How To Survive The Age of Social Media

The thing is, it can be difficult to live in this modern world if you’re not strong enough. Wherever you look, there’s something or someone to remind you that you are not good enough; that where you are in life at the moment isn’t up to par compared to your peers; that you may be losing at life because your most recent photo in social media did not get at least 300 Likes; that you must be depressed or “anti-social” just because you don’t subscribe to celebrity news and gossip; that maybe you’re a failure because twelve months have already passed and you still haven’t traveled anywhere; that perhaps you’re disgustingly impoverished because the last photo of coffee you posted on your feed was already six weeks ago and it wasn’t even from Starbucks.

There are so many trivial things that somehow contribute to our anxiety and our feelings of defeat, disappointment, and guilt within ourselves. For a lot of people, living in this social-media-driven world can be so stressful that it literally puts them in a state of panic, sometimes without them really even noticing.

The unfortunate truth is, if you’re not a vlogger, a social media influencer, a celebrity, or somebody born rich, being on social media can give more stress than inspiration or recreation.

So how does one survive “the age of social media”? This goes not only to the older generations but also to the millennials themselves. So here it is:

You survive by looking at a former college classmate’s epic photo in Mykonos and reminding yourself that as much as sipping cocktails in Greece sounds like a lot of fun, you do not absolutely need to be there;

You survive by developing an attitude of being happy for someone else’s happiness and successes instead of being envious.

You survive by inspiring yourself, instead of comparing yourself.

You survive by skipping the Messenger chat and directly calling up a friend to invite him to lunch.

You survive by taking hundreds of photographs of you and your loved ones on a trip, and having those photos printed out to be filed in an album, even if you only do this once in a while.

You survive by putting down your phone when your parents are talking to you, and actually listening to them.

You survive by taking out the headphones on a solo trip and starting conversations with other travelers.

You survive by going to a concert, or a play, or a music festival, and actually living in the moment, hearing every word spoken or sung, seeing every movement, breathing in deeply and closing your eyes when a gust of wind comes.

You survive by being on the beach to watch the sunset and, even just for a moment, actually seeing it through your eyes and not through the lenses of your phone camera.

You survive by looking at someone straight in the eyes when they are talking to you.

You survive by going for a jog or a walk and actually being present in the moment; by allowing real thoughts and raw emotions come to you while you’re on the move.

You survive by spending less time looking down, and more time looking ahead, looking up, looking sidewards, backwards; just any direction other than down.

You survive by waking up every morning literally counting your blessings, out loud; by being grateful for what it is that you have, and who it is that you are.

You survive by acknowledging that you are the only person you should be comparing yourself to; that you must constantly seek ways to be not just better, but the best version of you.

You survive by giving yourself permission to breathe through the obstacles and breathe in the victories.

Speaking of victories, there are many tiny victories within your day, no matter how terribly you think your day is going — There is victory in you waking up, there is victory in you being able to taste and swallow your meal (and the mere fact that you even have a meal to taste and swallow), there is victory in you having limbs that allow you to walk and lungs that allow you to breathe. And there is victory in the fact that you are reading this right now, with your eyes, which allow you to see beautiful things, places and people.

And so you survive by reminding yourself that happiness isn’t just a destination but a journey; that success isn’t a race but a dance; that having money and fame doesn’t always equal having a good life.

You survive, quite simply, by being nothing and no one else but yourself.

That fabulous, alive, amazing self. 🍃

Learn How To Love Living Slowly

Learn how to love living slowly, even though we live in a world that wants us to go fast; Even though we as a species have been raised to view Slow as something that’s generally bad. We’ve been made to believe that Slow is a terrible thing: Slow connotes incapacity, insubstantiality, incompetency. We’ve been conditioned to think that Slow is synonymous to Broken. It reminds us of something rusty, something that’s been left in the dark for way too long, something that needs to “get it together and hurry the fuck up”. 

But we must learn how to love living slowly.

Living slowly means literally stopping to smell the flowers. It means being able to afford the time to close your eyes as you chew that first bite of doughnut at breakfast. It means knowing that there isn’t a need to chug your cup of coffee in 30 seconds, and knowing that the world isn’t gonna end if you take five minutes every night to look up at the stars. 

Living slowly allows you space to be grateful for a present that’s been given to you, or be apologetic for when a Sorry is in order. It allows you space to sing to your favorite songs or do a little dance even when you’re running late for an appointment. It allows you space for more warm embraces, more cuddles by the fireplace, more laughter around the dinner table.

Living slowly gives you the opportunity to love and be loved in return. You are not rushing through anything when you are living slowly, and so it gives you the chance to actually get to know somebody, and to get to know yourself. 

When you live slowly, you get the text from a friend and you respond; your grandma calls and you pick up; your cat brushes his forehead against your ankle and you pick him up — even when it’s almost midnight and you just want to hit the bed. 

When you live slowly, you learn to appreciate silence. You become accustomed to the beauty of pauses in music, or a blank canvas, or that empty blue space in the sky as it clears up after a rainy day. When you live slowly, you get to be grateful. You get to be self-aware. You get to be thoughtful in your words and in your actions. 

And sure, Fast is successful, Fast is sharp, Fast is fierce. Fast is revolutionary. 

But Slow… Slow is happy. Slow is gentle. Slow is affectionate. Slow is genuine. 

Slow. Much like the speed at which our hearts beat when we are with the presence of loved ones. 

Slow. Much like the sliding of the fingers down a lover’s upper arm during a tender kiss.

Slow. Much like the way a light dress flows as it descends a palace staircase. 

Slow. Much like jazz music — something that doesn’t demand attention but is always worthy of it; something that typically plays in the background, something whose purpose was never to yell but to whisper, carefully and intelligently; something that is easy to listen to and difficult to forget. 

Stop going too fast. You’re not gonna get left behind. You’re not missing out on anything. You’re not losing at life.

In fact, slow down if you do not want to get left behind. 

Slow down if you do not want to miss out on anything. 

Slow down if you do not want to lose at life.