SHOCKING! THIS JUST IN: Not All Females Are Bitter Over Their Ex (Take Note, Hollywood)

When I start hearing people drag out the end of sentences to sound more like questions, I start to think that this person must watch a lot of the Kardashians. Similarly, when I find myself thinking about the whole Brad and Angelina snafu more than I would like to admit, I start to think I must be spending too much time on Facebook or Instagram.

I’m not a huge into celebrity gossip. I’m not going to say that I never read an article about juicy celeb rumors, but I also don’t really eat it up either. Still, harmless memes posted as jokes on Instagram give me parts of a story that I piece together as I go. This week, it just happens to be Jennifer Aniston in a cheerleader’s uniform, “cheering” about the divorce of her ex.

I’m just going to say, I am a huge fan of Friends and Jennifer Aniston. I know about the whole Brad and Jennifer break up, not because I’m some ruthless vulture that gets off on the drama of others, but because I could relate to it. I always felt like Aniston got shafted, and yet, she held her head high and still had a successful career. Things didn’t turn out the way she wanted but she still made the best of it. That’s my idealized, hint-of-underdog take on it. It inspired me.

And, you know, I never really hated Brad and Angelina, either, because I just thought, “Hey, that’s the way it works out sometimes.” My first serious boyfriend broke up with me and started dating someone else right away. I was devastated, heart broken, angry and felt betrayed. I HATED her. And him. And really everyone.

But, as time went on and I matured in age and emotion, I let go of all that anger and hatred and betrayal. I got to the point where I just thought, “Hey, that’s just the way that one went. That’s what made them happy. It sucked for me, but it doesn’t make them horrible people.” And, if I can do that at age 20, than I’m sure Jennifer Aniston is capable at age 40.

What I’m seeing in the media right now is ugly. Memes of Jennifer Aniston portrayed as some kind of vindicated, smug school girl who finally got hers. Angelina Jolie has been dubbed a ‘crazy lunatic’ by Chelsea Handler, indicating that the only thing Brad did wrong in all of this was marry a woman that couldn’t hold her shit together. Apparently, Brad’s off shagging someone else, but we don’t really care about that because we’re too busy watching the spectacle of women being assholes to each other.

(I’m just going to stop for a minute and remind everyone that we actually don’t even know these people at all. We know their public image and they are all playing the game because it’s what they are paid to do. So EVERYTHING we see and hear needs to be taken with a grain of salt.)

But, for arguments sake, let’s say that what we see and hear about these people are a true indication of what is actually going on here. I’m going to (try to) break this down to you in a way that takes out all of the stereotypes of crazy, vengeful women and just propose a story line free of biases.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt fall in love. They get married. Brad works on a movie with Jolie and maybe didn’t mean to, but he fell in love her. Maybe Jennifer was distant, maybe they both got really comfortable and didn’t feel it anymore, maybe their relationship was more about looking like the perfect couple rather than actually being the perfect couple. Maybe the end was already coming and this just happened. Or maybe she really was super in love with him and he loved her but they outgrew each other. Maybe he felt bad, maybe he didn’t, maybe he’s shitty or maybe he’s not. We don’t know.

I’m not condoning cheating, but they are both humans and shit happens. I guarantee anyone reading this article knows SOMEONE in their life who has cheated but could still be considered a good person overall.

Now, for Angelina’s part in this…

Perhaps she wasn’t the seductive mistress she’s been portrayed as or the “other woman” who won in the end. Maybe she didn’t mean to fall in love with Brad, either. Maybe it just happened. Maybe she even felt bad but in the end ultimately decided that she didn’t want to give up the man she loved just because someone else was going to get hurt. Who hasn’t been in that situation before? Or maybe she wasn’t worried about Aniston. We don’t know.

Either way, both are successful women. Angelina Jolie supports at least 29 charities, most centering around children, she has been on field missions in more than 20 countries, started her own foundation, was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award, and so much more. That’s not to mention her success as an award winning actress and filmmaker. Why aren’t we talking about that?

