I wrote my first Gen Z country hit song...
Updated: Jan 4
Title at least.
It's called "I deleted my mom from Facebook today". Catchy, right? I'm still working on the rest of it though. I'll make sure there are lots of references to TikTok and Snapchat and Kylie Jenner's lip fillers sprinkled throughout it.
(Side note: Part 2 of my 10 year recap will be up ASAP, I promise.)
Meet my mom.
Thirty second backstory: My mom was born and raised in New Zealand. She went to Canada on a temporary visa after high school, and met my dad who was 11 years older. Quick marriage, Two kids fourteen months apart, and things were dunzo within five years.
Divorce, custody battle, and off to New Zealand my sister and I went with my mom and my new stepdad. Four years later, my sister and I came back to Canada to live with my dad. Five years after that, my sister went back to New Zealand with my mom. I've been in Canada since 1992 and my sister has been in New Zealand with my mom since 1997.
Since December 1992, she came to visit me...five times that I can think of? She also flew me down there once. It's hard to really know someone that you haven't spent a ton of time around.
Our existence has been an awkward tip toe dance around a messy history and a whole bunch of uncomfortable unresolved feelings since. These issues were briefly broached upon in the week she came for our wedding, surfaced in a few brief conversations amidst a super crazy and distracted week. We laughed, we cried, I forgave, we ended the week on a good note and in what I thought was a good place.
She came back for another visit two years later when I became a dad, and they all fell apart again.
Fast forward to present day 2019-2020, and I deleted my mom from Facebook last night.
Why you ask? Because Facebook sucks. If it wasn't for my non profit's presence on there, I would be done with it entirely.
Facebook doesn't replace the effort it takes to have a real and authentic relationship in 2020. Liking and commenting on people's posts doesn't replace actually calling people, actually FaceTiming them, or actually texting people you care about. It's impersonal, informal, and disconnected. You are leaving the depth and quality of your relationship to an algorithm that's more concerned with showing you products you might buy than fostering meaningful connections.
My advice to everyone reading this? If this sort of awkward loosely connected relationship isn't good enough for you, then don't do it. I chose not to do it anymore. It's okay to make these choices when you're grown. Don't do something that makes you feel like you're not good enough, simply because you don't want to hurt someone else's feelings by protecting your own. My mom being Facebook friends with me and nothing more made me sad, so I ended it.
I want to teach my kids everything I can for them to succeed, and part of that is leading by example and setting healthy boundaries and not forcing them to do things that make them uncomfortable for someone else's sake. We only owe ourselves at the end of the day, and no one else.
The impersonality of social media really stood out to me recently when I ran into a long time friend that I hadn't seen in forever. They mentioned something significant in their life that they had experienced and assumed I was aware of, both a new house and an expecting pregnancy.
When I expressed that I had no idea, they said "oh but I posted it on Facebook." I felt bad for two reasons; both because I had missed this significant update in their life, and also that I had contributed to our friendship moving in a direction to where they assumed that I would see it and that was good enough for keeping each other informed.
Happy, sad, proud, nervous, and funny moments do make for good social media content. Gary Vee's tighty whitey's get a little tighter anytime you come up with something that's gram worthy or shareable, and might get likes equal to Ariana Grande's Spotify streams.
When a social media user clicks "post" and sits and waits for the adulation to come in, they're left trapped in their own insecurities and hoping for the validation needed to pull them out. This needs to change. Life is meant to be shared on a personal level with those closest to you. In real time. Not in "did they get the notification?" purgatory.
As such, I deleted my mom from Facebook last night. After not even getting a "Merry Christmas" text for myself and her grandkids, let alone a FaceTime or phone call, healthy boundaries have to start somewhere. I decided to be the change I needed to be comfortable with my own needs being met. It's hard not having a single non-household family member in your day-to-day life. Especially when all of your wife's family is local and extremely close.
If my surviving immediate family members don't want to be part of that circle, then I have to pull the plug and stop letting people I now barely know make me feel like I'm not good enough to be a bigger part of their lives. I do matter to others and it's better for my mental health if I focus on them, and not the absence of others who live on the opposite side of the world. If they wanted to call, text, email, or FaceTime, great. But I can't be a thirty-six year old grown ass man and pine for attention from my own mom on social media anymore. Desperation is so gross.
What are you doing in 2020 to better set and preserve your own healthy boundaries? Let me know in the comments.
On a happier side note - I am also trying to focus on gratitude more in 2020. Here are three things I am grateful for today: 1. My wife suggested bringing up the Xbox One from the basement and setting it up on our fancy tv three days ago, for the squad to be able to play Just Dance 2020 together. Once they go to bed, Red Dead Redemption II in 4K and surround sound is GLORIOUS. What a time to be alive. (I tried to let my kiddos play RDRII yesterday by riding the horses, until we rode by another guy having trouble with his horse. The horse kicked him in the head and he bled to death. No more RDRII, kids. Sorry! #dadfail )
Being a cowboy seemed like it was pretty cold and hungry times
2. I am grateful to the 1 millionth degree for Fit Club Bootcamps, their staff, their members, and their workouts. I got pretty unhealthy in 2019, and they have been my saviour. They gout me out of a funk in a huge way and believing in myself again. More on that to come in my decade in review part 2 post.
Check out our post 5:30 AM workout glows!
3. I am grateful for Portugese BBQ chicken. Like really, really grateful. I now work in an office that shares a building with King of The Pigs and good god is that stuff ever good. We are on vacation until January 6th but I still made the trip there on December 30th to load up and get my fix. ONCE IT HITS YOUR LIPS
To paraphrase Kesha, "Your chicken your chicken your chicken is my drug..."
Happy Thursday, y'all! I'll try to be less Debbie Downer in future posts.