Let me start by saying I’ve been horrible with this whole blog thing. I wanted to start a blog for a long time but not until I thought I’d be able to commit to blogging at least once a week or every couple weeks. Then, I finally started my blog. Then, I didn’t post for months. To the few subscribers I have, I apologize. I know your worlds haven’t turned in quite the same way since I last posted, and I vow to try harder to post more regularly. 😉
Anyway, social media is bugging me today, and I’m in a mood after a particularly crowded and sweaty metro commute. So, no recipes or cat photos will you find in this post—just a one-way ticket to rant city.
I like social media for the way it keeps people in each other’s loops. I enjoy seeing photos from people in my life whom I don’t get to see as often as I’d like—snapshots from their daily lives that include pictures of their faces, their babies, their animals, their food, their travels, their debauchery, their fitness achievements, etc. I like some of the funny articles and videos that are posted (although some of them aren’t funny, and there are never enough cats).
I do not like social media for the ease with which it allows people to post about politics, religion, etc. because so many people do so without being fully informed. The internet is a fitting outlet for people who feel just passionate enough about their beliefs to type them out on a keyboard but not enough to put them into practice in their own lives. Ouch. So true though. It’s a perfect avenue for people to denounce other people’s beliefs from behind the comfort of a computer screen. It’s all so judge-y, sometimes.
Please note that I am not completely cynical when it comes to people posting articles about hot-button topics on social media. Plenty of people are thoroughly up-to-speed on their issues of interest, and they do not post with the intention of belittling other people. Kudos to them. I think social media can be done well, and it can be an effective and appropriate way to raise funds, awareness, and discussions. But it should be used to raise people up without putting others down, and more often than not, that isn’t the case.
Perhaps my very least favorite type of article is the one that tells me what/how/where I should be at any given age and why. These aren’t controversial by any means, but they just piss me off so much. Countless links to articles and blog posts like these flood my feed daily. So many of them start with “______ why you should _____” and you can basically fill in the blanks…
- “20 reasons why you should be single in your 20s”
- “one million things you have to do before you’re 30 [insert ‘or you are a lame failure’ here]”
- “10 reasons you should be married already”
- “10 reasons why your marriage will fail because you’re too young”
These are total examples and not real articles, but you get my drift. I think that some list style articles are totally awesome, but these articles are the ones that suggest books to read, places to travel, things to eat, ways to improve one’s health, or ideas of ways to spend time with loved ones—articles that don’t simultaneously recommend one way of life while condemning others.
Articles that pick an arbitrary age and decide what any individual should do, be, have, like, accomplish, and/or aspire to before that age are bullshit. And the people that write them have to know that they are, right? Most (not all) of them work for trendy online publications that pander to and patronize the social-media-obsessed, and they are writing these articles to get clicks and page views because they know that these articles provide validation for people whose lives fit their mold—or anxiety for people who are feeling lost and think conforming to the ideals in aforementioned articles will help them find their way.
I’m 26 and married, currently without children. I see articles all the time that say this is right and articles that say this is wrong. Guess what? It is right for me, right now because I’m happy and because my life is the culmination of my decisions and circumstances. I hate that I’ve read articles that say my marriage is doomed because I’m too young, and I hate that any of my friends who aren’t married could read an article about why they should be married by now. You should get married when you meet someone you want to marry and you’re both ready for an enormous, hopefully life-long commitment. If you don’t meet that person, and/or you don’t want to get married, then you shouldn’t get married—and making that decision for yourself shouldn’t be considered abnormal.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is different from everyone else’s.
Also, these articles are unoriginal and over-done, probably a large reason why I find them so annoying. I should have made this a “20 reasons why I hate articles that start with ’20 reasons why…'” type of blog post. Irony. That’ll show them.
I even saw an article today about 10 things you NEED to learn to cook before you’re 30-years-old. I love to cook, but I still thought this was crazy—but not until after I stressed out for 10 seconds about having not yet perfected hollandaise. I’m 26 and my two hollandaise experiences have failed… I don’t think I’ll bother getting out of bed tomorrow. Then, I realized I am a self-proclaimed amaze-balls cook, and I think a lot of my friends and family would agree. Cooking and entertaining are two of my passions, but this one blog post had me nearly feeling bad about my kitchen skills. *Irritation with this type of article about to boil over* When is this odd judgment day coming during which all will be rewarded or damned based on their culinary prowess by age 30? I fear for my husband who thinks meat sauce burritos are acceptable to make and eat for dinner when I’m out of town. (Just kidding, AB – you’ve turned into quite the cook, but I’ll never let you forget your meat sauce burrito days.)
Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is that I hope none of you ever read an article stamped with an age, a list of criteria, and some random blogger’s seal of approval and let it make you feel inferior.
Whether you are happy with your life or not, at any given age, is the result of not only the decisions you’ve made but also the super wonderful or super shitty things that have happened to you by chance/fate/the grace of God/(feel free to insert whatever term works best for your beliefs here). If you are unhappy, try to find ways to make life better by filling more of your time with the things and people you love, if you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so.
Happiness isn’t a cookie-cutter kind of experience. It means different things for different people, and the articles I’m bitching about don’t ever take that into consideration. By all means, read on—but take publications like those with a grain of salt, and breathe easier, friends. Chances are, you’re doing just fine.