Jennifer Aniston supports at least 22 charities, most centered around children, the homeless, and cancer. She is an advocate for St. Jude Children’s research Hospital, has donated more than a million dollars to charity, and won the GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2007 for “outstanding contributions to increase understanding and awareness” to the LGTB community. She is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood and is an award winning artist, producer and business woman. She did this, even after 10 years of being asked ridiculous questions about her ex and his new wife.

Jolie and Pitt didn’t work out, and yet somehow, Jennifer Aniston’s name is still being thrown around like candy during a parade, which is insulting to her, to Jolie, and really every female who has ever been accused of not being able to properly handle emotions (myself included.)

Here’s what women ARE NOT:

  • Crazy, vengeful beings that are obsessed with the lives of their ex
  • Waiting around for the men that cheated on them to come back
  • Hoping the girl that came after them “gets hers”
  • Crazy “c*nts” that deserve to be cheated on because of an action they participated in over 10 years ago

Maybe some people find themselves in these situations, but the majority of females are not.

Once, when I was particularly upset of the end of a relationship with a guy who really wasn’t good for me at all, my parents reminded me not to be bitter about the girl who comes next. When that girl did come along, and I bashed her for “being ugly,” my parents condemned my behavior. (I see now my behavior was actually the only ugly thing in this situation.)

They said, “If you know how he treated you, and it wasn’t great, why aren’t you being more empathetic for the girl who will have to deal with his behavior next?” Good point. Furthermore, I came to realize that my ex may have changed. Maybe the behavior he had that I found unfair, he worked on. Or maybe someone else didn’t find it as unfair and maybe it’s good he found someone like that – a conversation for another day, but you get it. What I’m trying to say is, human nature is fluid. There is good, there is bad, and people grow and transform every day.

I hate the idea that people may think I’m still hurt over my ex, because I think it’s an insult to me. It implies that a woman feels like nothing without a man. That a man was so good for me, meant so much to me, that I am still bitter over his exit from my life. This is insulting at face value, but even more so when you consider all that I’ve accomplished before he walked into my life, during his stay in my life, and afterwards. It discounts how I picked myself up after a break-up and assumes that in some way, however small, I am still pining after him. This whole media storm of Aniston vs. Jolie implies that Aniston is still bitter over Brad, suggesting that she was and is still unable to find complete happiness without him. THIS JUST IN: Females can find happiness without male sidekick. Don’t believe me? Ask me, I’ll tell you how I did it.

“I LIKE IT HERE” AND OTHER PHRASES YOU SHOULD NEVER UTTER ABOUT SCRANTON

On any given weekend, I find myself running into people who are home, visiting. For them, home has become a place they visit because life has taken them to different cities – usually New York or Philadelphia. Which is much more exciting than this boring old town, Scranton. The city of high taxes and bankruptcy and former coal miners. The city where nothing ever happens. Or so they say, but somehow, I hardly have time to sleep, so something must be happening.

We all know that there aren’t many jobs to come by in this town, so when people leave, you can guarantee they are probably moving on to better things career-wise. Which is cool, if that’s your thing. And not that I don’t want to advance in my career, because I do, but I also would like to be close to the people who have raised me, to the friends who understand me, and the places I know best. But somehow, in 2016, not wanting to leave your family is somehow a weakness – at least it seems that way to me. I can’t count the amount of times that my friends who have moved away have said to me, “You can’t stay attached to your family your entire life, you have to go out and see the world.” But sometimes I don’t know if anyone stops to realize that maybe this arrangement is what makes me happiest, and if so, how does that make it wrong?

The conversation with those who got away is always more or less the same – what they are up to in the city and why they are home visiting. Then they’ll ask what I am up to and I’ll usually say something along the lines of, “Oh, just working. Not much.”

