To hell with it. Just say it. You are unhappy.
You try to put up a good front for everyone to see. It used to be difficult even long before the days of social media. When you were a young’un and the beeper was still a thing. That’s when you said to yourself, “not going to let myself be tied down like that”. A beeper or a cellular phone phone the size of a brick. These things did not seem like freedom back then. They seemed. . . douche-y?
Beepers faded away and new cellular phones were made smaller, cheaper, and easier to carry around. Suddenly it made good sense to have a cellular phone. They would be good to have in an emergency, which is the kind of thing your mother might say. What if your car stalled on the highway, for example? Take the cellular phone with you just in case and be careful.
Technology made it where the internet could be on our cellular phones. Suddenly you were a big deal. Before then, you had to use the internet at a computer. You couldn’t take the internet with you wherever you went. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves but did he have the Internet on his phone? He didn’t even have a phone, the big prissy-pants.
In less than ten years, America went from largely without these things to incorporating them in daily life. We were taking pictures of our food and using our phones while driving. They stopped being cellular, became cellphones, then became phones, and now may not even be phones depending on what gadget is in use.
And while this may sound like the rant of a curmudgeon or a Luddite, let me bring you back to the beginning where I said: you are unhappy.
You? Yes yes yes you yes yes yes you and you might even be MISERABLE. The rapid development of technology in your daily life has not made you feel better.
You are now able to connect with so many people all over the world. You can check in at a concert you’re at, take a picture from the event, upload it to your IG account with the location pinpointed. You’ve staked your territory. You were there. You can use your phone’s camera to video-record portions of the concert. You can upload that video later to your IG stories or your FB account or whatever social media you prefer. People will like your photo, they will heart it. You will be rewarded for your photo and your check-in and your video, especially if the video shows something out-of-the-ordinary like one of the performers having a meltdown.
Every heart, every like, every notification a short and sharp jolt of excitement to your overstimulated brain. You have been acknowledged, if momentarily. It is nice but fleeting. You are still unhappy.
Something is gnawing at you. All of this has been made for you. This has been
sold given to you and you are still not happy. You put up a good front because you see everyone else on your social media and how happy they seem to be. They are going to concerts and the zoo and playing with their pets and going to the park and doing the things people have always done. People will do these things thousands of years from now too, but will they be any happier? That cannot be known.
If we were being honest with the rest of the world we engage with and ourselves, our IG photos would largely be unfiltered and un-retouched and they would be of us slumped on a couch tired. We wouldn’t take multiple pictures of ourselves in the same spot with the same pose just to make sure the lighting was right. We wouldn’t use self-timers to take posed pictures. The pictures we post of our food would be of an entire carton of ice cream or a bag of potato chips or a bologna sandwich and it would look as drab as life typically is.
We wouldn’t just check in at concerts, sporting events and movies but at the quick care and the pharmacy and the grocery store and the funeral home and all the places we go between our birth and our death. If we could be upfront about ourselves, we would show the warts-and-all of our lives.
Maybe not literally the warts.
We would admit how unhappy we are and how tired we are of trying to keep up that appearance. Because if we are actually living that happy, blessed life that we show in our social media then we’re probably making a lot of people including our friends bitterly jealous.
But if we’re not (and let’s face it, most of us aren’t) then we are lying to ourselves and everyone else and we need to stop it.
That really would be a breakthrough, wouldn’t it?