to you! Let me tell you that I need to set my own calendar reminders for people’s birthdays because I missed a few important ones these past 40 days. But it’s true! People would assume that I knew details of their lives just because they posted them on Facebook. It felt awful to be behind in nearly every social interaction.
  4. Choosing to intentionally connect with a smaller group of people satiated me much more than Facebook. This past month I finished a Coursera class on Positive Psychology. I promise you this is much less woo woo than it sounds. Basically, the way you feel about life comes down to the connections you have with those around you. A smile from a stranger can make you feel safe and welcome. A thief stealing your handbag can make you feel scared and unsafe. A hug from a loved one can make you feel comforted and uplifted. A stranger manspreading in your personal space can make you feel uncomfortable and small. It comes down to the connections that we have on a daily basis and who we share them with. One of the biggest takeaways from this class is that Facebook, texting, and online chatting do not give your brain the boost of good stuff like a real-time interaction does. It’s true! You need a real-time connection to get the physiological benefits of a positive interaction. Do you want to feel happier right now? Pick up the phone, call a loved one just to catch up. Facetime instead of gchatting a friend. Your brain and emotions will thank you. For more on positive psychology, check out this article or this one.
  5. There is enough time out there to accomplish your dreams and goals. But I can’t achieve them by sitting on Facebook, feeling bad about myself, and just hoping that my life will magically be awesome. Nope, I had to work at it and make my dreams a reality. These past 40 days I have been able to accomplish goals like starting to read through the Old Testament, starting my garden, baking, reading, creating a prayer journal, writing letters, and more. It’s easier to accomplish my goals when I not only had the time, but the space in my brain to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I wasn’t bogged down and thinking about how much I didn’t accomplish that day in comparison to my peers – no – instead my mind was clear and I could look at my free time differently. I approached life with a lighter step. Here are a few things I have done in my Facebook-free time.

 

#bergen #peak #colorado #hiking #adventure #goldenlife

A photo posted by Chelsea Beth Jander (@theceebster) on

 

A letter writing kind of weekend.

A photo posted by Chelsea Beth Jander (@theceebster) on

 

#Easter #baking #glutenfree #cinnamon #bread #yellow #happy

A photo posted by Chelsea Beth Jander (@theceebster) on

 

So what’s next? Do I continue my Facebook fast or do I reconnect the Facebook feed line right to my vein? To be honest, I choose neither. Extremism isn’t my thing. I’m more of a middle road kind of girl. I choose honest, real friendships and relationships over superficial content any day. I’ll give preference to those who want to text, call, Facetime, or send letters to keep in touch. Sure I will log on once or twice a week just to see what’s up, but don’t expect me to know every detail of your life unless you tell me. In return, I will give you my friendship, my love, and my undivided attention.

 

Yours,

Chelsea Beth

 

PS – If you want to get in touch on a more personal level but don’t know how, just comment below and we’ll make it happen!

Moving to the Denver Metro Area: Things to Consider

Chelsea Beth:

A great blog post from Lost Axis GIS about finding a new home in Denver metro area! There are so many things to think about when you’re setting up shop in a new town!!

Originally posted on Lost Axis GIS:

My wife and I recently moved from Seattle, Washington to Denver, Colorado.  We took a road trip down staying at Airbnb’s along the way.  After traveling through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, we arrived in Denver Colorado and that very night we jumped onto craigslist and began searching for available rentals. We were hit with immediate sticker shock at the prices of the available units. When we had tossed around the idea of moving to Denver back in October of 2014, we had conducted a cursory apartment search at that time and found numerous rental properties in our price range.  We checked that box for ourselves and moved forward without another thought.  Now being here in February faced a market that is in the midst of  some dramatic changes (see article).  Not only that but Denver is a very different place to look for apartments than Seattle.  I realized…

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On the Road Again

Since we met, Team Jander has never been able to be stationary for too long. We started our marriage off in Seattle, then moved to central Mexico for the Peace Corps. Now, we have relocated to the sunny state of Colorado!!

 

 

And we’re making the Rockies our home for the foreseeable future!

 

There has been a substantial amount of change over the last few months, and we haven’t been settled in our own home since September 2014. The nomadic life taught us a lot about humility and gratitude. A special thank you to those that graciously housed or fed us in this time of transition. We hope to return the favor by offering our spare room up in our home in the Denver metro area.