I say this for two reasons – 1) I am not really interested in going into any detail about my life to someone I am seeing in passing and 2) Many times, no matter what I say I’m doing, there will always be some kind of comment or look or indication that ANYTHING would beat being back here.

And I get it, because I once moved away to a city I found much more exciting and I begrudgingly moved back for reasons I wasn’t happy about. Then, for a year after moving home, I desperately searched for another way out. I would not get stuck here.

But then something happened. I started meeting all kinds of wonderful people. People who made amazing art and showcased it in local stores downtown on the first Friday of every month. Comedians who attended open mics, penning fresh new jokes that made us laugh for free. Musicians who wrote their own music, recorded demos and won local awards. People who loved to snowboard just as much as I do. People who hike, people who act, people who dance. After a while, I came to realize, that when it comes to people, NO city is better than another. There are amazing people everywhere.

What made it even better was this: I could meet someone, and given the small proximity of the city, I could run into them again. This was a stark contrast to my time at both Penn State and living in Philadelphia, where if you wanted to form a friendship, you had to really work for it. Which is okay, but not as easy – I was never really good at it.

So, last Saturday at the bar, when I ran into an old friend who is now living in New York City, he asked me, “So how is Scranton?” (To be fair, I don’t think anyone really means to be condescending when they ask that question, but at the same time, more times than not, it does seem to come off that way.)

I’ve come to find that people almost always assume that no one would willfully choose to live here, but instead got stuck here by forces beyond their control. They couldn’t find a job. Or maybe, like me, got out for a few years and had to move back.

I’ve had many people gossip to me about so-and-so getting out and winding up back here as if I hadn’t done the exact same thing. When they realize, half way through their sentence that I did the very same thing, they’ll usually say something like, “Well, it’s different for you. You wanted to come back.” Or, “Well I know you are here but you could leave again, right?”

People have sent me job postings from out of town. Charlotte, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. My response is usually the same, “I don’t really think I want to move right now.”

And it’s true. I’ve considered it many times. I’m not opposed to leaving, but right now, I have come to find I really like it here. And it’s exhausting moving and starting over new, especially for someone who loves people so much. I just do, I love people.

So last Saturday night, when asked, I replied, “I actually really like it here.” Which was different from my usual, “Well, you know, it’s Scranton.”

“Really?” they replied, with curious interest.

“Yeah,” I said. “It turns out I’m a people-person, and the people I love most are here in this city. I like being close to my family and my friends.”

And, even in 2016 when the world seems so very small and begs to be explored, I hope that is enough.

 

Be Less Afraid: You Are More Likely to Die in a Car Accident than from Terrorism (Sorry, Research Supports It)

“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”
Noam Chomsky

I want to preface this post by explaining that I believe all bombings, shootings, terrorist attacks and hate crimes are extremely important for us to mourn for, examine, and ultimately use to change legislation that will make the world a safer place. However, sitting behind our computer screens instead of going out in fear of what may happen in public places is not necessary. Well, at least not when you take a careful look at the statistics and research not provided from hyped up articles from CNN, Huffington Post, Fox News, etc. because, after all, they are trying to use shock value to get more readers.

Trust me, I’ve felt the anxiety and the sadness over the attacks in Paris the same way I felt the bombing in Boston or the shooting in Charleston. And, yes, I am very aware of the fact that I do not pay attention as much to bombings and shootings in Beirut or Syria. It’s not fair or even humane of me, but I think it just hits closer to home when you can identify with a country or state that is very similar to your own. Again, it’s not ideal, but it’s just kind of the truth. Call us privileged – we are! – but it’s just hard to imagine what life is like for people in those countries. It is sad, though, because it really comes down to chance or fate that we were born in this country. We didn’t work hard to get here. We aren’t here because we are better people.

Okay, I’m getting off track, I’m sorry.

I’ve heard many people speak about how they are afraid to go to the movies, the mall, a sporting event, a big city, you name it… and when I say “people,” I also mean myself. No lie, when I went to see Dark Knight Rises after the movie theater shooting in Colorado, I cried and missed most of the movie because I watched the exit sign instead of the actual movie.

