Sometimes I scroll through my Facebook timeline and I want to bang my head against the wall until blood spills out of my ears.* It can be downright unbearable yet I can never manage to pry myself away. It's always "oh look, so-and-so is angry about something" or "what's-her-face just got #engaged™." It's never anything useful and most of the entertainment value comes at the expense of others. (You know what I mean.) It's a constant battle to have the loudest voice, the most outrageous opinion, and the last argument. What's worse is that it's easier than ever to manufacture some kind of persona. As we delve deeper into ourselves as internet entities, face-to-face interaction becomes a lost art. Vulnerability becomes a rare gem. We're losing touch with reality and it's just no good. We have the ability to pick and choose which traits and moments we will wear like a badge of honor and which we want to tuck away in some forgotten corner. I take a look at my friends list and I think, "who ARE these people?" If you've never thought it, it's a legitimate question. These people will be able to ascertain a varied amount of personal information about you. Because of this common-knowlegde, we pander to them more often than not. It's not a good thing. In fact, it can be dangerous.
Real life is a very ugly thing. I wish I could un-tag myself from the memories of those who witnessed that time I pulled a Rachel-at-Barry's-Wedding coming out of the bathroom in church. Sadly, it's not that simple. With the modern luxury of being able to subscribe to a personality instead of truly "finding" yourself, it's easy to pick and choose what makes you, you. Do you ever find yourself making Spotify private so that you can listen to Hilary Duff without the fear of ridicule from your peers? Ask yourself this: why? Just because the digital age has made it incredibly simple (and quite convenient) to be privy to the lives of others does not mean that you have to be. It also doesn't mean that you should be selective about what you tweet/'gram/listen to/watch. It all comes down to this mind-blowingly simple concept: WHO CARES?
You're a mess. A beautiful, crazy mess. Your life is not picture-perfect. It does not come with a built-in Instagram filter. Chances are, you're a twenty-something just meandering through the labyrinth of life. It's really easy to become closed-off to other human beings aside from a tweet or a photo here or there. You need to realize though that the more accessible communication becomes, the less meaningful it is. The less meaningful you are. Instead of putting on a charade for everyone else, challenge yourself to become a better person starting from the inside. Once you're okay with yourself, you won't care how anybody else sees you. It's a little thing called confidence and it's tough to come by nowadays. I've been trying to purge my life of those influences and those toxic ideals. Sometimes I have to back away from my blog and social media and realize that I shouldn't be dressing, acting, going anywhere just for content, I should be dressing the way I want to dress. Doing what I want to do. Make sense? We all have our vices. What are yours? Once you identify them, you're halfway to a happier, simpler life.
- Go an entire day with little or no interaction on social media.
- After detoxing, make a list of what you enjoy. Not what you think others around you enjoy. What you enjoy.
- Identify the people in your life who live for the internet. Cut them out. They're not worth it. Time is precious and face-to-face (or even voice-to-voice) interaction is worth more than words.
- Practice self-love. If you love yourself flaws and all, others should as well. If they don't, they should at least respect you. If they don't respect that, they're not worth your time.
- Harness the power of the almighty unfriend button. Think to yourself, "would I sit down and have a cup of coffee with this person?" I've calculated a little set of criteria for whether I should push the button when the answer is "no." First of which is, "am I related to this person?" Hell hath no fury like that one aunt who didn't quite make the cut for friends list privilege. Chances are you're probably already learned this the hard way. Next, ask, "is this person helpful to my career, etc.?" I try to make contacts everywhere I go. You never know when you might need a favor, plus it's extra motivation to always see those people on your feed. Most of my friends list is now comprised of folks who are involved in the Philadelphia local news scene. It's incredibly helpful! Last, think of those people who are constantly getting angry and saying ridiculous things. Yes, it's funny but it's also infuriating. You should probably get rid of them. As soon as possible.
What do you think? It's all about living simply, loving yourself, and adjusting to this scary new world. I want to hear your thoughts and how you "do you" in this ever-more-digital world.
*After typing this little bit, I had to read it back to myself. I didn't want the point to get lost amidst a gross hyperbole but I realized that is it, indeed, quite accurate.