A few weeks ago I was doing the one thing that I try not to do when it comes to social media- getting sucked in by other people’s lives. As someone who, for work purposes, spends a lot of time looking at social media, I try and make a conscious effort not to spend ages trawling through status updates and looking at what people I don’t really like that much had for breakfast. But it happens. Last week I stumbled upon a load of tweets in a row from people who had just done massive things- moved house, bought a house, secured a job abroad, announced an engagement, they just kept coming. I don’t’ even personally know a couple of the people who had tweeted. They’re just people I sometimes talk to about writing or travel or hangovers or how cut their pet is.
I did have a small internal panic about it, because why aren’t I spending my Thursday night announcing that I’ve basically ticked all adult boxes and am winning at life in every aspect? Instead I was just lying about, too tired to blow-dry my hair and wondering if there was any feta cheese left for lunch the next day. We’ve all had a mild ‘why is everyone doing better than me?’ flutter in our brains, social media induced or otherwise.
Luckily, I only really feel that way if I’m down on my luck, having a bad day, really tired or upset about something else. I can keep an arms-length mind set to all that I see when I scroll and I’m thankful. But when it happens, it spirals and I can’t understand why I haven’t travelled to 200 countries, started my own successful freelance company and done up an entire house ready to home my children and inevitable dogs. Isn’t so lovely when our brains are rational and reasonable and take it easy on us?
Some people just seem to have lives that are full speed ahead all the time. They just do things and then they do more things and before you know it they’re making you feel like a total failure and leaving you feeling the need to start spooning Nutella into your mouth and rocking backwards and forwards. But that’s’ what we get for having all this information about other people, in text and photo form. We crave it, we search for it, we lap it up and we join in. don’t get me wrong, I love social media and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve carved a career out of it, so I’m not about to start calling for some mass social media cleanse where we all ditch our smart phones and wifi and sit around talking more and drinking coconut water. God no. But just as I have to remind myself time and time again, there’s absolutely no harm in coasting.
Coasting along and taking things at a comfortable pace never did anyone any harm. You don’t often hear confessions where people say “I did things in my own time, when I was ready, I learned a lot and I didn’t rush into mistakes and it’s such a massive regret.” I’m all for comfy coasting, it’s pretty much been the story of my life so far. I haven’t particular rushed anything and I don’t confuse that as boring. I’m also well up for taking risks and throwing caution to the wind and sorry for sounding like your thirteen cousin, but YOLO. I really think the YOLO attitude is important because until someone proves otherwise, I’ll stick with the idea that we really do only live once.
We are the generation that takes photos of our granola to showcase to our followers and we are the generation that has more free platforms of expression than you can shake a stick at. In many ways it’s weird and wonderful and great things come from it, but we have to make sure we don’t feel lowly, or inferior or like we’re wasting our time because someone else’s Instagram says they just promoted and are off to New York to celebrate. We just have to keep on coasting and wait patiently until it’s our turn to tweet our triumphs and do some gloating on Facebook.