But, do we need to be so afraid? I would argue that, yes, we should be a little fearful, but no, we do not need to be so afraid. And because I don’t think you should just take my silly little opinion as a rule for your life, I did some research to support my opinion.

I’m going to start with some quick stats for those of you who like to skim:

  • Population of Paris as of Jan. 1, 2014: 2,241,346 people
  • Number of people killed in recent terrorist attacks: At least 129 (As of this article published 11/19)
    • Translation: A very small portion of the population
  • Population of Boston: 645,966 (United States Census Bureau, 2013)
  • Number of people killed in Boston Marathon Bombing: 3
    • Translation: A very small portion of the population
  • Population of Charleston: 127,999 (United States Census Bureau, 2013)
  • Number of people killed in July 17th Shooting: 9
    • Translation: A very small portion of the population
  • Around 32,727 people were killed by terrorists worldwide in 2014.
  • Approximately 1.24 million deaths occurred on the world’s roads in 2010 

Now, let me break this down for you. I do this not to be heartless, I am sad for these people who died in these brutal attacks as well. But, every day most of us wake up and drive to work. We do not create Facebook statuses about how scared we are to get in our car and drive to work. We hardly think about it, mainly we all accept that we may get in a crash because, well, that is just life. But we are all terrified of terrorists (pay attention to the name TERRORIST; this is the point, after all). But based on the stats above, we are 38 times more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack. (Roughly, I am NOT a mathematician, I am a writer. Also, feel free to correct me if my math is wrong.)

Also, in my opinion, it would make sense that some legislators may want you to be afraid. I am not a conspiracy theorist (uh, for the most part), but a basic psychology class would tell you that if they have a war agenda, they would like to play on your fear to get themselves there.

The truth is, ISIS is a threat. A huge threat to the freedom we have thrived on for centuries, and it needs to be examined under a microscope. However, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions and pass laws. There is a danger in this.

For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, they were in the midst of an education reform. Regardless of whether you agree with privatization of our education system or err more to the side of public school systems, this particular reform benefitted from the fear and turmoil caused by the hurricane. In Noami Klein’s The Shock Doctrine she examines the change in education after the hurricane:

“Friedman’s radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans’ existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions, many run at a profit, that would be subsidized by the state. It was crucial, Friedman wrote, that this fundamental change not be a stopgap but rather “a permanent reform.”

In other words, instead of rebuilding public schools, they opened private schools and gave families vouchers. Which, may seem okay, but how long would those vouchers exist? My guess is the private schools would be around long after the vouchers ran out. Not everyone in New Orleans can afford a private school education.

I say (er, write) all of this for two reasons:

  1. So people will stop being afraid to enjoy their lives in fear of ISIS
  2. We can pass legislation based on facts and logic, rather than emotions and fear (pssst- refugees).

Thanks for listening. I am open to hearing some other opinions as well.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Paris

http://isreview.org/issue/71/education-shock-doctrine

Noami Klein’s The Shock Doctrine

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995246/Paris-shooting-What-we-know-so-far-on-Wednesday-afternoon.html

Shut Up; Our Generation Actually Doesn’t Suck

I don’t know about any of you fine folks, but I read a handful of articles a day about how narcissistic our generation is, how we can’t stop taking selfies, we ignore each other in favor of looking at our phones, we have no idea what it means to work hard for what we want, the list goes on and on…

That all looks great on paper, especially to the Baby Boomers. But when I finally find the time to glance up from my beloved iPhone, I look around to see my peers doing amazing things. My best friend planned at least 5 events this year that brought in more than 100 people to local bars and businesses. I have friends who write and perform their own music on a daily basis. Another friend just traveled all over Europe. Furthermore, I have a friend who is a producer for ABC News, a friend who has his doctorate in Pharmacy, and a sister who has two master degrees.

