The other night, my boyfriend and I discussed if people our age back in the 90’s were happier than they are today. We agreed that they were. Why? They were not chasing their “unicorns” as we do today. This unicorn, as described in Wait but Why’s “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy,” is an image, goal, or expectation to which we aspire based on what we see set forth by others on social media outlets. The five-second glance we take at social media while sitting at our desk, just for a quick escape from work, can sometimes add an emotional roller-coaster to our day that we did not anticipate. “Awesome [picture, article, status update here] + [friend’s name here] posted!” or “Why did [frenemy’s name here] not [verb] to [event, group, status, etc]?”
I will not deny that much of what is about to come in this article is me agreeing with Wait but Why’s thesis. However, I promise to provide ways to make 2016 different than 2015 through small tweaks. First, we have to accept that as a generation we:
- Have access to smart phones
- Have a constant need (and outlet) to share every life event
- Make sure that everybody knows “we were there”
- Ensure that our five seconds of “I’M SO HAPPY and I got to share it with EVERYONE” moments, will cause everyone to ignore our subsequent 12 hours of “Why does no one text me? Why did I pick this career? Why can I not get a date? Am I doing life right?”
So what do we do with this unicorn that, with every false image we see of our friends, makes us believe that we are behind on our life paths? We rein it in. We look at what gives it its powers and we start to put boundaries in place so we can still have our lofty goals and actually enjoy them. By setting boundaries around social media, we can attempt limit allowing our unicorns to give us any more crazy ideas about how our lives should compare to others by setting boundaries around social media.
Social media can sometimes be the stimulator of all intense emotions we feel in one day. Sick of flying like a pendulum from one end to the other? Unless you choose to delete your social media accounts outright, try some of these easy methods of handling your unicorn:
- Create a friends list. Did you know that most social media outlets allow you to create different friend lists and then target your postings? Choose the audience for your social media post and ensure that only who you want to see it can do so.
- Don’t unfriend, just unfollow. Every time you look at social media, do you see status updates from people who irritate you, the selfie parade (it is always the same suspects), etc? Just go to their profile and check the unfollow button and your newsfeed is [enter name here] free.
Take care of yourself:
- Reflect. Think back to the New Year’s resolutions you made for yourself for the Jewish New Year. We just celebrated it three months ago; it is not too late to get back on track.
- Look at where your friendships are. Do they make you happy? Are there ways to make them more meaningful? Check out Yes and Yes’s 15 Ways to Catch Up With Friends That Aren’t Grabbing Coffee or a Cocktail.
- Listen to your body. Sometimes passing on an event or an evening with friends is just what you need to recharge.
- Call it out! Don’t mansplain or womansplain. Keep the gossip to good gossip. Positively talking about people and events will make you feel happier at the end of the day.
- Breath. Take a break from your computer, smartphone, car, and gadgets and take a stroll in the park.
Lastly, come up with a tangible goal that both you and your unicorn can agree on for 2016. It could be going back to school, looking for that new job, or maybe just learning a new hobby. Push your unicorn to be more like what it was pre-Facebook and not what social media has made it today.