I waste an alarming amount of time on Facebook. The funny thing is, I couldn’t give two shits what my so called “friends” are sharing on social media, yet, like an addict, my first impulse when I wake up on any given morning is to waste 10 or 15 minutes scrolling through endless dog videos, and pictures of children’s potty-training moments and people’s pointless updates that over-share like “I had a great day today” and I like, love, like again, enter angry face, love, like again before realizing my coffee’s grown cold and I’m now fifteen minutes behind getting ready for work.
I waste time on a lot of things. My life is cluttered. I mean, my small, 700 square foot apartment is overrun by tastefully bar art paintings and bills I’ve yet to shred and so much laundry that I don’t think I’ve been able to catch up in legit six or eight months.
Every corner is jam packed with trinkets and picture frames and books – Jesus Christ do we own a lot of books; books, mind you, that we’ll never read. Books that just continually sit collecting dust because we spot them on sale for ten cents at yard sales and because our impulse control is lacking. I waste a lot of time around my apartment, too. I have all these nooks, gorgeous bohemian end tables and lounge chairs hidden under fluorescent light and flowers, and all I do is come home, flop on my olive green couch, flip on Netflix, fall asleep by 8:00pm and then wonder why I’m wide awake at two in the morning, dreading my 5:00am wake up call to get ready for another round of Facebook scrolling and driving fifteen minutes late to work.
I scarf down my food like it’s the last meal I’ll ever eat. I don’t savor my morning cup of coffee as much as I inhale it. I let many mornings pass by because I’m cleaning or because I’ll just sit here, blaming myself that I should be spending time doing something else. I live only for the weekends and then get overwhelmed and overrun with impulses and plans and dreams that will cease to exist come Monday morning.
I thought my 20s would be different than this. You know, growing up, as part of the generation who were taught to be special, and unique, and that are dreams were never outside arm’s reach, it’s pretty, fucking hard to live up to that expectation. I verify insurances at a doctor’s office. I wake up, and for forty hours a week, ask people if their address is the same, have they had any testing, and ask to check their insurances cards, much to the aggravation of my own beliefs at where I’d be at 27. I swore I’d be living in New York, writing articles and books, and blogs where my thin, 120-pound face would be perched upon the back of the cover with wide eyes and an even wider smile. I’d be happy, twirling around in some dorky floral dress in magazines and interviews. I even have my Diane Sawyer interview already noted for when that day never comes.
The truth is that I don’t really know where to begin to get to that daydream I had of my 20s. There are many days I wish my mom were still around because I could benefit from her sage wisdom. She’d say to me, “Well, what do you want and what are you doing?” A direct, annoying, and honestly poetic question, I’d hate to hear my answer. What do you want?
I’m a firm believer that hard work does pay off but that sad thing I’m realizing is that it doesn’t happen overnight. We’re not part of the generation that grew up on instant gratification. We’re the generation that grew up on dial internet which taught us a thing or two about fucking patience. I think for so many of us, social media is so much to blame because it gives us a bird’s eye view of how better it is on the other side. Why is that twenty-seven-year-old prettier than me, or more successful, or skinner, or decorating her apartment way better than I am? Every morning, I get defeated because of my fifteen-minute social media addiction because the first fifteen minutes of every single morning is started off with a comparison and disillusion and hatred for what I don’t have instead of feeling grateful for what I do have.
A successful life in terms of happiness can’t be started off with negativity. I want to be an independent writer. I want to sit at coffee shops clacking away on my overpriced laptop. I want to write about my life – about being in an abusive relationship, to being the fat, awkward kid on who nobody played with at recess, to being a bride at eighteen, to discovering self-worth and love for the second time around, to talk about what it was like to take a leap of faith, to watch my mom die of cancer, to see how that has completely altered me as an adult, to articles like this, waking up on a Saturday morning asking you: what do you want and what are you doing?
Is Facebook worth all of the time you attribute to it? When you fall asleep at night, where do you feel that twinge of regret or restlessness because you didn’t get a chance to do something you woke up, swearing to make time for? What is the first thought that comes to mind when someone asks you who you are – or what you love?
Let’s do this together. Let’s take a deep breath, shut off the negativity, spend some time with ourselves, read a book, close our eyes and take that leap of faith.
Start small. And if there’s anything I can promise you as you take this step with me into finally becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be, it’s that you will get there. All you need to do is just begin.