What will people remember about you if they hear your name all of the sudden? What will you leave behind on this earth, when you depart it?
I’ve had some dark and twisty days during this pandemic.
One day while I was psychoanalyzing myself I realized that in true millennial form one of my toxic traits is spending too much time on social media, particularly Instagram.
I’m not the first to say it. But think in the age of social media it can be easy to get wrapped up in the highlight reels. In this culture of public displays of perfection and constant, round the clock performance.
We post things for “clout”. We monitor our amount of followers, likes. We keep tabs on other people and do everything we can to keep up our own appearances.
But what does any of this even really matter? What is the meaning? Are our social media profiles really all that we have to leave behind when we die nowadays? Is that our legacy?
Obviously no but sometimes it feels like it.
These common patterns of social media influencing and consumption can really take a toll on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. When you start living life in the shadows consuming bits and pieces of other people’s day-to-day it can be destructive to your own, especially when you are vulnerable not feeling joy or fulfillment in your own.
You can start to fall into destructive thought patterns, questioning how likeable you are in real life. You start giving more weight to other people’s real or percieved opinions and lose track of your own. You start to lose sight of your own dreams because everyone else’s are all you see.
I follow a podcast on spotify called the Art of Charm, and listen occasionally when I am in a headspace that’s allows me to focus for more than five minutes at a time. This is an unfortunately seldom occurrence, as I am easily distracted by my own wandering mind.
They hosted an expert named Andrew Horn who talked about his negative view of technology and its impact on our social skills, relationships and mental health. He explained how social media habits and patterns become destructive to our well-being when we go from active to passive consumers. When our usage is no longer interactive. The term he used was passive browsing.
AKA tap tap scroll, tap tap scroll.
If you are not actively engaging via comment sections, direct messages, responding to posts etc. you are doing nothing but killing off time and your soul.
Ok that might be over exaggerated and a little bit morbid but you get where I am going with this.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and worldwide protests, my feed became inundated with posts re: the race war we are facing in America. I was particularly interested in the posts that called out everything that is wrong with the way white people approach allyship to align themselves with BIPOC.
Little did I know that in learning about white privilege and anti-racism, I would learn about something about myself.
When I first heard the term performative allyship and read the corresponding definition, I also arrived at a cringey conclusion about myself.
I realized that I was kind of living a performative life. I had become a human doing, and was no longer acting like a human being.
I was going through the motions of life but didn’t really feel like I had anything tangible to show for it. Performative thoughts and action serve no real purpose. While Instagram you may be fun and aesthetically pleasing, IRL you may be lackluster and average at best.
Life is supposed to be experiential. Intentional. Meaningful and fulfilling, right?
Meanwhile I haven’t felt true joy since about February and have a panic attack if I leave the house without my phone. We are tethered to our screens.
I remember being on a call with a recruiter early on in my job searching I was asked, what gets you up in the morning? The amount of “stumped” I felt when posed with that question was nothing short of embarrassing.
Well besides a full bladder, lately I’ve been waking up and rolling out of bed just to get through another day.
So as it relates to the questions I’ve found myself pondering. I guess the purpose of this post is that I want to transform my life from a performative one to an intentional one. Although we are required to spend most of our time in front of screens, TVs, phones, computers, I do not care to be remembered by a cute selfie or a clever caption. I do not care to continue poisoning my own past, present and future by comparing what I’ve got to what other’s do.
It’s time to stop pretending. It was time to stop like yesterday. If you’ve got any tips, tricks, or even just thoughts about how to preserve intentionality and stay actively connected/engaged, I’d love to hear em!