Do It For Yourself, Not The Gram

This piece is part of our “What Do You Live For?” series. It attempts to answer that confounding question that few people ask themselves.  

As a millennial, our lives are consumed with being connected at any and all times. Our daily actions include a continuous cycle of checking our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat feeds to see our friends, family and celebrities living their lives and giving us a sneak peek into how they are living their lives.

It is because of the habits we’ve formed as a society, as a generation that led me to rethink what my purpose is, what I am actually living for.

There is a term, FOMO (fear of missing out) that was coined a few years ago to sum up how you felt if you were not a part of something everyone else was doing.

Whether it’s at the latest concert, party, bar/club, and any type of activity that everyone would be talking about later on and leaving a digital footprint behind.

With the continued osmosis of social media platforms becoming one with our daily habits, too frequently do we find ourselves attending events only if to send a Snapchat or take a cool photo for our followers?

Since when did enjoying your free time become burdensome?

I will be the first to admit that I am as much part of the social media generation but it’s taken me quite some time to learn limits, boundaries and understanding of what is right and wrong.

At the beginning of the year I made a vow to stop using Twitter as frequently as I had once become accustomed to.

I deleted the app of my iPhone and my iPad and I changed my password so I wouldn’t be tempted to fall back down the rabbit hole that is binge scrolling.

Day after day, month after month I found myself no longer yearning for my Twitter account until one day when I realized Twitter had in fact deleted my account for some odd reason.

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I didn’t even blink an eye that it was gone, because I knew that I was living completely fine not being “plugged in” to the social media network.

The generation that I am a part of has decided that as a whole we must document every aspect of our life, whether with a witty check in, a cheeky Instagram post, or a facetious Tweet about the 2016 Presidential Election.

We have become slaves to our social media following. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to get acknowledgment and praise from time to time for something awesome or a life event that is once in a life time, but most of the time it is something so mundane or asinine that one doesn’t even bat an eyelash at.

When I think about what I am living for, I realized that I have to live for myself, for my happiness and what is reasonably acceptable for my life, both personally and professionally.

Too often I see peers who find the need to “do it for the gram” and it is that braggadocios attitude that continues to help divide our society as a whole.

It is a battle of the haves and have nots. Being a trend chaser, whether you’re at the latest music festival, or eating at the next biggest brunch place, these material things don’t matter in the long run. They’re short term activities that will have no bearing on your life in the future.

As a millennial who recently hit his “quarter life crisis” I’ve found myself become more introspective and take an inventory of everything and everyone in my life.

Over time, quality has become the overwhelming value in my life over quantity, from friends, to followers, to amounts of time I use my social media to brag to my “friends” about what I am doing.

I have put myself first in an attempt to live a better, more values based lifestyle. Instead of engaging with those who I don’t share interests with anymore, I choose to part ways and not look back.

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Letting go of any ill will I may have harbored or any semblance of a relationship I once have has allowed me to open my heart and my mind to so much more.

I’m able to live a fuller life that focuses on who I am as a person.

It’s important in life to remember who you are as a person, and if the person you’re portraying outward is not the person you are on the inside, than that is not living a genuine and authentic life. That is superficial and will only lead to more insecurities later on in life.

If you find yourself questioning your choices because of what is expected of you from others, instead of giving in or feeling pressured to oblige, think twice about if that is something you would truly do, something you would feel good about as an individual with their own identity.

Self-identity is exactly as it sounds. Instead of doing what everyone else is doing, do what you want.

As a wise person once told me, be the flame, not the moth. Be the one to stand out, not the one who follows.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Robin Vintevogel/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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About the Author
Howard Rudnick is an eccentric individual whose goal is to have his voice and stories heard by everyone. Faking it until he makes it, Howard gets a paycheck in the "real world" because writing isn't paying the bills. His sardonic views on world events and life often times get a great LOL response.

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