Is anything real anymore? Is anybody being their authentic self? Hellllloooo-ooo-ooooo?
It’s been on my mind so much lately. Maybe because I’m living in an upscale California community where designer lips are the norm. Maybe because our world is oversaturated with Instagram “models” and people selling their souls to the devil. Maybe because I’m tired of going to bed at night with blood shot eyes from staring at a screen all day. I’m negative, I’m jaded, I’m angry.
This kind of thing was in the media awhile back with Instagram “stars” coming forward and admitting that their perfectly filtered lives were unrealistic, untrue, and in fact undesirable. I thought maybe, just maybe, we were at a turning point. But it seems inauthenticity is what we’re all supposed to strive for. It still reigns in the virtual world that screws with the way we exist in the real world. Candid photos have gone from a roll of film that snapped at the wrong time to falsely looking down or away as your friends takes 16 photos. Enjoying a moment has turned into scouring the landscape for a photo backdrop, posing, then flying through the options and barely responding to those you’re with instead of soaking up the rest of the view. Hey I'm just as guilty.
I like to think our age group, the 20-somethings who are nostalgic of a time when we weren’t slaves to our devices, knows better. We got our handy dandy flip phones with a 45 text message limit (per MONTH!) in the 9th grade. Our social brains had largely developed before screens had a true shot at ruining our eyesight forever. We remember a time when you had to look up your crush’s house in the phone book and nervously dial the number, knowing full well their parents would answer. We know that being interested in someone is more than “sliding into their DMs”. Yet I admit, we get sucked into this behaviour… for the thrill, the convenience, the curiosity...name your vice.
Mentally our devices, and the applications we spend so much time on, give us information OVERLOAD… so much so that we think we need to be constantly activated, constantly stimulated and forget that we possess the ability to pass a minute more organically. Our brains need a friggin break. Remember as a kid how you’d stand at the bus stop and kick rocks or talk to the person beside you? Time would pass without playing a game on your tiny screen, without looking at news, and without constantly refreshing the page. I always talk about how lucky we were to have grown up without these “luxuries”. Even TV offered more of a social experience… we watched Young & the Restless every night in my house but in doing so we shared a common bonding experience. Something we talked about, something we shared… one plot line with a couple commercials thrown in. I didn’t have headphones in watching a show on my laptop while Mom played a game on her iPad, Slate sat there texting, and Dad checked emails on his Blackberry. It’s that crazy paradox of being more connected than ever before yet also so. damn. isolated.
I don’t want to leave you thinking I’m old fashioned and can’t embrace change. I got an Apple Watch* for my birthday for heavens sakes! As a consumer of social media, though, I can’t help but think that it all seems to have gotten out of control. We’ve become so obsessed with making our lives come across a certain way we’ve forgotten to live. So obsessed with letting our technology dictate our real life I truly fear we’re one step closer to being robots. This obsession is only exacerbated by platforms that make us compare our lowest moments to everybody else’s highlights. It’s enough to make ya go crazy.
And so my challenge to you: go outside, walk the dog, sit on a park bench, go a day without checking your social media. It’s freeing and you’d be amazed the things you can get accomplished. If it helps, delete the apps off your phone. I’m not challenging you to full on delete your accounts (though I’ve come close I do like to look back on my memories and post from time to time), just remove the apps. You’ll be shocked at the number of times you reach for your phone out of bordom, curiosity or just plain habit.
Because really, what are you going to miss out on? #ootd , #mcm , #baesic #onfleek #kuwtk #instaworthy .. take a seat lame-o hashtags. Be yourselves people, and focus on living authentically. Because we aren’t going to thrive in a world where we’re all clones (aka shitty versions of eachother) who pay no attention to one another and live within the confines of our screens.
*I'm most excited about having my Apple Watch so I no longer have to check my phone and get sucked into the never ending vortex of emails, articles, and 'grams. Now I only look when my wrist vibrates and tells me to.