I go to an open mic night for underage people at a local coffee shop and these kids are writing amazing poems and creating freestyle raps and just overall killing it – and most of them can’t even drive yet! Tell me that’s not impressive.

People I know are running marathons and competing in Tough Mudders and going to the gym on the regular. I know vegetarians and vegans and people who eat meat but are super healthy.

What do these people have in common? They are all a part of the dreadful millennial generation and yes, they have probably all taken a selfie at least once in their lives.

On top of all of these amazing accomplishments, most of us are buried under overwhelming mounds of student debt – and we still find a way to smile for our profile pictures! Take that, boomers!

In all seriousness, though, our generation gets a bad rep. But I have a social life that is far from sitting around typing on my cellphone. And, me saying that could probably seem narcissistic to people who think it’s better to be modest than talk about your strengths (and my social life is DEFINITELY a strength ;)). Even if my friends and I Instagram the pumpkins we just carved, it doesn’t mean we didn’t just have the most fun carving them with each other. So, we still do things – we just have different tools now to share our lives. We do it online instead of writing letters. We text instead of call. It’s just different.

It’s wonderful that the internet and social media has brought such awareness to mental health, depression, personality disorders, etc. but I do find it a little disheartening how easy it is to throw these labels around. People who post selfies are narcissistic, histrionic, while people who post sad songs are depressed. I have seen so many people wear the I-hardly-post-to-social-media like a badge of honor. As if resisting the impulse to update people on their lives makes them a tad bit less conceited and a tiny bit more of a respectable person. And, I mean, kudos to them. I haven’t researched this, but I just tend to think if people worried less about how people perceive them on the internet – post too much, too whiny, too whatever – and just did what they feel, they’d have more time to focus on their individuality and creativity.

I don’t know, I’m just talking out of my ass here. I guess it comes down to this: every generation is great and shitty all at once – ours is no different. But watch out, the background in our selfies gets a little bit more impressive every time. That’s right, we’re making our way to the top and documenting our successes along the way.

I haven’t weighed myself in an entire year and the earth is still spinning

“That can’t really be how much you weigh,” he said, shocked.

“Yeah, it is!”

“It doesn’t seem that way. I mean, not that it’s a bad thing, I just never would have guessed.”

Apparently the number was a little higher than he expected and while he didn’t intend to be hurtful, I immediately I thought twice about the second round of Sam Adam’s Summer Ale that I just ordered. In fact, I immediately thought twice about everything I ate that entire week. I also wondered what bar would think it was a good idea to have a scale in it, anyway.


If you’ve read some of my past writing, you might have an idea that 2013 and 2014 were rough years for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint one reason that made these years tough, but rather, it seemed like a bunch of little things all at once. After it was all over, it seemed these years helped me grow a backbone, gain perspective, and develop a type of “emotional skin” that I was lacking prior. As a result, I wouldn’t choose to relive these years, but I do understand why they were necessary.

One manifestation of my inability to cope was my reluctance to eat food. What started out as “being healthy” quickly morphed into harsh rules about food, and at my worst, I adopted a belief that eating was hardly necessary at all. I am hesitant to describe this as an eating disorder, because I do not think that is fair to people who struggle with EDs at a more chronic, severe, and life-threatening level. See, once I sorted out the rest of the problems in my life, my appetite came back and I’ve been fine since. I am ashamed to say that I believe I was being too dramatic.

Regardless of its correct label, for a few months’ time, I lost a ton of weight and developed unhealthy eating habits. In order to get better and learn how to eat normally, I visited a dietician. I felt that this was a good idea either way, because my relationship with food was so confusing and threatening to me that I felt it might be nice to learn a little more.

Upon my first visit, she advised me to stop weighing myself at home. I was hesitant initially, because weighing myself was a daily ritual. My main fear in taking this step was that I wouldn’t notice if I gained a pound or two, and, as a result, my weight would get out of control in no time.

