Thursday, November 12, 2009

Facebook, Farmville & Fighting Cancer

I attended a networking session last week where it was suggested to me that I might like to try Guided Imagery to help combat the stresses of dealing with my stupid cancer. My immediate thought was, why the hell would I need to when I have Facebook ?

I discovered Facebook about a year ago and I can tell you I have drunk a kegful of the Kool Aid. I LOVE it ! I get to be the "me" I was before all the cancer crap came into my life.

In my Facebook world there is no cancer. Just me and my virtual pinup board which charts, in pictures, the most wonderful moments of my life and is a rich history of friendships formed over many years from childhood, the schoolyard, university, work life, travelling abroad, marriage to present day. Life's magical journey, fully documented, and relevant to somebody, somewhere in the rest of the world.

I get to be witty, fun, mysterious, flirty, seventeen, twenty one, thirty five, world traveller, arbiter of popular culture, gossipy, icon of coolness, 80's music aficionado, literary genius, reporter of current events, tastemaker and above all a picture of health in the minds eye of my Facebook family. Well, at least that's how I like to use it.

I am surrounded by my loved ones 24-7, in all manner of far flung corners of the world and there is always someone to talk to, laugh at, gossip about, learn from, read about, catch up with, no matter the time of day or night.

Updating my Facebook status, although annoying and mundane to some, is a real opportunity for me everyday to find joy in the days events and shout gloriously to the rest of the world that my day wasn't wasted. With Facebook, I never feel alone. Ok, that's a multimillion dollar ad campaign right there. Excuse me whilst I go and call my agent to discuss terms.....

Whilst you're all still here for the ride, let me tell you about another joy of Facebook which I only just discovered. Farmville ! Yes folks, that's right, Farmville ! Why would I need to go into a darkened room with an aging hippy, listen to monotonous ohm chanting, to take myself on a mystical journey to find my inner fourth chakra that will apparently fight my cancer cells if I just focus, when I could just log on to Facebook and go play Farmville ?

What a wondrous and devilishly delightful guilty little pleasure this has become for me. There's something completely mesmerising and hypnotically peaceful, about virtual agriculture and animal husbandry. I find myself completely enraptured by the inner workings of my virtual farm, and take the responsibility of keeping my farm beautiful (and profitable) very seriously indeed. It's a gorgeous place I have created. A little cottage in the corner with flowers in the garden, surrounded by a hedgerow and all manner of fruit trees. Walking down a path and out the front gate, there are fields of potatoes, pineapples, coffee beans, carrots, a little pond with ducks and turtles, and whatever else takes my fancy that day. The animals are healthy and happy in their paddocks with hay and water troughs, and even trees to shelter under when the heat of the Farmville sun gets to hot.

In Farmville, the sun always shines, the animals make contented noises, and Mother Nature is generous with her bountiful gifts. My husband has also got in on the game now, and I think he also finds similar attractions in being able to retreat to the fantasy farm-life we have created, and spends time in the evening perfecting our own little slice of paradise. We want to live on our farm.

I know some people think Facebook and games like Farmville are a waste of time, but when you're living with cancer, the real world can be a lonely old bitch and sometimes it's nice to have a place to retreat to that doesn't involve wheat grass enemas, inner chakras and motley old hippy yogamasters.

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