Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Facebook-Friendly Life

In this day and age, everyone controls exactly what they put out into the world.  Your high school friend posts her most beautiful Facebook photos from her exotic vacation, taken at the perfect angle so her abs look like she hasn't eaten sugar in a year.  Your old coworker tweets about the surprise four-course dinner prepared by his significant other... just because.  Your neighbor blogs about the 15 ways she incorporates vegetables into her child's snacks, all while running a Fortune 500 company and training for an Iron Man, complete with pictures of her perfect, smiley children.

It's easy to feel like you're the only one without the perfect body, relationship, and children.  The only person who doesn't have a glamorous job and can't afford to take tropical vacations on a whim.  Worst of all, it's easy to feel like you're the only moron who can't get on board and figure out what seems to be so easy for everyone else.

That's my problem.  It's not a lack of the perfect abs, relationship, job, or travel plans that frustrates me, but the feeling that there are people out there who have it all figured out... who know how to balance it all, be happy, and be good people when I feel like I am fumbling around just trying to remember my phone when I leave the house.

There may be days when I manage to work out, have a productive day at the office, drink 32 oz of water, eat 5 servings of vegetables, say my prayers, be nice to other people, call my mother, walk Clyde, do some laundry, and make dinner for my husband, but to be honest, by the next day I'm usually so exhausted and burnt out that I barely accomplish anything at all.  Frankly, there is just no way to have your Facebook-friendly life become your 24/7 reality.

But tonight while I was sliding open the bathroom cabinet and secretly wishing that my arms could look that good the other 23.9 hours of the day, I realized that just as everyone else can edit what they put out into the world, I can edit what I choose to put into world.  For example, I can ignore all of the wedding pictures where you can totally see my freakishly long hair extension sticking out, and just focus on the ones where Mike and I look really happy.  I can ignore the days that I eat a bowl of frozen yogurt stuffed with toppings the size of my head, and focus on all of the days that I eat a salad instead.  I can forget about the days when I feel like I'm not making any progress at work and focus on the meetings that go really well.  I can ignore the fact that I just started a paragraph with a contraction and focus on the fact that at the end of a long day I managed to write something before I fell asleep.

Of course, on the really bad days I can also remind myself that my high school friend with the perfect abs on vacation may have spend 90% of her vacation in the hotel with food poisoning while her husband was out surfing, only to emerge from her room for a 15-second photograph.  I can think about the fact that my old colleague's wife might using the four-course meal to apologize for the four pairs of shoes she bought at Nordstrom that afternoon.  And that neighbor with the children who eat vegetables?  Well, she may have bribed them to smile for the pictures with candy bars.  You just never know what happens in people's lives--what they are really dealing with or worrying about on a daily basis--because frankly, that's just not Facebook-friendly material.

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