The First Step is Acceptance

Posted: October 6, 2012 in Pregnant Wife Stories
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am a travelling man, a worldly vagabond journeying this spherical orb in search of cultural realization, and the one thing I have witnessed by watching people with their phones and social networking is that we appear to have ninety percent of the population trying to escape their current reality and wirelessly travel somewhere else. The remaining ten percent are all trying to convince the aforementioned ninety percent that their reality is absolutely worthless, and that the ninety percenters need to wirelessly leave their real world behind and become obsessed with the 10 percenters’ reality. Even if the ten percent are only two blocks away, what they are doing is much more exciting than 90 percentville and deserves constant attention from the 90 percenters. I made a pie chart that simplifes the poor usage of possessive adjectives and pronouns. However, my computer won’t upload the work. So here are two simple statements of logic to explain said poor application of grammar:

1. 90 percent of the people would rather not be in their current physical reality; instead they would like to live in an internet reality.

2. 10 percent of the people are content with their physical reality, but want to pimp it to the other 90 percent who are unhappy as explained in logic statement 1. (see bottom figure for an image of my graphic).

I do not write this to call out people on their lunatic behavior. On the contrary, I am writing because I have seen some of these tendencies in myself. A common example is the two people I see on a date at a local diner or coffee shop, and while they are sitting in the same booth, breathing the same air, and for all intents and purposes “together,” they could not be more separate. They are drawn into an internet affair with everyone but the person at that table. Even if it is just to “check-in” we are still saying that the most important thing at the current moment is to let the world out there know what’s going down here. I have been in a moment of sheer wonder and excitement and actually said, “I need to post this to Facebook, so the world can see this.” This is addiction, and I am admitting it. Initially, this didn’t bother me, but after separating myself from my own self obsessed world and just watching other humans interact, I was kind of sickened. Even as I write this blog, I am anxiously thinking about posting it to Facebook, when I will subsequently pray that there are people willing to like my post. This is a perfect segue into my next topic.

Can I get a Thumbs-up, Or No?

What drives our self concept in today’s world is such a different beast than it was only five years ago. I actually consider myself a failure if the posts I put on FB are not received with a million thumbs-up from my Facebook friends. I have turned into the guy in the high school movies that so desperately tries to seek the approval of the popular group, but now instead of being invited to go to the next big shindig, the popular group throws you a big thumbs-up…I know that I am not alone in this feeling, and I have to venture that there are people reading this blog that have, at moments of brutal honesty and self criticality, thought that this internet, Smartphone reality is not healthy. We are all human beings seeking acceptance from the people we hold dear, but Facebook has increased the amount of people in your life that you are in constant contact with as opposed to ten years ago, where your friend list at any given time was probably five people that you saw two to three times a week. Now, we collect friends, and we want all of them to validate us all of the time. For those of you who read this and think that I am over generalizing, well, good for you, you haven’t succumb to the addiction that is this “networked social reality.” But in the end, the fact remains: One thumbs-up is a thousand accolades.

Facebook Friend Types: You Can’t Unread Something

I have a list of friends that is probably full of ten times the amount of people who actually value anything I say. There are people that read my posts and cringe at the fact that they just read my status. I do the same to others. The politically charged atmosphere we live in today has offered a unique glimpse into people on Facebook—most of which don’t have any business pretending to be educated on politics, but because Facebook is the passive-aggressive individuals place to rule, you can drop explosive tirades and just walk away… In the end, all you have to write is, “just sayin’” and you are absolved of any statement you made anyway.

I am making big moves. I want off of this crazy train, at least at the current level of use in my life. It is no longer an application on my Smartphone, as a matter of fact; I have removed any application from the phone that is related to social media. I first thought about doing this when I witnessed a “real life” friend using an old flip-top phone. This guy smiles all of the time, which led me to believe I, too, could find happiness by actually committing myself to those around me. He looks happy, and the coolest thing that he never does, is reach into his pocket and pull out a phone during conversation and make sure that there is nothing more exciting than the current reality going on somewhere else in the matrix. I am absolutely guilty of doing this to people. You might as well yawn, start singing, or just walk away while the person talking to you speaks, because you have exhibited the longing to already. Try ignoring the person in your life who matters the most so you can connect with the masses instead and see how this works for you. My wife is not someone to trifle with and this exact habit would note bode well for me, but I still have found myself reaching for my phone when she is talking to me.

Of my friends, there are no doubt the Facebook friends that relish in voyeuristically watching the lives of others and constantly comparing successes and failures. There are the friends who made an account five years ago, but don’t even check the thing—these are amazing people who are the most normal of us all. Right now, I am certain there are friends of mine who want nothing more than to delete me, but are just not pulling the trigger. There are lifelong friends that will be close to you forever. There are friends that don’t like a single thing about you, but like not liking you so much, they remain your friend to keep not liking you with more intensity. I talk to the same forty or fifty people on Facebook, and of no surprise, I love them. I love having a chance to interact with people that would have slipped through the tracks because of life and time and distance. I have Facebook friends that I am closer with now than I ever was when I actually had to live among them. These are the things I love about it. People from the hallways of my high school, former duty stations, and family alike, Facebook brings you together and it’s a good thing, but it can be destructive.

I think the thing I hate the most about all of this is that I am absolutely guilty of all of them. I’m watching you people. I am well aware of who deletes me. I know who decided I am not worth their time. I know when I didn’t make the cut during your yearly Facebook purge. And, most of all, I hate that it matters to me. So, I am going to purge the system from my reality. I am going retro. I am going to use my phone for calls. I am still going to use it to look up facts to prove I win arguments with my wife, but other than that, I am serious this time.

I am keeping the account, but it is gone from my travelling life. I am going to keep up with the thing, but I am eliminating it from dominating everything I do. I feel better already. I went out to a movie last night, and like clockwork, I picked up my phone to check it and ensure that I wasn’t missing anything. That moment when I realized that my move to the phone is the same involuntary type of movement that quitting smokers talk about, I knew I was making the right decision. This has been a long time coming. I am going to go somewhere with Whitney, and actually be there with her.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.

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Comments
  1. Sara DeSeno says:

    I jumped off that crazy train myself! I miss the far-flung friends, including your precious wife, but my authentic life holds many more riches and a whole lot less trivial mind clutter and unnecessary drama than my virtual one. 🙂

  2. haphillips says:

    I wish I had done this sooner! My wife misses you too!

  3. Chris Marvin says:

    Brilliant! (Not sent from iPhone)

  4. I hate the fact that all of this social media stuff matters to me too. Ugh. And yet blogging does help to keep me writing.

  5. Lisa says:

    Wow! What a great post! So many good points were made. I can relate too well with SO much of what you said.

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