I dropped the ball and haven't written in a little while.
I've been busy with my job and moving into a new apartment. Yet, one day, when I still had one foot in my brother's apartment and one in my new studio, I slipped.
I saw my Facebook Newsfeed.
I don't usually do that.
I avoid my Newsfeed intentionally as I have discovered that I don't enjoy a website telling me what I am supposed to know about other people. If I want to see pictures of my friends I prefer them to be shown to me in person over coffee. Or in the very least, having been sent a particular photo directly because it holds some relevance for me personally.
That's not to say that I am not at times interested in the general shares of people that I know, but I am more than happy to seek that info out rather than just have it laid upon my virtual doorstep.
Perhaps I should go through and alter all of my newsfeed settings, but that is incredibly tedious. It's far easier to just avoid it all together.
Of course, the real reason that I don't want to view everyone's shares is that I find it incredibly unhealthy for myself. You know, the whole, "comparison is the thief of joy" concept.
I like to think that I have matured a whole heck of a lot with regard to that idea, but it's amazing how much I really don't want to know what is up with the vast number of Facebook "friends" I have that I no longer interact with.
This age of technology has seemingly pushed aside the forgotten art of losing touch.
Really and truly. Losing touch is not a bad thing. It makes room for the people and places that are your present.
That's not to say that you should lose touch with everyone. Some relationships are worth preserving and technology has made communication and interaction possible at a distance. Lovely. But I'm becoming more and more discerning with regard to whose lives I want to allow into my present day psyche.
I'm still figuring out what I want for my life and I have found that my desires can become tainted by viewing other people's choices if I'm not careful.
Yes, I am older and wiser than I was at 18 when this whole FB thing got going, but I'm not entirely confident that I won't be thrown off my rocker by attempting to keep up with the varied happenings and accomplishments of hundreds of people somewhere on the scale of acquaintance to friend.
I'm firmly in my late twenties now and I can say that my life is rather different from what I imagined as a teenager my circumstances would be at this age.
There was certainly a time when I thought that I would "have it all together" by my late twenties. If "having it all together" by now was some figurative target, it didn't pan out.
Although, I'm not actually sure what "having it all together" truly means. Society tends to label it as financial success, marriage, kids, homeownership etc. Those kind of things.
Those sort of things are great for a lot of people, but with the exception of the financial angle, they haven't been priorities for me while in my twenties.
And there it is. Surprisingly, after being sucked into a Facebook spiral that revealed that I can, indeed, still be caught off guard by the different life paths of old friends, I found myself having a bit of a revelation. Despite the many, many challenges, I've concluded that I'm kind of digging not "having it all together" quite yet.
I like the fact that I am a bit of a unwritten book. Everyone's story is still unfolding, but I'm pretty sure mine is still sorting out main characters and nailing down major plot points. I like that this is because I've got a multitude of interests, that I desire to pave uncharted territory and that I prefer a certain amount of unconventionality in my life. I enjoy the fact that I know what it feels like to have absolutely no idea how things are going to work out and to still be actively in the creating phase. I feel as though I have great loves and great adventures coming my way and while the uncertainty of it can be unnerving, I'm learning (ever so slowly) to trust in the process and enjoy the moment.
Here I am. Creating my own undeniably individual course. One day at a time.
Granted, for all of my lack of "togetherness" I suppose I've managed to meet some expectations of "adulthood" and make progress. I've never missed rent (though there have been close calls), I've spent many years able to afford my own apartment without roommates, earned multiple degrees and grown to like who I am as a person a little more each day.
And I guess that is where the joy in my lack of "togetherness" lays: in feeling as though I'm still growing. Despite my lack of many traditional benchmarks, I look back at how I thought and behaved at 18, 22, 25 and recognize huge positive shifts. Despite my own surprise at being in my late twenties, I'm really enjoying being 28.
I realize, of course, that no one ever stops learning, even after "getting it together." Whatever that even means.
Every day presents new wins and challenges that stem growth and there is no such thing as having it "All Figured Out." Still, I kind of like being in a place where I can freely admit to being unabashedly ambling in the wind for a bit longer.
I see some lights at the ends of tunnels, which is necessarily reassuring, but I'm still learning how to combine separate tunnels into one giant chasm that allows for all my varied passions to be tended.
I suspect that I am not alone in this. I think that my generation has experienced a large influx of unmet youthful expectations with regard to stability and supposed "American Dream" fulfillment coming at a young age. Those of us born in the 80's and 90's are being met with a different economic climate than those who entered the job market at that time. I'm not about to prattle on about student debt and unemployment as it is already being discussed at length by those with more education on the matter, but the point is that less of us are in our dream jobs, in committed relationships and feeling financially secure in our twenties. The technology boom, which has fostered increased communication, global interaction and entrepreneurialism, has presented us all with the wonderful ability to think outside of the box with regard to our livelihoods. With that, however, (and the aforementioned high debt and high unemployment) has come a shift in timeline for classic benchmarks. I rather like the fact that the checklists are being edited, but it can cause some internal struggle when society at large (especially older generations) still reinforce those guidelines.
Hence, I write this to tell my peers and fellow comrades leery of Facebook-comparison not to judge ourselves so harshly or feel as though we have come up short.
This is not an argument in favor of complacency, rather it is a suggestion to inject some kindness into whatever inner monologue is happening in our minds. Take away any previously held assertions and instead focus on our own happiness. Of all of the things to feel frustrated about, not meeting arbitrary benchmarks shouldn't be one of them. Sorting out life will always come with its unique set of complications and confusions so perhaps we can at least remove one unhelpful point of upset.
And even more importantly, for those who may "have it all together" let's be clear: you are allowed to still have crappy days. You are allowed to both love your life and be slightly envious of the freedom that can come with being a mess. You are allowed to one day wake up and decide that your current "all together" needs to change to a different version of togetherness. Just as we amblers are allowed to have the best of days (as well as the worst of days that lead to even better days). Amblers are allowed to both love the journey and sometimes shed salty tears of dismay. We are allowed to wake up one day and decide that our feet are tired and we'd like to hang our boots here for a while.
Photos via Pinterest