The Unfair Comparison
During a random discussion with a co-worker, somehow we looped into discussing personal records. I remembered that way back when in elementary school, I set the record for the pacer test. I don't remember the number, but I do remember seeing my name put on a leaderboard in the gym.
Who knows if I have the record now. The pacer test has evolved, changed and is digitized all over the web. I can now look up pacer scores for schools around the nation and quickly see that my personal record is no where near the top hundred.
Though, would that have been healthy for my young self to know that I wasn't even in the top hundred for an achievement I just set? For that, I don't know. I'm mature enough at this age that comparing myself to the entire world is not a fair comparison.
I started noticing something on social media with some friends which I can relate to this. A few photos pop up of a friend visiting some exotic foreign country. Swimsuits, beaches and alcohol which looks like a perfect island getaway. Is this person on vacation? Honeymoon? Work sponsored travel? Who knows, but they are having fun.
The next social media article is a friend on a cruise enjoying what looks like a perfect steak. The individual elements of any of these posts is nothing special. People take vacations and spend money - that is just how life works. What I noticed is that friends build some fake person in their head. This fake person becomes a combination of all the best things of social media.
They start comparing themselves and their life to that fake person they've designed in their head. At one point, I was contributing to that image of a perfect life with my trip to Aruba. However, what people don't know is that was my first vacation in two years.
Social media doesn't show me running errands, attending doctor appointments or any other boring things adults have to do. Social media, in general, showcases the best and looking at the best all the time can warp an understanding of how your individual life should be.