It seems that in the after-glow of the bustling holiday season we are all forced to bask in an explosion of Facebook updates – I know five of my “friends” got engaged over the holidays and two more got married. Miss Dubs had two friends get new cars for Christmas from their husbands. Another friend announced her pregnancy. And as a bonus, everyone uploads album after album showing off their holiday loot or Mexican vacation or the fancy schmancy decorations they put up in their 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house in the ‘burbs.
For Christmas I got a new iPod nano, a Kenneth Cole watch and a wicked head cold. Don’t misunderstand me, I use my new nano every single day and I am rockin’ the watch as I type, but neither of them is an engagement ring or a house or a car or a baby. I wasn’t expecting anything more than what I got but after logging on and scoping out what everyone else has going on, well, it made the gifts I received, it made my life for that matter, seem inadequate.
These news feed-induced feelings of failure aren’t really limited to the holiday season but because there seemed to be a flurry of major activity between Christmas and New Year’s the emotions surrounding it all are definitely heightened. I hate to sound like I’m not satisfied with my life because I think I generally am, or I try to be at the very least, yet I can’t help scrolling through Facebook and thinking about all the things other people have or have done that I haven’t.
It reminds me of how far my twenties have been from what I thought they would be. It makes me feel like a failure in some ways because I can’t declare that “OMG I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!” or “Thanks to my FAB.U.LOUS husband for taking out the trash!” or “Close on the house today! Woot woot!” I realize that the people who throw up those status updates every 23 minutes are over compensating and are probably full of crap and feel just as lame as the rest of us, but I can’t help but feel a little jealous sometimes. And not only jealous, but also out of sync with my peers.
I am currently living in the world of frozen rent-house pipes and mice infestations and cooking for one and spending an entire weekend in leggings and house shoes because I have nowhere to go. (I think I just made our house sound crappy and it totally isn’t. It’s just old and older houses have a harder time in the winter than the new ones in the ‘burbs, or so I hear.) There was a plastic sword from my 2006 Xena the Warrior Princess costume hanging on our living room wall for six months and I’ve been driving the same car for almost nine years. And we all know how long it has been since I’ve been on a date. My world seems light years away from the world of nursery decorations, engagement photos, hosting family holidays, and cars with big red bows.
But really I’m okay. Until I see that seemingly everyone else in the free world is conquering adulthood like champions and I feel like I’m still in some weird in-between phase. Apparently there have actually been studies completed about this “Facebook Effect.” It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who recognizes that while most of it is mere puffery, it still has the power to make you feel like you are losing at the game of life. I asked Miss Dubs if I should start obsessively “hiding” people from my news feed and she thought it might be a good idea. I think the better plan is to remind myself, as frequently as necessary, that we all try to put our best foot forward on Facebook and even the people who seem to have it all don’t. I don’t really want their life anyway — I just want my life to feel like a little more sometimes.