“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
Oh, Generation Y… The internet is buzzing about you, articles about how entitled you are, about how you may or may not save the world. How our parents are responsible by telling us we are special, we are whatever we want to be! I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly, obviously (I am a Gen-Y after all), you can create your life and your self in whatever way you like.
I keep reading these articles, searching for a bit of hope that it will help me with MY story. Of course that will never happen, I may find similarities… I may find polarizing views… but I will never find myself in other stories. This is something I think many of my generation take issues with. The internet gives us so much, an incredible stream of idea transference, stories, successes, shaming, uplifting, bullying, you name it… if it comes from the seed of an idea… the internet already has it by the balls.
We are all looking for a sign, to say “Hey you, you’re doin alright kid. You may be working four jobs, or unemployed, but good goin, you’re out there!”. Maybe you’re searching for validation, fifty hours a week at a job you hate, waiting for someone to say YEAH! YOU GO GIRL! just to get you jazzed about the weekend.
The problem and the solution lies at our adept fingertips: The internet. This place has it all. Imagine an enormous mall, but instead of shopping for material things, you can shop for ideas. Indie-rocker-bisexual? You’ve got it, just search those terms and click on the friendlier links… tons of indie rocker blogs, lot’s of LGBT support. On the other hand, your first result in Google may come up as a gay-bashing group, altering your mood (just a tad). We all place so much value on what we find on the internet, if it’s there… it is true right? Just like television and teenagers… everything found is truth.
Facebook is our lunchroom, only the cool kids (with the raddest selflies) get likes and pokes. You’ve got 15,000 friends online? F*ck yeah dude! Way to go! Your REACH is unreal. Tweeting, Linkedin-ing, Facebooking, Instagramming… every moment is a moment you can share online with all your friends! Like WOW! Never again do you have to call your parents to tell them about your new job… just update your status and boom, five minutes of your life are yours for the taking! Now you can Instagram your new shoes and see if they are cool or not.
We’re all so busy with our internet lives, that our real physical lives suffer. We can’t suffer one moment without our phones that keep us tethered to our “lives”… that you often see people texting and walking, googling while biking, even Facebooking while driving. Multitasking has become how most of us do every task.
Sometimes, when I travel… the first few weeks are like going cold turkey from an addiction… I sweat profusely when I think about having to recount the past weeks (wtf!) to my friends and family. How can I ever do that without my Facebook account and instagram? How will all my friends know what I’m doing? [Maybe I could update that website I started.]
Then, I catch myself. The social media addiction is a ridiculous, yet pervasive one. An incredibly pointless way to spend your time. I’ll be the first to point out that I love Facebook, it’s how I keep in contact with my friends in other countries, but when I’m home just a bit too long… I start looking at that little red “notifications” number as a salvation. How many people are interacting with me? Liking my stuff? This is ridiculous. Since when is my measure of worth down to a social media website. Well… since… we all make it that way. This is an added bonus to all the benefits of traveling. Out of your comfort zone means out of your normal zone. If your normalcy is tied to a projection of your internet personality, then get the hell out of there!
So I’m begging us all. Take a moment to stop and smell the neighbors. Talk in person. Host tech-free dinners. I’ve even heard of restaurants offering a discount to diners who will hand in their cellphones for the entire stay. If this doesn’t signal a problem in our society… I don’t know what does.
Where does my rant leave us all? Stop searching ONLINE for what, who, where, when, or why you SHOULD be, love, go, or do anything. Stop planning who you should be. A la Joseph Campbell, let go of that planning and just find what you love and everything else will come. Even if your job is what you hate. Do something outside of it that makes you forget about your online life for a moment. Stop Instagramming your damn dinner and look up at the person across from you. You’ll never find love, friendship, or passion in a photo filter or a Facebook poke.
We, Generation Y, cannot achieve world-mastery, or domination, or salvation… if we’re too busy looking down and exercising the dexterity of our thumbs. I understand that it’s a bit of a joke that this message is proliferated through my website, of which most of you find through Facebook, because we are friends and this is how I drive traffic to my ranting writing. So, thank you, social media addiction… I love and hate you.
If you doubt my thoughts on our addiction, feel free to check out this video and get back to me.