Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dunbar's Number vs. Facebook: Epic.

I could definitely disappear.

Yes, I could definitely disappear.

Don't get me wrong: I love my kids and family with all my heart, but that doesn't mean I couldn't do it.

As an experiment, you know?

Have you ever heard of Dunbar's number?  The Wikipedia version is okay, just to get a hint of it:  it's not like we're writing a paper or anything.'s_number

(Edited to add:  No, I do not use Wikipedia for research papers.  *shudder*)

I read about this when I was doing research for an online sociology class I was taking last semester, and it amazed the hell out of me.  In a nutshell, the theory states that, largely due to the design of our brain's neocortex, there is a comforable limit to the number of relationships and direct interactions we can exchange without said friendships and relationships becoming a burden.  The number is said to be in the area of 100 and 230, with the common reference point being around 150.

150 friends and acquaintances.  I'd love that.

Apparently Dunbar's number has never met Facebook.

Yesterday was my birthday, as most of you know, and I spent a great deal of time responding to every single person on my Facebook page who took the time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday.  It was exhaustingly exhilerating, but reasonable, considering out of my 331 friends, I had approximately 75 birthday messages.  Of course, some came via telephone and text message as well, but it was a comfortable number, and I appreciated everyone who took the time to wish me well.

Yet, lurking in the depths of my mind, I could just disappear.

I'd be up for that challenge.  Sure, it would be hard saying goodbye to everyone I love, and I'm sure I'd oftentimes find myself wondering how so-and-so's change of employment went, or if so-and-so-else ever got over that nasty cold that had been plaguing the family, but I'd be alright.  I could happily buy a large plot of land somewhere, say, Montana, and go farm and herd the rest of my life away in the peaceful solitude one can only find on 100 acres of mountainous cow fields.  I'd write a lot, read a lot, maybe learn to knit.  I'd go exploring, find a hot spring, take pictures.

But then I'd think of my family.

Awww, hell.  I'm a softie.  What happened to me, turning all family and stuff?  Does motherhood/parenthood/wifehood take away our spontenaity?  Our zest?  Our love of adventure?  No.  It doesn't take it away:  it passes it on to our children.

I guess I realize now that my carefree days are over.  Did it take a 37th birthday to tell me that?  Now I live for the adventures of my kids:  Aidan's third day in second grade, Caleb's first teeth.  I speculate via Google, get my news from Facebook, travel across continents via whatever book I'm reading on Nook.  I enjoy the predictability of my peers, get my daytime laughs from talk shows, and send warm wishes via email.

God, I hate technology.

Still, I could always just disappear.

But I don't.

I've gotta go, it's time for Sesame Street.