I’m tired of social media

I really am tired of social media, but I don’t think I can stop. I’m too addicted to those little red flags that appear on Facebook when someone makes a comment or likes something I post. I get too much pleasure from hearing my cell phone buzz when one of tweets gets retweeted.

Even still, here are some recent observations about life in our all-too-digital world from a social media-weary 20-something.

  • Mine is probably the last generation that won’t spend literally our entire lives on social media. Think about it. When is the last time one of your friends had a baby and didn’t immediately post of a picture of the still-gooey child to their Facebook page? Our children will be on Facebook from the first first day they’re born. They’ll think nothing of it when their first words, steps and poos are broadcast online to 600 or 700 of their parents’ closest friends.
  • We should get used to wearing glasses. I swear my vision is deteriorating because of all the time I spend staring at screens. Most days I’m at my desk up to eight hours a day staring at a computer, writing. Then I have this tiny screen called a cellphone in my pocket that I’m basically chained to. Then there’s my personal laptop and television. I probably spend more time looking at screens than I do talking to human beings.
  • We are always reachable — and that’s not always a good thing. Remember when you could leave your home a few hours and no one had to know where you were? When your phone was a land line attached to a box that played your messages when you got home.? I barely do. I got my first cell phone in college. Now there’s no escape. Not to mention the fact that we broadcast where we are and who we’re with at every restaurant and in every city we visit.
  • We’re only half listening. If you’re talking to a Millennial, rest assured we have one ear on you and another listening for the buzz or ding from our iPhones that signals a text message or Facebook comment. One minute we’re in the room talking to you, and the next we’re sucked into this tiny device that’s talking to us.
  • We don’t need high school reunions.  This year marked my 10th since I graduated high school. My class planned a small get together just a couple blocks from where I work but I didn’t attend. Facebook makes it all to easy to stay connected to the people I went to high school with. I know where they’re living, whom they’re married to and (refer back to my first point) I see pictures of their children on a daily basis. I’m even connected to people I rarely talked to as a 17-year-old. I don’t need to spend 2 hours at a dinner catching up with people when I already know too much about them.
  • All this “connection” hasn’t made our relationships any deeper or more intimate. In fact, I’d say social media has made it more difficult to be real with people. When you look at my Facebook page, you’re getting a much more sanitized version of my life than the one I’m actually living. You see the picture of New York I posted (See? I’m worldly and well-traveled. Aren’t you impressed with me?) But you don’t read about the insecurities and the screw-ups I work through daily or the relationships in my life that are in shambles because of something I’ve done. Also, when was the last time you got an actual phone call from a 20-something? We’d much rather type as have an actual conversation. Some much of our communication is non-verbal that you leave out so much when you have written words.
  • Print isn’t king anymore. That’s not news to anyone but I’m nostalgic for a time when people referred a local daily newspaper or alt-weekly to find out where their favorite back was playing on a given night and for town gossip. Now, nothing beats Facebook for events and gossip. Perhaps that nostalgia is because my day job is writing for a newspaper.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

It gets better, girls

Note: Forgive the two serious posts in recent past. I promise I’ll get back to one-liners and amusing anecdotes soon.

I was browsing Slate.com when a blogpost about a relatively new trend among teenage girls on Youtube stuck out to me. The girls post videos of themselves asking the world to tell them if they’re pretty or ugly.

In one, a girl with dark-rimmed glasses and thick hair complains about having tiny teeth, big hands and small wrists. She tells her audience she sees herself as “this wicked ugly, fat thing,” and begs them to give her their honest opinion.

Even the cute girls are there with similar questions. They seemed just as unsure of themselves.

It’s difficult to watch these videos, partly because of how insecure the girls all seem. Mostly because of how much some of them remind me of myself at that age.

In middle school,  I was an awkward girl that people sometimes picked on.  Two large moles on both sides of my neck earned me nicknames like Frankenstein and Mole Girl until my parents graciously allowed me to have them removed as an eighth grader. I was weird, too, I’d say. Ultra-religious, awkward and shy, which i attribute to being home-schooled until fifth grade. In middle school I was still adjusting to the new environment.

High school was better but I was always self conscious about my weight and how tall I was.

I never posted a Youtube video of myself asking whether I was pretty. Youtube didn’t even exist yet. But I can relate to this desire for someone to validate my worth.

If I could say something to these girls, my message would be: it gets better. (Can I borrow that phrase from the LGBT community?)

Life gets so much better. Our entire culture is so obsessed with youth that you might make the mistake of thinking that these are the best days of your life.

Me circa 2001, 10th grade, in my natural state -- too blond hair and posing with my enormous rabbit, Roxy.

Me circa 2001, 10th grade, in my natural state — too blond hair and posing with my enormous rabbit, Roxy.

Don’t get me wrong, youth has a lot of positives and being an adult isn’t always fun, but the best kept secret about aging is that you also grow into yourself.  I spent my teenage years trying to make people like me and worrying about those who didn’t. Trying not to mess up for fear of being judged and disappointing people.

Life in my twenties has been about letting go of what other people think about me and finding the type of people who love me and make me come alive. It’s been about finding my own voice.

It gets better, physically too.

You’ll grow into your nose. Your skin will clear up (for the most part). And some day having thighs that don’t touch each other won’t matter at all.

I promise it gets better, girls.

You’ll learn that your personality and how kindly you treat others matter more than your dress size. That the parts of you people called “weird” in high school make you unique and interesting later in life.

You will fall in love with someone who makes you believe you’re worth loving, that you aren’t the ugly duckling after all. You will probably get your heart broken but it will be worth what you learn. Plus, you’ll break a few hearts, too.

Next month I turn 29. I have high hopes for my life as I ease into the next decade —  finding love, succeeding at my job, maybe a kid or two. (Maybe). But I can’t be sure of what will happen. I especially don’t know what life will bring your way, but I do know one thing: this, how you feel at this moment, will not last forever.

It gets better.