Being 23 comes with its battles. Questions such as, “Is this skirt too short for work? How do I go about cooking meat that isn’t frozen chicken tenders? Is it bad if I want to go to bed at 9 p.m.?” have become routine as I cross the bridge between college student and adulthood. But the question that is the most invasive, the most constant, and the most pressing, is this one:
“Am I doing enough for my future?”
I spend a lot of time worrying that I haven’t accomplished enough — that I won’t accomplish enough. So much time scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, staring at perfectly filtered photos reflecting exactly what my friends want them to say. That sunset-lit proposal on the beach? 151 likes. The status announcing admission to grad school? 24 comments. The company you tagged on Twitter — your first “real job?” 7 retweets.
Usually, the photos and status updates are thinly veiled versions of bragging, and that is why so many twenty somethings feel they haven’t accomplished enough. We get notifications (literally) of every little achievement of every one of our friends, and that is a lot of achievements that aren’t our own. Panic becomes default when you are bombarded with things you haven’t done yet.
I am guilty of this, too. I don’t tweet about my bad days or the days I spend worrying about work, family, and the future. We choose how the world perceives us. Unfortunately, that is not always how we perceive ourselves.
This summer (and long term, but this is a good time to start), I want to change how much time I spend scrolling through other people’s lives and filters. I don’t want a filter on my own life — the one I live really, not the social media me. It is so easy to forget that life does exist even if you haven’t told all your followers.
Life happens even if you don’t tweet about it.
I wish more people chose honesty in the world of social media and internet communication. Maybe then, we wouldn’t feel like we aren’t keeping up with the crowd. Stacked up against the achievements of everyone else, we are never enough. Lately, I have noticed myself doing this more and more, too.
So here are a few things about me, #nofilter.
1. I’ve started doing yoga because maintaining calm is not a skill of mine. I tweet sarcastic things regarding flexibility and savasana, but the truth is I started doing it to worry less.
2. I truly hate driving. I once drove into a pole in a parking garage.
3. My guilty pleasure is the TV series Grimm. I started watching it in December of 2013 when my boyfriend became my ex-boyfriend. It is weird and addicting in a fiend-fantasy kind of way.
4. I have a 9-5 that is my first full-time job. On Facebook, I would say, “I am so excited for this new opportunity! Can’t wait to get started.”
On Twitter: “Starting my first full-time job today! #cantwait #adulting”
On Instagram: *a picture of my new desk with lo-fi filter* Caption: “My first real desk at my first real job.”
But here, in this space, I will say that sometimes I come home too tired to pick up a pen.
Sometimes I hate that I still live with my parents.
Sometimes I eat nothing but a Hostess cupcake for lunch because I slept in too late to make a sandwich and I am too cheap to spend $10 on a meal.
Frankly, I am exhausted of the filters. A goal of mine is to spend less time comparing and more time doing. To spend more time with notebooks, mountains, and my dogs. Real things. Not the things I choose to announce as real.
Social media — and yes, blogging — have given us all a way to publicly display who we are to the world. On this blog, I choose myself. #Nofilter.