I saw a Tweet in my timeline the other day.
My kneejerk reaction was to Retweet it. "Hells yeah!" I thought, "I don't want to live an ordinary life..." Ordinary is boring, ordinary is lifeless, ordinary is unhappy. Who would possibly want that?
I didn't Retweet it, but it did make me think. I'm 37 and my life is ordinary as fuck. And I think the same can be said for most of us. No, not the 1%. Us, you know - regular folk. Life is ordinary.
And that is okay.
It doesn't mean our lives are boring, lifeless or unhappy. But, they can tend to seem that way if we're constantly comparing ourselves to others...
"Comparison is the thief of joy" - Theodore Roosevelt
I've felt for a long while that I spend too much time on social media. So I've made a commitment to spend less time on it. Simple. It's not easy, mind you, social media is, whether you will admit it or not, addictive. It's also massively destructive, and I can only laugh at one of Facebook's founding principles, that is of creating an environment of, "openness and transparency, where friends connect with each other about things they care about..." because we plainly live in a time where almost the exact opposite is true. We're certainly more divided than we ever have been, connected, yes, but divided.
And the same is true for all social media platforms. They're all the same in my opinion. Just that some are worse than others, and some diminish the joy derived from life more than others. Because when we're on them, we can't help but compare our lives to the live's of others, often strangers, rolling out in front of our eyes, one Tweet at a time, one Status Update at a time, or one Photo at a time. We compare.
"Oh look at this guy, all bitter an angry, I'm glad I'm not that bitter and angry..."
"Oh look at so-and-so boasting about that job promotion. FML I'm broke and stuck in a rut..."
"Oh look at her, on holiday again in another beautiful location. What the hell am I doing wrong that I can't vacation as good as her...?"
Paradise. Paradise. Paradise.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and when we spend inordinate amounts of time looking at and perhaps unknowingly comparing ourselves to others, we start thinking that our lives are boring and that in some way we are worse off.
Except the thing is, social media is a window - a porthole window - into the other people's lives. A snapshot, a thought, an experience, all mostly positive (okay, perhaps not Twitter), and when you endlessly scroll through a blur of only positive, beautiful things you get the impression that somehow everything you're seeing is permanent, that all those beautiful, positive things are happening all the time in those people's lives and not in yours, and that can be incredibly destructive.
Everyone's life at some point is ordinary. Everyone. The celebrities, the influencers, all the beautiful people posting about and seemingly always doing beautiful things, even they eventually have to do the mundane ordinary things we do. We just don't see them. Because that's not what social media encourages.
My life is ordinary and that's okay. And for me, the key is being able to derive joy from the ordinary, from the mundane. It's possible, I promise, but perhaps that is a topic for another time. Until then, maybe pick your phone up a little less, maybe make try make a few more real world connections. I know I'm going to try.