 

For the blog, a house tour is coming soon! Any special requests for blog coverage in our new town?? Also, we have a new address and phone numbers so please contact us if you would like our updated info!

 

Adventure is out there!

Ceebs

Reject the Single Story

 

When we were offered the assignment to move to Mexico, we created a pro & con list with the single story knowledge that we had. Safety was a big concern for us, and what was it going to be like to move to the desert? Would we have to adopt new names or join a mariachi band to fit in? We were victims of the single story that is so often painted for US citizens. We had even been to Mexico on mission trips building houses and working with youth groups. The only story we knew of Mexico was that Mexicans were impoverished, less than, and always trying to sneak into our country. I can’t blame you for thinking the same.

 

Arriving to Mexico, I was nervous and skeptical of what I was seeing. Could people really be happy hear? Is that jazz music I hear in the courtyard? Why are there coffee shops and pizzerias on every corner? Aren’t these people supposed to be poor? 

 

My friend, let me tell you, there are many Mexicos.

 

Throughout the two years of living in Mexico, I have encountered more Mexicos than I thought possible. I have been to the coast to stay with a Swede in his beachside hotel. I have been to isolated communities that lack clean water. I have been to the jungle and spotted exotic birds. I have been to the city and watched people cram themselves into an already full subway train. I have been to pyramids where indigenous people played soccer and birthed new life. I have been to cold, rainy, and clouded forests that feel just like the Pacific Northwest. I have been to the coffee growing regions and met the poorly compensated farmers.

 

Over the years, I have heard countless stories of cousins, brothers, fathers crossing the border. You can see the pain in their eyes as they tell you the story of the economic hardship that drove them to trek the 400 miles in hopes of providing for their families. I have met men who started a life in the US, only to be deported and ripped away from their kids who have citizenship. It is not an easy story to hear, but it is an important one.

 

Mexico is so much more than Spring Break, drugs, and immigration laws. There is vibrant life and culture popping out at every corner. Happiness, joy, sorrows, and struggles. You must not forget that we are all humans, part of the human race.

 

I encourage you to reject the single story of any one person or any one place and seek a new perspective. On that note, I have to say that I am only one voice, one story in the Peace Corps novel. If you are interested in embracing new stories, I would encourage you to check out these other fabulous Peace Corps bloggers below to help you better understand what Peace Corps truly is and how you can support those who work for peace around the globe.

 

Meet Jessica, author of prize-winning blog Among the Stone Cactuses, who like myself was in Mexico. Her time was cut short due to a medical injury, and she had a different experience to her time as a PCV. She is an incredible writer and her journalistic photos draw you into her story.

 

 

Meet Jedd and Michelle, authors of Simply Intentional, who served in Jamaica as a married couple from 2012 – 2014. Their videos make the stories they have encountered come to life and pop out. They have a similar timeline to Neal and I, and they too are in the RPCV sabbatical mindset.

 

 

Meet Sara, author of Guinean Dreams, whos Peace Corps service ended 21 months early because of the Ebola outbreak. Read her true stories on the perspective of Ebola and tell me that the US news has not desensitized us.

 

 

Meet Keith and Heather, authors of Sponge & Slate, who are currently serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in China. They are English teachers who record their students during class and work on gender equality issues on the side.

 

 

Peace to you, amigos!

CBJ

The In Between Poems, Part 3

Part 1 // Part 2

This is the final installment of Anthony McPherson‘s poems written based on notes from an interview. The author is not me, but the sentiments and emotions are mine.

 

3.

When you say goodbye,

No one leaves,

Not until everyone glues plans to each other.

Do the stars know that the constellations exist?

The future used to be as big as the sky,

Now, it’s a bunch of agendas in a jar.

Every step I take is scheduled.

How can you run free when you’re always a step ahead of yourself?

It’s already tomorrow

I need to make resolutions for the year after next.

Fireworks are no longer spontaneous –

They’re marked down for two days out of the year.

Am I calendar?

Am I dates and windows, matched with pictures of exotic locations that most people will never see?

On what day do I fulfill my purpose?

 

If Elvis were to come back to the world,

Everyone in my family would fall still.

He’d tell them about heaven,

But no matter what he says,

Inevitably,

Their mind will imagine clouds.

