It’s a thin line between your reality and a façade on the internet.
Becoming “That Girl,” being the “main character,” “romanticizing your life” and whatever else you’ve heard it being called on social media, can put a lot of pressure on those of us in our twenties. According to the American Psychological Association, in the last year, Gen Z adults reported having the highest stress level of all generations before them. Living in a first-world country where everything is amplified from rising student debt and joblessness after college to feelings of isolation and societal standards influenced by capitalistic views, the future has become uncertain.
There are, however, some opportunities for good through these trends. According to verywellmind.com, Generation Z is deemed “the most depressed generation” than any generation before them during their teens and new adulthood. In our twenties, it is encouraged by society to overwork ourselves, have a “10-year plan” for the sake of progress and be established by our 30s, while also maintaining a healthy social life. It can drive just about anyone to the brink of exhaustion, which adds to rising mental health issues. If available, speaking with a mental health professional or a trusted advisor about your thoughts is a great use of the trend. Or even writing that feeling down to reflect. It promotes the communication of one’s feelings and emotions effectively as a way to grow awareness of self. Yet, these services are not always free and available to every community, which obviously is not mentioned in these trends because it doesn’t fit the narrative. With that being said, here are a few national organizations that help with both the education of mental health and resources for those in need.
The trend “Romanticizing your Life,” more often swings in the direction of “look at all the cool stuff I’m doing, while you are sitting on the couch watching” rather than “enjoying the beauty and quality of life.” Not all of us, have access to a hiking trail or a secret waterfall or an abandon warehouse (believe me, I’ve seen it online) to explore or even a nearby park. If you are breathing air outdoors once a day or week, you’re probably doing better than you think. Appreciation of little things, like going outside and laying in the grass to watch the wind blow through trees, is another great use of the trend. There were once days when children gazed up at the sky and found shapes in the clouds! That’s one way to romanticize.
American capitalism has drilled into its people that sleep is irrelevant and overworking it important when it comes to achieving success. According to nhlbi.nih.gov, sleep is how our brain improves how we learn and how much learning we are able to absorb. With the “That Girl” trend, it can amplify over-productivity over rest periods to seem more “put together” or adult-like online. Steve Harvey had once said that “rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day—You can’t live in L.A. and wake up at 8 o clock in the morning.” He then goes on to insinuate that since the world is awake and they were recharging their body through slumber, they were missing out on something. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, according to verywellmind.com, was a method to the social media madness of it all. It promotes excessive doom scrolling, which allows teens and new adults in their twenties to fall down a rabbit hole of “am I doing enough?” as well as poor body image.
Opting to spend time by yourself, away from the internet for whatever portion of time you have, is one part of the “Main Character” trend that seems like a good idea. It promotes the active choice to put the phone down rather than keeping up with the façade of having one’s life together in their twenties. This is a time that can be used to find acceptance of ones’ appearance. If a twenty-something can find comfort in their own company, away from peers and pressure, then they can provide their own peace.
Rather than agonizing over why you’re not successful yet by American societal standards in your twenties, focus on mastering the art of enjoyment of the journey. The truth of the matter is that we cannot control everything, and our best intentions can fall through the cracks. According to lifechiefnation.com, accomplishing the goal is cool, but the hard work you put behind that goal is what you will pride yourself on most. The road is bound to get bumpy and frustrating when working towards those goals but making those mistakes in your twenties is crucial. How else will you learn from them? And not only learn from them but pass on your knowledge to the next generation.
Putting faith in the trends to somehow make ourselves appear socially productive to others isn’t just bad, we add to the problem in America. Life isn’t always romantic, being you is enough, and we don’t always have to be the main character as long as we view ourselves as important.