It’s pertinent for me to explain that if I saw that I gained even a pound or two, I would immediately begin panicking and figuring out how I could cut calories, fat, etc. Looking back, I think I felt so out of control in my life that I easily believed my weight could become out of control if I didn’t watch it closely enough.

I came around to the idea because I was at wit’s end. I was tired of being miserable and depressed because my body was lacking nutrients. I was tired of not being able to complete my usual run/workout because I had no energy. I was tired of being cold all the time.

So, I agreed; I would not weigh myself. In fact, I would not look when doctors weighed me, I would not discuss weight if not necessary – basically, if I was going to do this, I was going to do it all the way.

At first it was weird not knowing. I felt out of control. I was raised to worry about weight, to identify with the number I saw on the scale, to discuss it, etc. I also felt like a fraud because people didn’t understand. I was not overweight, never had been, so why was I so worried about eating and gaining weight? Good question, I thought many times, as I asked myself the same exact thing. I don’t know why, I just know that I did. Eventually, it became necessary for me to stop asking why and just accept it and move on.

Over the past year, nurses have rolled their eyes and told me that I was too thin to be worrying about seeing a number on the scale (this tends to happen when you tell them you preferred to be weighed backwards). I know their comments come from a good place, but since I am at a healthy weight, I find that it is none of their business.

I know I am at a healthier place in life – a healthier place than I really have ever been – and therefore, I’d probably be okay with weighing myself now. I still choose not to, though. Because I don’t want to go back to those days where I would worry about every single thing I ate because the number on the scale was a few digits higher than the day before. I don’t want to berate myself for indulging in a delicious meal that left me a little bloated.

The truth is, our weight fluctuates for many reasons – the weather, salt intake, hormones, etc. While I find it important to have a general sense of weight and healthiness, for me, I feel a whole lot better cutting that stressor out of my life. I’m still conscience of my weight – but I trust that the eating habits I’ve developed over the past year will keep me at my ideal weight, and so far, all of my clothes still fit.

I do understand that obesity is an issue in the United States, so some people have different needs than my own. I am not saying this is a behavior we all need to adapt – everyone is different. I’m just merely stating that I tried it and it works for me. It’s been a whole year since the last time I’ve weighed myself and the world still spins. I am still healthy. After all, why are we reducing our self worth to a number, anyway?

My 6 Rules for Staying Sane on Social Media

If you hate social media, maybe you are using it wrong.

I get the pitfalls of social media very well. I, too, get sick of endless pictures of babies, engagement rings, and the steady stream of humble bragging (“Guess who got a 4.0!”) It’s annoying and overwhelming. Also, the drama created and displayed on the network is enough to make anyone puke. Add the annoying need to creep on your ex-boyfriend and you’ll wonder why anyone thought we needed to advance past the 1800’s when the world was small. Like I said, I get it.

Still, underneath all the piles of crap, there are a ton of good things about social media, too. For example, I recently read about a kid who anonymously created an Instagram account and posted pictures of everyone in his school along with words of encouragement towards each. Humans of New York is a daily reminder that we aren’t alone, but rather, are all imperfect humans working on making our lives better. This is not to mention the amount of fundraisers I’ve attended as a result of acquaintances posting about it, the friends from high school I recently re-connected with via Facebook, and the endless laughs I’ve shared with long-distance friends that I don’t see every day. For these reasons, I have not deleted my Facebook.

I think it is also important to note that many people who haven’t watched the news in years keep up with current events using social networks. When I took a break from Facebook last year, I felt a little out of the loop when people were talking about the latest viral video or article. So, as much as people complain that social networks are the end-all of human contact, I beg to differ. I actually think it gives us some material to talk about when we see each other face-to-face!

Still, as with every type of communication, it depends more on how you use it rather than if you do. I know that in order to keep myself on track and live a balanced life, both on social media and off, I’ve compiled my own list of rules that I follow.

No ex-boyfriends. (This includes ex-hook-ups.)

