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Welcome to my sandbox

As is his wont, a former colleague of mine likes to create Facebook posts noting birthdays of people in the media. For some inexplicable reason, he posts mine every year. I appreciate it, but I’m not a “media figure,” but somebody who worked in the business for almost 3 decades. Most of us news industry veterans are not famous, and don’t aspire to be.

Anyway, he posted a link to this site, which is fine by me, but chances are it’s not compelling enough to create a following. And it’s not built to have a following, except for friends who might want to know what I’m thinking about or what I’m doing.

I know about my former colleague’s posting because for the first time in a while, I actually put something on Facebook today. Nothing exciting, just the photo of my kid’s delightful birthday card. I used to get scores of birthday wishes – a lot of them, if not most, seemingly rote and gratuitous – when I was active on Facebook, and it fed a weird neediness that bothered me after a few years. Even though I effectively dumped the site from my routine a few years ago, that neediness for birthday attention hasn’t completely gone away; in a way, it’s helped ruin birthdays for me. Last year’s particularly depressing natal day led me to decide to use that day for retreats, and then I forgot about that decision for this year. Maybe next year, God willing.

Fortunately, except for some mild health issues and crankiness related to other matters this morning, today hasn’t been that bad. And I got to thinking that, all in all, I have not missed Facebook, and that having this modest little site as a “sandbox” (to use a college friend’s term for Facebook) is infinitely healthier for me and more fun for a number of reasons:

Granted, I have been guilty of many of those annoying social media habits, and I have learned from my mistakes with them. On my site, I write longer posts occasionally but relegate myself to sharing links and photos and short remarks. Still, I try not to get overly personal; for instance, I no longer share full-face photos of my child (except on Instagram, where I have a private account, and even there I ask for her permission first), and if I’m going through a rough patch, I will turn privately first to my close friends and my God. That is what, in part, they are there for.

With all due respect to those who have found solace and support on Facebook or other platforms, I’ve learned that for me, life and family are too precious to squander in their entirety on the Internet. This site is plenty of space for me.