The Facebook Reality
I have been dealing with a growing problem in my life… Facebook.
I joined Facebook in 2004, back when it was only for a select few universities. Since that time, it has grown and evolved into this massive empire.. a verb, a way to pass time, a way to show the world your life (and, consequently, inhibit people from actually talking to each other, because you can get all the info you need from Facebook, right?).
As you know if you read my blog, I have chosen a rather different life path. Despite having a degree from West Point, I have elected both Kiteboarding Instructor and Fitness Coach as my professions. Are these awesome? Sure! When I was teaching kiteboarding full-time (before moving to Chile and splitting my time as a fitness coach as well), I lived on the beach. I was every day in the ocean. It was great! Now I live in Chile and I still spend my summers in the ocean, but the rest of the time I am able to train and coach other people. I have easy access to the Andes for snowboarding. I travel…excessively. Just this year I have/will go to Peru, Argentina, Spain, Germany, UK, Belgium, Italy, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia. Next year, I already have the US, Mexico, Tanzania to climb Mt. Kili, Madagascar and South Africa in the mix.
If you only looked at my facebook, I am living the dream. Nothing bad ever happens in my life and I am happy 100% all of the time. When I look at the facebook pages of my friends, it is the same. Everyone has fantastic lives. Everyone lives their dream.
Yesterday I was speaking with my partner as he and I discuss this perception from time to time. Of course I post a lot on facebook…and of course a lot of that has to do with my profession. As a coach, I promote myself as someone who not only works in those areas, but also lives the lifestyle. Do I live the lifestyle? Yes…but only promoting that gives a false sense of what my life is really like.
I don´t talk about the time I dislocated my foot climbing and was out of work for 5 months…or how that ate into a lot of my savings….or how it still hurts me every day. I don´t talk about being 29 and having less money to my name for the future than I did when I was 23 because I chose a job with less income. I don´t talk about being so tired every day at the end of the day that sometimes I just want to cry. I don´t talk about how much work goes into a job like teaching kiteboarding or fitness coaching. I don´t talk about relationship problems or friend problems or family problems.
I will be the first to admit that I am lucky. I do have a good life, but it sure isn´t the pleasantville, perfect life I display on facebook…as I am sure no one´s life is really that way. Facebook has become a way for people to showcase what is going well or good in their lives…and maybe, in some way, that is a method of handling the bad things…and that´s OK! The important thing is to realize that the Facebook reality is not really reality. It is a construction of each person and what they want to show the world, nothing more.