As hectic life rips the months out of us like pages,

Elvis will eventually become a normal celebrity.

A tabloid magazine

That people might pick up

Glance through

But probably won’t buy.

 

Thank you to those who have been intentional about reconnecting with us during this time of transition. To those who have invited us to dinner or let us stay in your guest room, your hospitality and generosity will not be forgotten. Thank you to friends and family that have cheered us up with packages and rallied behind us with loving phone calls, emails, and texts. Thanks to those that have listened to our stories and cared about the endings.

 

We are so thankful for the amazing friends and family in our lives.

 

With gratitude,

Ceebs

 

Educating Youth on Food

If you’ve been following along, you know that teaching youth about cultivating their own food is very important to me. Educating kids on small-crop agriculture is just part of the idea. You bring the kids outside, teach them how to grow edible plants, and they are the ones who spend the time caring for the seed. They are the ones in the garden on a daily basis watering the small plants. They are the ones who watch it grown everyday. When it’s time to cultivate the food garden, well let’s just say you have never seen a kid so excited about lettuce before in her or his whole life. They become giddy over a radish and squeal with excitement over swiss chard. The kids worked for that moment and now that they have spent the time working for the harvest, the relationship between a person and a plant is now in direct harmony.

 

This education part is just one aspect of the food cycle. A mere relationship to one’s food cannot be overridden by the cultural weight of Coca-Cola. The battle for obesity cannot be fought alone, together we must work towards a healthier future for all generations. Jamie Oliver is a modern hero is my eyes. Sure he is a celebrity chef, and sure he makes money from the products he sells. But there is so much more to his mission than just that. He is a food advocate – he fights for clean, healthy food in American public school systems. He educates the public on how to prepare the most simple dishes in case your parents never taught you how to cook. He is the other half of the food education that was not covered in my small school garden project. Check out one of his TED Talks below!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the video! You can choose what fuels your body. Let me know what you think about the video below in the comment section!

 

Live long and prosper!

Chelsea Beth

Enjoying Unemployment

Unemployment and living in the in between can be tough. Money constraints and lack of rhythm often create a lot of stress when you’re unemployed. You’ve got no routine and you’re just floating because you’re not exactly on vacation. In talking to a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer about the difficulties of the transition, she laid out some really good advice.

 

Enjoy being unemployed. Enjoy the time and freedom.

 

That struck me pretty hard. Enjoy it?!? How could I possibly enjoy this time of waiting and nothingness… and without any income! I put my thinking cap on and started thinking about inexpensive ways we could pass the time. Instead of dreading the downtime and trying to speed it up, we have started intentionally tried to enjoy the valuable gift of having no requirements. We’ve been able to enjoy the moments. Check it out below!

 

Hiking to el Moro Beach in Newport

The beach is so far away!!

We made it to the beach – now back up into the hills!

Ridge hike nearing the end!

Refining our survival skills

Collecting the goods for the tinder bundle

What we foraged from the canyon

Working on the bow drill method

Visiting the Getty Museum in LA

Spending time with family in CA

Mama, Auntie, and Grandmoms to the cutest kiddo!

Baby Kate fresh off a nap!

Aunts and nieces!

Visiting Crystal Cove State Beach

Goodbye beach! <3

Sewing a dress

The finished product!

Excuse the hair – we pumped out the dress in 2.5 days!

Being tourists in Seattle

The new roasting facility for Starbucks in Seattle

Hanging out at Pike’s Place Public Market

Hiking in the Pacific Northwest

Some lookout off the 2!

Hiking around at Cougar Mountain

 

Old growth in the midst of clear cuts

Cherry Creek Falls near Duvall

Spada Lake off Hwy 2

 

Well as you can see, we have made the most of our time off. Instead of looking at it like unemployment, we’re choosing to make it more of a sabbatical more than anything. Time to recharge and rejuvenate; time to locate the roots of who we are. When this time does come to a close, it will be a bittersweet exchange. For the moment, I will enjoy the opportunity to sleep in and hike and blog while I can.

 

ACTION: Take a moment to reflect on something tough or challenging. Write it down and then draw a line next to it. This is your optimistic window. Write a positive spin on the problem that’s on the other side of the line.  Circle your new positive solution! Be happy! :)

 

Peace to you,

Ceebster

 

PS – Follow me on Instagram at @theceebster ! Cheers!