social detox

Liz is going through a Facebook detox for Advent – she says she’s starting a little early. Which is the thing I wanted to bring up here.

But first I have to confess that I wrote that first sentence and then realized that I wasn’t totally sure when Advent was supposed to start. Or  if  the word “Advent” was supposed to be capitalized.

I’m also not completely positive what Advent is.

Look, I’m not an idiot – I know it’s around December. And I know it has to do with the Christmas season because we have an Advent Calendar. You open these little doors every day and bam – chocolate.

I use the word Advent for one reason – I’m a Christian and I’m supposed to know what it means. I’m pretty good at using the word in a sentence to sound like I know what I’m talking about. For example, if I’m walking through the lobby in church and I pass some cinnamon-scented potpourri or something, I’ll smile serenely at the person next to me and say, “Don’t you just love this holy season of Advent?”

There are times when I find myself caught up in the air using a Christian term and I realize that I don’t actually know precisely what I’m talking about. And I know that I should know, but I became a Christian in my thirties and so I have these embarrassing gaps in my knowledge. I also know that the first commandment ain’t “learn what Advent is,” it’s “Love Your Neighbor” and so I’m gonna focus on that one. For everything else I have Wikipedia.

But here’s the thing – I’m not one to actually admit that I don’t know things like that.

I, my friends, am a gifted faker.

I became a gifted faker by working hard at it. I was driven to it (thanks for asking!) because I don’t like people to know that I don’t know something. Especially when I strive to be what we call the spiritual leader of our family (which, to non-Christians, probably sounds like some kind of dead-eyed shaman). That means I am supposed to be a model of servant-leadership. You know, like Jesus. And nothing screams Jesus like faking like you know vocabulary words so you won’t look like an idiot.

So as you can imagine, with all my fakery-talent, I’m an ideal Facebook user: All image, All the time. You think I’m posting photos on Facebook of what I’m doing right now? Hanging out in sweatpants eating old Halloween candy?

And next thing you know I’m eating Milk Duds.

Man, I don’t even like Milk Duds.

So why is Liz doing a Facebook detox through Christmas? Because of people like her husband. Because I am determined to show my super-ultra best self on social media.

No– wait. Even that’s not true.

It’s not true because me on a beach in Cape Cod with my daughter on my shoulders, hair coiffed, with just the right filter, on an autumn day? That’s not the best Conor at all. That’s the Conor I hide behind so that nobody asks me if anything’s wrong. Or worse, people thinking something’s wrong and not asking me and instead just talking about how something’s wrong with me behind my back. And of course something’s wrong! Because that’s life! But ain’t no way I’m gonna share that on social media. My problems are mine alone, and I’ll deal with them like a man: By sitting around in sweatpants with college football on in the background, eating old candy that he stole from his kids.

Now, the right thing to say – the rallying cry –  is that I’m going to start posting REAL STUFF on Facebook, right? Yeah! The revolution begins now, people! Who’s with me!?

But I’m not going to do that. Because I have my limits, friends. And I don’t need to be prancing around Facebook with caramel stuck in my beard and posting updates about how I just burned dinner but somehow found a way to blame my third grade son because he was asking me for help on his homework while I was cooking.

Check my feed. That picture ain’t there, people.

Facebook can be poisonous to our psyche. Liz is right to call it a detox.

The reason I restarted this blog was to try to work out where I’m failing. Not to beat myself up, but because I am human and deeply flawed. And the sooner I recognize that, the sooner I can be humble in front of my wife and my kids and ask for forgiveness when I screw up.

Then maybe I can tell my kids that it’s okay when they don’t know precisely what “Advent” means because I didn’t really know what it meant either and I’m forty three.

Speaking of which, I looked up Advent. “The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.” So technically it starts next week. In case you were wondering. But at least I know now. Because being ignorant doesn’t mean you can’t start learning new stuff. I encourage my kids all the time. And forty three seems like a good age to start encouraging myself, too.

By | 2018-01-20T15:13:37-04:00 November 27th, 2017|10 Comments


  1. Liz November 27, 2017 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Facebook is not inherently bad. It has many fabulous qualities. I just found myself getting too worked up over friends arguing about politics. And realizing every time I “liked” an article bashing a certain someone I was doing he same thing. So… yeah. Not holy. So it was just that. Instagram, on the other hand…

    (I love you.)
    (Also celebrating Advent is a very Catholic thing to do, which is why I learned it young…)
    (Also put down the Halloween Milk-Duds love. Those are gross.)

    • Conor November 27, 2017 at 7:58 am - Reply

      I love you too! And that’s another point I want to write about. You’ve shown me the way on that politics stuff. It ain’t easy.
      And I totally blame everyone else for the Milk Duds. Also, the name. Milk Duds. They don’t even sound good.

  2. Tracy November 27, 2017 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for this, my mom died a few days ago and I had been caring for her 24/7 for two weeks before that. My family is in another city and I’m here until I can get my dad settled. The extended family dealings have been brutal.I’m exhausted, discouraged, sad, and homesick. You just reminded me of my one, my church, my kids, where next week (thanks for the date, I was wondering) I can hopefully be there to set up the candles, to share dinner with my kids again, and to take my weary heart and refocus it towards the coming season. A way through.

    • Conor November 27, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom! Of course you’re feeling all those things. I’m grateful you have a church and a family to support you. These times like Advent can offer a little bit of peace in a brutal time. Praying for you Tracy!

  3. Lisa-Jane November 27, 2017 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Thanks for this! I can tell already that I’m going to enjoy your blog. I’ve been following you since I read the book. Great stuff! Your honesty is refreshing.

    • Conor November 27, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Thanks for reading, Lisa-Jane!

  4. Sharon November 27, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Hey Conor. Am so glad you’ve started your blog again. I used enjoy reading it before when you were on your travels. You gave me some sound knowledge of Hong Kong before I visited back in 2007.
    As for your post, I have to admire your wife’s stance on a social media detox. I’m not sure I could do it. I have learned over the years that most of social media is all fluff. Nobody is that perfect in real life and from what I’ve seen it’s all smoke and mirrors! That said, I’ve also seen Facebook as a force for good sometimes, where random strangers have come together to help each other out in times of need. It can be humbling sometimes. Thats the side of social media I do like. Well, that and pictures of cats of which I am incredibly guilty of submitting often!! 🙂

    • Conor November 27, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Yes! Totally agree. I get so caught up blaming the tool instead of considering how I’m using it. Birthdays on Facebook are amazing, and keeping up with friends is magical. So much good in there.

  5. Tricia November 27, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Connor we’ve never met but I know your precious bride and you have impacted my soul through your book so I’m excited about your blog (and I’m pretty sparing with blog reading, or responding to posts, for that matter). At any rate -to you and Liz-have a blessed season of hope and expectation- the promise of advent!

    • Conor November 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Tricia! Precious wife indeed. Wishing you a blessed season as well!

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