There was a very popular saying in the early 1970’s, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I had a poster of this adage hanging in my bedroom. It was a black and white fuzzy photograph of a person walking down a beach. The text was swoopy script down one side. I loved that poster and at the age of 11 or 12, I was deeply moved by the saying. No one seems to know who first coined the phrase. Various searches on the internet seem to point to it being the result of the 1960’s drug culture in California, which sounds about right. It is also thought to have evolved into being a quasi religious, spiritualist saying. At the time, being a 12 year old, I just thought it was BEAUTIFUL and MEANINGFUL and that sensibly, it was basically true. The saying has aged in the same way Burt Bacharach songs have aged, pleasant but syrupy.
I started my blog back in the early 21st century enthusiastically. It was a great way to write things that felt silly to write in a journal. I loved it. No one really read my blog except relatives and some very nice people who found it somehow. I did not care. It was out there for someone to stumble upon. I myself have stumbled upon delightful blogs with apparently few readers. It seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor. I loved spending a Saturday morning putting a post together. I was just a part time blogger.
As it happens, I was also an early Facebook joiner and loved it as well. Gradually, as Facebook became more and more popular and started behaving like a public utility in my life: turn on the lights, run the water, check Facebook, my poor old blog just drifted away. I no longer spent time on Saturday mornings thinking thoughts about a book I had finished or a movie or TV show we had watched or a trip I had taken and sharing it with the universe. I was busy throwing off what I hoped were clever one liners or pictures or what passes for my achievements on Facebook throughout any given day.
Without going into what I have personally decided are the reasons or psychology behind the Facebook addiction, I made myself stop. It was a bit like going on a diet. I would do really well for a week and then falter and fall back into the habit. I found leaving Facebook was really hard. With much effort, I have gone almost a year without looking. I have deactivated and will soon delete my account. I’m almost a year clean. The final push for me was when a friend died and their page became this maudlin place for people to EASILY give condolences. I stress the word EASILY. Facebook has made birthdays too easy, holidays too easy. It’s nothing to say Happy Birthday on Facebook. It requires little effort since Facebook has sent you a reminder.
Returning to the friend who died, I noticed something odd. I saw many people condoling who had never, ever commented on this deceased friend’s posts when they were alive. I was a frequent commenter and supporter of the posts this friend made. They had a delightful sense of humor. But the page was now filled with “friends” who I had never seen hanging about. And while it was nice these people seemed moved to add their sympathy, it horrified me. I imagined dying and all the people who I was “friends” with -who never said boo to me year in and year out – suddenly showing up to say what a great gal I was. So I quit. That day.
One day, a while after quitting Facebook, I received an email notice saying I had received a comment on this blog. After I got over the shock of someone actually finding this old thing, it made me take a look at Paraphernalia. As I re-read some of the things I had blogged about and realized I had forgotten I had ever written, I was filled with an urge to reclaim my blogging self. It brought back to me the fact that I had had once mused about all sorts of paraphernalia (hence the name of this blog) and so I decided I needed to try again. I am a bit rusty, but maybe with practice, kind of like doing scales on a piano, I will regain my blogger footing.
This is the first day of the rest of my blog.