This one is seemingly simple to me, but surprisingly many people disagree. It’s kind of confusing to me, though. If you stop speaking with a person in real life, why would you continue to torture yourself with updates on their life via Instagram and Facebook? Why would you want them to know about your life?

As a rule of thumb, if I date a guy – whether it is casually for a month or serious for years, once it is over, they get deleted from all social media. It saves me from those icky, confusing feelings I get when I see them in pictures with females that aren’t me.

I do realize that some people do not need to do this because they are not as sensitive as me and that is totally cool. But as someone who has a hard time with break-ups and good-byes, “out of sight – out of mind” is a great way for me to focus on the positive aspects of my life.

Scrub your friend’s list often.

If I haven’t communicated with a person in ~2 years, it is no longer necessary for me to be Facebook friends with them. Of course there are exceptions, like distant family and some high school friends, but that obnoxious girl that lived in my dorm freshman year of college gets the hack. Because truthfully, I post on Facebook fairly frequently, and as weird as it is for me to see her updates, I find it weirder that she sees mine.

This rule usually cuts down on the sensory overload you can get from seeing so many people on vacation while you are stuck in your gray cubicle. It’s okay to delete people – most times they won’t even notice. (However, a friend of mine uses the Birthday updates to find friends she lost touch with and deletes them on their birthday – this is a little cruel.)

Careful with the personal emotions and details.

We are not robots and we have emotions, which is why I do not suggest never posting an emotional status on Facebook. I know some people will disagree, but I think showing some emotion is okay. After all, emotions are great ways to bond with other people and not feel so alone.

That being said, there is a fine line between showing a bit of emotion and creating a status you will regret. Just as you would not walk into your high school reunion and start screaming about what an asshole your ex is, creating a status about it is also frowned upon.

My rule of thumb for this one is a lot like my rule of thumb when picking out professional clothing: If there is even a chance that it will be considered inappropriate, don’t buy it (in this case, don’t post it!) We’ve all been out-of-control angry or ugly-cry heartbroken, and it almost feels necessary to pour out our emotions immediately. Facebook provides a great outlet for this when no one else is around. Still, do whatever you can to stop yourself from posting in the heat of the moment. You will never regret not posting that angry tweet.

Live and let live.

In geek terms – do not be a troll. Nobody wants to know that they spelled “your” wrong. The amount of people on the internet who feel the need to prove that their spelling is above average is amazing to me these days. Did you know what the post meant? Yes? Good, now if my spelling bothers you, please go to your journal and write all the mean thoughts there.

For real, though. People post stupid shit all the time and it’s annoying, but publically berating someone for it is pretty unkind. Let’s go back to the high school reunion scenario. If someone is being obnoxious/bragging/what-have-you to your face, you are very unlikely to tell them to shut-the-fuck-up. Rather, you will probably politely excuse yourself from the conversation and walk away, or continue to put up with their bullshit. If you are annoyed by a person’s constant bullshit on Facebook, politely delete them and move along. Otherwise, live and let live. Who cares what your neighbor down the street posts, anyway? Your ability to rise above the nonsense says more about your character than their obnoxious Facebook post says about theirs.

Use social networking as a valuable tool for more than posting selfies.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s always nice to feel pretty in a picture and want to post it for a little confidence-boost. I really do not think there is anything wrong with that. However, please realize that social networking could also be used as a tool to spread ideas, make contacts, and shed light on some of the positive events happening in our lives.

People post about their engagements because the world mostly sucks and is boring, so when something significant happens, they want to sing about it. And why shouldn’t they be excited anyway?

Not only that, but social media has gotten me more than a few friendships in the past. Sometimes, when you meet someone at a party, you hit it off just as friends. Asking for someone’s number can be seemingly forward, but if you send them a message afterwards with, “Hey, I had a great time meeting you, let’s get lunch!” you may be on your way to a new friendship.

Used the right way, Facebook can be a tool used to promote fundraisers, community events, and friendships. Twitter is a way for you to see how other people are reacting to crazy world events, and Instagram has a way of telling beautiful stories with pictures. As with all aspects in life, see the good.

