If it isn’t on social media, did it even happen? We live in a generation where nothing is sacred. You went to a college football game last weekend? Instagram a photo -- otherwise, it doesn’t count. You met Justin Bieber? Unless he favorited your post-Bieber hug tweet and you Snapchatted the entire encounter, I’ll never believe you.
A couple you know just went to the grocery store and now they're going home to make cookies and watch The Notebook? Thank you for the update Twitter, I’m not sure what would have happened to my Thursday night without that pertinent information. You broke up with your boyfriend and he’s dating someone new literally the next day? Here, let’s have Facebook show you a memory from five years ago when he posted a sweet message on your wall. You know, just because moving on is already a nightmare without the added constant reminders of how in love you once were.
I wasn’t designed to live in 2016. Every time I scroll through my Instagram account, I am amazed at how many likes some people garner. 263 for a girl in a crop top, glancing off into the mysterious distance as she holds an ice cream cone that I doubt she even ate (really, no one has abs like that and eats a chocolate dipped twist). But the guy who just got back from a mission trip in Haiti where he built a school, passed out drinking water to struggling villagers, and helped distribute vaccines to babies might receive 40 likes. MIGHT. What is wrong with the world we live in?
A few weeks ago, I posted a selfie. My makeup was done, it actually looked decent, and my hair was curled. I felt like it was a momentous event so I shared a photo the next morning. 102 likes. I felt validated, as if each notification was further proof that I’m not completely horrendous. My confidence ebbed forward each time my phone screen lit up.
A month or so later, I posted a photo of the Bible study I am currently doing. I wanted to share my experience with the text, especially in relation to how stressed and overwhelmed I’ve felt with school, work, and life in general lately. It was a testament to my faith and how God guides my way, not a view everyone agrees with, but one I have built my life around. 34 likes.
I’m not saying my spirituality should motivate people to double tap or that I measure my perspective of myself and others by their inclination to show me some social media love, but I do wonder...what do we value? What do we appreciate and admire when we look at the people we follow, both online and in life? Yes, I would kill for some crop top worthy abs, but my happiness doesn’t depend on how great I look eating ice cream.
I just miss the days, or lack thereof, where you could enjoy something without having to share it with the world. I’ve fallen into the black hole of social media obsession, too. I plead guilty. I can’t go to a concert anymore without recording the entire thing and putting it onto some online avenue. If my dog is doing something cute (let’s be honest, that’s always) I have to add it to my story. A great song comes on while I’m driving back to Colorado? Welp, better let everyone know.
I just miss simplicity. I miss a guy actually calling me on the phone or hitting on me without saying the words “fire” or “bae.” Seriously. I miss dating being an actual investment in something more than who you’re going to the movies with tomorrow night (do people still do that?). I miss being able to get over a break up on your own terms, the type of resolution where you can rip the rearview mirror off without it being resurrected as a “we care about your memories” post a year later. Facebook, you don’t care, and a part of me feels a Beyonce level rage about your “I ain’t sorry” attitude.
I love how easily connected we can all be to one another and to what’s going on in the world via social media. I love that I can write and share my angry rants with you because of how we utilize the internet. It’s amazing to me that because of one Facebook post about an elderly man in Chicago selling popsicles, he now has more money than he’s ever had in his life and can spend the remainder of his days with his family, resting, like he rightly deserves.
I live for the adorable photos my friends post with their husbands, babies, and of their awesome accomplishments. It makes my heart happy to see others happy. But I just wish we could balance the sharing online with the sharing in reality. I wish we could develop relationships and friendships with one another over a cup of coffee instead of in the comments section of a video on YouTube where a beautiful little girl reenacts Tangled with her dad.
I know I’ll stay single until I find the type of man who asks me to go to church with him and holds my hand in front of his friends instead of DMing me on Twitter or Snapchatting me from across the room. Dude, we’re in the same room. Yet, I feel like social media has almost ruined the chances of either of those things happening.I know it’s nearly impossible, and I know it won’t be easy, but can we all just try to treasure the intimate and the sacred as exactly that? Yes, please share your cat videos with me and always pass along the Michael Jordan crying memes, specifically the ones of Cam Newton after a DeMarcus Ware sack. But if you’re on a date, be with that person and only that person. If you’re hugging Justin Bieber, please hug him hard enough to feel every muscle in his back and then accurately describe his gorgeous physique to me in detail over brunch, but don’t send me a photo. Please. And don’t tell me anything that came out of his mouth. It’ll ruin it.You’re a millennial, so rock the title. Rock the advent of social media and the empowerment every online outlet gives us. But don’t forget that you’re also a human being. Absorb the experience of life being lived in the moment. It isn’t on social media? Thank the Lord in heaven. You lived it. Keep it to yourself because guess what: it’s your memory, your relationship, your Justin Bieber dream come true. Keep it that way.