What's Beautiful Is What's Real.
So for the people who are connected to me on various social platforms, they know how active I am. #SorryNotSorry but today I'm going to talk about something I've been holding in for a long time.
Back in ummm 2010? Facebook introduced the "like" button, and I'd like to believe that's when everything about social media changed. I know what you're thinking: "Nicole are you dumb? Social media changed when Mark came up with Facebook itself!" and I agree with you, but hear me out. When we first had Facebook/MySpace/AIM statuses (lol), the purpose of these websites was to stay connected with friends and family, share what you have been up to and share material that otherwise would be a hassle to share via email. As users, we shared comments and posts but as soon as that damn thumb came into play, we sought after the attention. We've all been there, posting a picture or something funny or entertaining enough in hopes to provoke a reaction or a "hey I'm going to like this bc it's cool.” As time progressed, people started measuring their lives based off of how many likes they were getting and if what they're doing or sharing would be cool enough to post. We also started measuring our lives in comparison to other people we are connected with. Like that one friend from college who is going from hostel to hostel in Europe, or that coworker who gets bomb ass projects and travels to different countries, or that friend who you met at one party that you're not really friends with but still stalk because their life seems so eventful compared to yours. All of this validation-seeking and comparing will get you nowhere. I promise. How do I know this? Because I used to be one of these people too.
I used to think that my life in college/post grad wasn't "cool" enough to share. I saw people move to big cities while I sat at home and thought my life would start and end in good ole Michigan. I only shared things that sized up with others on social media. One day, I looked back (aka stalked myself) and had an epiphany.
"Dude this doesn't look like your life at all. This doesn't look fun, this looks dumb and like a facade. WHY!"
Being a 20-something millennial comes with a lot of benefits that people don't realize. Instead of putting together a life #ForTheInsta, just do you and your life will be blog-worthy no matter what. Because that's what life is: a blog. It doesn't need to be a certain way to be awesome; it's what you make of it. We are so caught up in comparing our lives to others on social media, that we forget to live our own or see the beauty in it. It brings us down. We feel pressured if our lives aren't matching up to our friends on the news feeds throughout the year, especially during the holiday times. (Shit dude, I saw those couples getting engaged and freaked out too.. It happens. But it doesn't mean that we aren't doing something right).
So many people have come up to me in the past two years with comments like "Omg I want your life, your posts are so cool" or "Come back to reality". Every time someone tells me this, I feel the need to correct them. This is my imperfect reality. I'm not doing anything special, nor am I anyone important. In fact, this never feels surreal or abnormal. It is not easy, it hasn't been. It's not always rainbows and butterflies, believe me, but you enjoy the best and worst of it. By God's blessings, I have a lifestyle I work hard for, friends that are amazing, and I like to have fun and share things along the way. My actions and myself are my own sources of happiness. It's not that hard. Photography, travel, having fun hobbies are passions of mine (ugh I should write that in my Tinder account in the info section lolz); but most of the time, life is about appreciating the small mundane things and enjoying the beauty of it and not sizing yourself to that one friend on Facebook/IG who seems to be doing better in life. Everyone isn't even 75% real all the time anyway; so don't hold your breath on that BS.
So I went from talking about Likes and attention to comparisons and validations. Woof, now you're probably thinking, "OKAYY what are you getting at?!" Well here it is:
1. Online and offline live your life for yourself, not for the validation or to keep up with others. If you're having fun, you won't care how people perceive your life choices or validate it.
2. Be positive and share what you want because you want to..not because you want to get 100 likes or in some cases, 386. (Lucky bitches. LOL jk)
3. Don't try to follow the norm and conform. That's hella boring. Hey that rhymes!
4. Be happy and keep it classy.
5. Over time, you'll have a virtual scrapbook to look at every damn day if you'd like. #ThanksCloud
Phew, I wrote this all on a morning flight where the people next to me keep wanting to get up and move around. Always pick the window seat guys, always.