I was in my early 20’s when Facebook came out. I saw it at first when I was at work and my friend was going through a bunch of photos of happy looking people on her account. It was a group for one of her courses in university. It made me think to myself “I better not touch this program, it will make me depressed.” I felt behind in my life. The thing that made me feel the worst about myself at the time wasn’t my job or living situation. It was my lack of boyfriend situation. I was lonely and it was very difficult to watch those around me who were in love and for some reason, everyone was getting married at the same time. It was a very expensive year. Why would I want to subject myself to a network of happy people, most of whom I probably didn’t like, when I was so sad?
I knew that Facebook would be horrible for my self-esteem, and it was very possible that I would end up stalking a bunch of people and could possibly have restraining orders against me (joking), so I decided to stay away. Sure, it sucked when my friends had to remember to email me about parties, but then I had a great excuse if I didn’t want to go to the parties (I’m severely introverted, and parties can be tough on me when I don’t know a lot of people.)
Fast forward 10 years. My life is what I wanted it to be. It’s later than I had planned when I was young and naive, but I’ll take it. I’m trying to find my purpose now, which is ok. I think I have that in the works, and just writing this right now is an example of that. I’m at a point where I’m ready to share parts of me with the world. I am a very private person, but I feel that by sharing tidbits of my life, maybe I can connect with others who have had similar experiences, and help others who are going through them right now.
I can understand why there are so many studies out there on the link between depression and social media. Why is it that in our culture, we get self-satisfaction by comparing ourselves to others? Why do we want to be like the Joneses so badly? Why do we try so hard to keep up with them? What makes these Joneses so great anyway? What makes them better than you or I? Is it because they have a nicer house? Is it because they look happier in a photograph? Is it because they have material possessions that you wish you had? Are they doing anything that brings value to the world? I’m so glad my name isn’t Jones…
I think it’s time to shed these feelings that only lead to self-destruction. I think it’s time to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to fit into certain molds. I think it’s time to live our lives on our own terms and say “screw ‘em” if others don’t like it. As long as we’re not hurting anyone, who the hell cares? Let’s shed attachments to the baggage that bonds us to misery. Let’s contribute to society and grow and teach and lift others up, instead of comparing ourselves to them and bringing us down. Let’s be socially responsible and reduce our carbon footprint for future generations. Let’s be rebels of our own time and make this world a better place. Can this happen? It will if we make it happen. Maybe it already is happening, I don’t have Facebook, so I wouldn’t know.