Looking London, Talking Tokyo — this analogy is true today for millennials and even Gen Ys (born between 1989 and 1997). The situation is turning into an issue that can get uncontrollable if we do not take cognisance of it soon.
We wake up and instead of picking up your toothbrush, we scroll, scroll and scroll. We do not find anything productive by scrolling. Of course, tracking our medicine or even finding a hospital bed empty to get Covid treatment is a different scenario.
But what we do end up doing the first thing in the morning is filling our minds with the competition that is seldom needed at that hour of the day. Seeing your friend’s night out, their relationship posts, camaraderie and your peer’s marriage add to the anxiety that we are not wired to handle well in the morning. We end up comparing ourselves to them. How beautiful their life is, the pitiful lifestyle I am living in, how fluttering their relationship looks like, how many achievements she has got, and me, well!
The truth is that we were not taught how to handle these uncertain things. Our brains are wired to take in only so much right after it wakes up. Whenever we wake up, our brain’s stimulus is adapted to only certain trajectories. Talking about our childhood, these trajectories were either video games, board games or even completing our mathematics assignment.
In a way, we were to consume information that we knew in our minds. We knew what completing our math assignment looks like — we would be spared scoldings from our parents. But in the age of social media, we would not know what these social media posts in the morning will do to us.
In the morning, not only does sunlight enter your room, but the friend you were very close to has gone to a scenic place. You get to know all this not through personal conversations, but social media posts. This hurts you. This creates some anxiety inside you.
How come did she not tell me? She did ask me if I was free this weekend, but I was on a clock and had to finish my presentation. Next thing you know, they are there. Without you. The situation does not end here. The comparative idea of making the most out of the weekend comes to your mind, just because you saw something in the morning by scrolling, which made you restless for a while.
To cope, weekend blues started hitting you. These blues create a neuron message inside your head to make your weekend most productive, which is not at all related to work. I mean, that is what a weekend is supposed to be: going out, hanging out with friends, snapping a steering wheel even though you’re not in the driving seat.
We have become our own shadows. We are not really who we perceive to be in front of social media. It is not that we are not enjoying our own selves, but the idea of being our perfect selves on social media and showcasing how our lives are so perfect by adding filters and snow-white captions tells us how influential this social media has grown into being.
We cannot do without sharing a picture of our dinner date meal. We cannot do without making a video while the driver is driving, even if it means hovering the phone around the driver’s seat. We are not really this person, yet we turn out to be. We are not the captions we think of all day, we are not the filters for which we spend almost 15 minutes before posting the picture.
Yet, somehow, we are convinced that competitive posting is healthy living. No, it is not. While sitting in a restaurant, the real background story might be that you had a big fight with your partner. You are really upset and to compensate, you want to change your mood. Your partner was not really up for it, still, he had to agree. But on Snapchat, you post this surreal caption with that meal, without mentioning the conflict with your partner.
With that mirror facade of a photo, viewers believe how lit your life is. You end up seeking validation from your viewers so that you can actually enjoy the moment, which you already are, by eating that delicious pasta. Even your partner is sorry for that argument and has mended ways by now. Yet, your happiness did not come as a cherry on the top because you did not receive any response on your post, no reaction. You end up going home, disappointed.
It is not our fault. Seeking validation fuels our fire. This mirror image of a very splendid life we live is nothing but an illusion of the greater good. We are becoming our own imposters. Sometimes, we do not recognise ourselves. Seldom do we know that we ended up spending over 45 minutes scrolling, scrolling and scrolling. We are so fatigued by this inactivity that we cannot get past that security gate to buy fruits for ourselves. And worse, yet, our grocery items are lying in the shopping cart on that app, but we cannot check out — the price is high and it is making us indecisive and concurrently, we can afford Apple 12.
What are we turning into? Remember, we are still our own heroes. We can pull the plug before it is too late. Stop being an imposterr to your own selves. There is something real out there. Have a concrete conversation with your friends, invite them over for dinner, make the moment enjoyable. But don’t be a xerox of something you are not supposed to be.