How To Stop Caring What People Think

I feel like there’s so much pressuureeee these days. To be heard of, to be successful, to be admired, to look good, to have a tall dark and handsome man (or a tall, fine and toffee one, for that matter), to have the best gadgets, the cutest apartment, the sharpest photos, the so-chic clothes… And I’m tired. Like really. Even when I’m not keeping up it feels like I have to be keeping up. Where’s the time for the building? Where’s the time to get dirty? The time for the ugliness of a thing in progress? The time for that time before the beauty?

It’s the social media age. It’s the image age. “You are your own brand.” I get it. I’ve never related more to my parents than in the past couple of months. I went off social media for a while, came back and thought the acronym ‘sm’ meant Samsung. (It means social media… In case you didn’t know. Because I didn’t.) Who comes up with this stuff? Now I know what it felt like for them (my parents) when I came straight out of the womb and just knew how to use computers. Anyway, can someone just tell me how long I’m allowed to stay offline before I start to lose touch with the rest of the world?

Well in the time that I wasn’t here I was out there (in the real world) chasing my dreams. And real life is so much realer than Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook or whatever life-enhancing app is the business these days. I would pick walking through markets and being bumped around by smelly, sticky-bodied people over an hour with my phone any day.

Out there you don’t need to keep up with the Kardashians. You need to be sharp and alert. You need to know what it means when a trader won’t look you in the eye or when the bus driver starts speaking a different language to the conductor. You need to know where you’re going and how much its supposed to cost you. You need to know how far you’ve come and how much further you need to go to get there. Out there, real life is about knowing how to get help and knowing where to get answers (you can’t google everything. At least not yet.)

You have to push yourself when you feel your mind and body reaching their limits. When you really get into the thick of things, you can’t stop and take a selfie break. You have to keep going. You need more than great photos and a pocketful of anecdotes. You need to be awake, on the move, and wise.

So being #online and #social is cute and everything but don’t lose yourself to your virtual life. What’s going on in your country? How much was bread last week? What’s the word on the street? Don’t get too comfortable with a profile or a website (beware flawless poses and fake news). Go out there and listen to some conversations, see things happen in real time, observe some history for yourself. Collect a few stories for your grandkids. Stay informed. Stay woke.

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