I’m definitely worried about keeping up with the Kardashians in the sense that I need to view Kylie’s Snapchat story immediately. Something about watching her lip sync to rap songs and touch her nose and mouth is weirdly hypnotizing to me. But when it comes to keeping up with the Kardashians in a “keeping up with the Joneses” sense? Nah. They’re probably always going to outdo me in the Rolls Royce and Cartier Love bracelet department. That’s fine.
So what am I actually worried about? Keeping up with the people I know or “know.”
By now we’re all very aware that social media gives you an unrealistic look into other peoples’ lives. It shows you a person’s highlight reel peppered with engagements and babies and such, and glosses over their not-so-fun moments that happen behind-the-scenes. Yet somehow when I see these highlight reel items flicker through my feed, I find myself thinking about how I need to work harder and do more. It’s not that I’m not happy for my friends or acquaintances. I so am! But I also can’t help the part of my brain that sees someone else’s major milestone and immediately turns inward and asks, “What have YOU done lately, self?” It’s immature and I wish I didn’t happen, but it’s real.
In terms of “keeping up” in the other sense, I deal with that too. I constantly feel compelled to stay connected. To stay engaged. If I take a break for an hour to go to the gym, I’m immediately on my phone as I’m walking to my car, poring over social media and my e-mail and wondering what I missed. I’m plagued with this vague and ever-present FOMO. Journaling and meditation keep it at bay temporarily, but it always returns.
Becoming aware of the issue has definitely helped the situation, since I can rationalize with my brain and say, “The chances of something earth-shattering happening while I’m at Pilates is probably very small.” Or perhaps, “If I miss a highly important e-mail while I’m taking a nap on a Saturday I can respond as soon as I’m awake.” Yet I have to wonder if this constant FOMO is just something we’re going to have to get used to as smartphone-toting, social media-using people.
Are we always going to experience days where we feel a little bit inferior based on what someone else has posted on Instagram? Are we always going to feel the need to have our phones sitting right next to us at all times like loyal lap dogs? Having the ability to be connected 24/7 no matter where you are on planet Earth is amazing, but it also makes it hard to cut the cord, even for a brief moment. These are things I ponder when I can’t fall asleep because I’ve been staring at a screen for too many hours during the day. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!