I genuinely debated internally for days as to whether the title of this should be "to be or just to seem", or simply "another rant about social media bullshit", but I think I landed in the right place.
I recently upped and left the UK for a week all by myself and got lost in New York. This was my first time out of the country alone and something I have dreamed of for a long while. The purpose for this was pure and simple escapism. I wasn't coping well with downtime and loved the idea of seeing a place minus all the distraction of company. NYC is the best place to go if you want to become anonymous, feel insignificant and realise your lack of presence in the real world. New York is happening right now and it doesn't care about me or my nonsense. They have nonsense of their own and don't need the excess. The city didn't care when I arrived and it hasn't missed me since I left.
So why would I want to feel insignificant and be ignored and lonely? Because its the perfect chance for introspection. The ideal opportunity to assess my progress both professionally and personally, be left alone with my thoughts and make some mental headway with the little anxieties that have been impeding me for the last few months.
See the problem nowadays is the complete one hundred and eighty degree shift in priorities social media has caused with people in their working and home lives. The never-ending, sleep-depriving, mind-numbing drive for some to create an entirely different persona, to pour money/mental energy/precious time into convincing people that they are important and successful instead of putting said commodities towards actually achieving these things.
Yes, people lie online and no, I am not saying anything particularly new! But I honestly believe we've reached terminal velocity with regards to the waterfall of lies and embellishments that stain instagram stories, facebook feeds and the determined six people still using snapchat. The photographer/model landscape is rife with white lies, exaggeration and just outright bullshit concerning big jobs, big money, international publications, media attention, followers and so on.
The reason I am writing this and the reason I see this as a genuine problem sociologically is that we have developed this belief that we are all not only infinitely important, which we certainly aren't, but also that what we see on social media is real. The same people that create false narratives about their own successes fall blindly for the facade that others project. Everyone is doing it.
And even more concerning and the point I would like to end on, it now takes an insane amount of additional effort to pretend you've done something than it would to actually reach for those goals. It's no longer the case that people are taking the easy track to seem successful, they are now dedicating their life to achieving nothing, all in the name of making other people who are doing nothing, jealous.
Stop working so hard, go and actually achieve something!