Have you been on Facebook lately and got really, really sad?
Well, maybe you haven’t, dear reader.
Never you, meekly eyeing this article as you sip from a half coconut, awaiting the inevitable interference of one of your attendant supermodels. (She will fling away your tablet and demand you scintillate them with one of your witty tales instead of reading boring words from a stupid screen.) Your life is of course far more interesting than that of the poor, grasping soul tapping in her darkened study, so Facebook doesn’t bother you in the slightest. Social media is yet another platform on which you can place your many trophies: “rich and varied social life,” “meaningful job” “travelling for work and play,””shiny shiny hair,” “biceps that could tear a bison in half,” “NYC,” and so on.
Well, I suppose I’m not talking to you. You can stick around if you want to (that’d be great!) but don’t neglect those poor supermodels, you cad. I’m mostly talking to the people with a compulsive and masochistic urge to witness events in the lives of others that give them no joy. Those people.
People like me: who experience social media as a cumulative stack of achievements against which the puny human body can only struggle. Me? I sit pinned to my increasingly lopsided office-chair by a combined crushing weight of guilt, wasted potential and paranoia. I write this little explanation for people like me: who very much want to be luminaries but barely sustain the glow of a 20-watt bulb under a tarpaulin.
“Turn off the damn facebooks then, fool!” comes the cry of the well-adjusted as they eat their daily balanced breakfast and read newspapers without plunging a grapefruit fork into their thigh. “Go out and LIVE!”
Which is an admirable conclusion: an assertive and positive reaction to an unnecessary self-inflicted emotional burden. But I am not that well adjusted person. My breakfast of black coffee and Guardian comment sections (never respond) doesn’t lead me to make sound emotional choices. I read dot-point articles and rock gently against my inertia, and that’s a productive morning. I know what I should do. I should go and start making up for an uninspiring docile life using the most sublime mechanism of spontaneous and transformational self-discovery known to mankind: a well-organised list.
A nice clean list with objectives, and timeframes, and KPIs, and a spreadsheet! I can schedule a quick meaningful life experience between work and grocery shopping on Tuesday! I’ll write up a budget for a journey of self-actualisation in the second weekend of November! I’m going to execute sprawling enterprises and projects requiring expertise across numerous fields and the support of well-connected people with just me and a google drive full of dreams.
And while I’m working on creating a life worth living in time for my looming expiration, I will take ten minutes in the morning and ten in the afternoon to scribble out my hopes and dreams and fears and confessions with some big colourful markers and give those to Facebook instead of the real stuff. So you show me your new house, and I’ll show you the time I flipped off The Oscars.
It’s just my way of saying ‘hey there, I’m not doing much right now but I haven’t stopped dreaming. Don’t give up on me yet.’