Know when to take a break.

This could mean just simply putting down your phone to have dinner with a friend or taking a month hiatus.

Truthfully, not many of my friends are on the phone all the time anymore. I used to notice it more in college, but I’ve found that it’s becoming common knowledge that it’s rude to neglect company in favor of checking your Facebook or Instagram.

In regards to taking a longer break, last year I deleted my social media accounts for most of the summer. It was a time when I was going through a ton of big changes and felt a bit depressed. In order to focus on myself and healing, I needed to take a breath of fresh air from social media. It was constructive and it helped and I would do it again. The great thing about many platforms is that you can delete your account and open it up again when you are ready (there is a way to permanently delete Facebook, too, just FYI!)

Social media isn’t for everyone, but used with a bit of self-discipline, I think it is mostly a positive medium that has impacted the world in more ways that in harmed it. Feel free to share your thoughts and/or rules!

mediocrity is the new black

“He probably was mediocre after all, though in a very honorable sense of that word.”
― Thomas Mann

I’ve been thinking a lot. The wheels have been turning, as some would say. I’ve been trying to figure out how I measure my own life. Is it in daylights, in sunsets, in cups of coffee? Or is in in paychecks, investments, and assets? The reasons I ask myself these questions is because I don’t think where I am right now is where I need to be, and therefore, I’ve been taking steps towards change. But, as with any change, there is fear and anxiety and second-guessing. I am more terrified than I’ve been in years.

I have made the mistake in the past of thinking I am the only person in the world plagued by anxiety, which I know now is laughable. Our generation is plagued by it. It took me until now to realize why.

We all want to be great. We want to take trips across the world, to write best-selling novels, to be famous. Maybe not in the typical Taylor-Swift kind of way, but we want to be remembered for something, because if we aren’t, than what was the point?

Most of our generation is God-less, at least from my experience. If there is no God, and no afterlife, than we need to make the most of our lives here on earth. If we don’t do that, then what? If there is nothing after this, than we need to do something that will make a lasting impact. We need something for people to remember us by.

Although this in itself is very anxiety-provoking, I could see how it is a noble quest to have. Who doesn’t want to change the world? The thing is, most people are thinking large-scale. Small-scale changes and contributions mean nothing to us, which is sad.

Do you want to know what impacted my life over the past few months?

That moment when I was worried about making a big change, and a friend who I haven’t seen in over a year called me on the phone and talked me through it.

That moment when an old high school friend and I reconnected, and she showed me how much it pays off to have passion about a cause and plan events to work towards a greater cause.

That moment when I told someone the nitty-gritty of the past few years of my life and they took my hand and thanked me for sharing.

That moment in church when a complete stranger paid it forward and as a result 25+ people got a free cup of coffee.

That moment when my mom made me soup and gave me a hug while I was sick.

All these moments are seemingly insignificant, but not to me. If those people were too busy writing books and traveling the world, I may not have gotten those moments. Not to sound selfish and say that they shouldn’t follow their dreams, that’s not it. The point is, we need the small, every-day, boring stuff to make our lives complete. Those things make more of a difference than people realize.

So, I’ve started realizing that my life might be destined for mediocrity and for the first time in probably my entire 25 years on this earth that feels more than okay. Because in my simple, mundane life, I do not think I am mediocre just because I may never write a best-selling novel or see my face on the cover of Rolling Stone. No, I will not be written about in history books, like the majority of human beings. It’s not that I don’t think we should strive for more, it’s just that I think we should also be comfortable with less as well.

What I will do is continue to take action on the causes I find most important. These causes include, but are not limited to, being a great friend and caring family member, contributing to society in simple ways like attending church and working, and working hard to continue learning and growing as a human. When my time here is done, I hope to have so many memories imprinted in my brain that the idea of needing my name in a history book doesn’t even have the tiniest space to grow.