Happiness = Reality — Expectations

Last week a podcast was released by Joe Rogan where he had on Elon Musk. I’ve watched a lot of Joe’s podcasts and find him to be a fascinating interviewer. He’s often able to break people down to their most vulnerable and genuine form of themselves. There was a lot of controversy about this podcast where Elon was seen taking a drag of a blunt. The mainstream media, who often criticize Musk’s ability to run Tesla as CEO, went crazy. For the record, I have never been short nor long $TSLA, but am fascinated by the company and the advancements they are making both in electric vehicles and solar energy. I may not believe he is the right man to be CEO of Tesla, but I can certainly appreciate his innovative mindset towards life.

The part I found most interesting was when they talked about social media and how people put themselves out there through different social mediums, much like I’m doing here, I guess. Casey Neistat, a serial entrepreneur in his own right, put out a video today discussing a couple quotes from the podcast that resonated with me as well. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” was the first quote he discussed and the title of this piece was the second. Now, I am no social media ‘influencer.’ In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I’ve always seen Instagram and other mediums as just that — a place where people put out the best versions of themselves despite what they are going through in their daily lives. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice I very rarely post anything. Mostly, it is pictures of cool landscape pictures that I’ve taken(isn’t that the point of the app?) and pictures of my family/dogs.

For me, Instagram and Twitter are a way for me to keep in touch with family and high school/college friends, most of which have moved away from Omaha where we all grew up. This is more important to me now that I have moved away from Omaha myself. However, I’m noticing the same thing at a local level. People I’ve known forever are posting pictures and videos of them having a great time or seemingly bragging about how great their lives are. That’s great and I’m very pleased to see those types of things, however, often times when I see them in person or talk to mutual friends, the story is much different. Hell, I know plenty of people who have bought followers on Instagram to make themselves seem more popular than they otherwise would. I’ll never understand the motivation behind making a decision like that. Millennials are the first generation to grow up through the Social Age. Xanga, Myspace, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. all allow us to put the very best of ourselves out there to the world and have since we were in 6th grade.

I’m extremely happy, genuinely. I have a great family who has supported me through tough times in my life and have pushed me through college into my financial career and friends who have always looked after me and have been life partners to me. I have a great career with a firm that is growing exponentially. I live in Orange County, California that is, for my money, the most beautiful part of Southern California. None of this has made its way onto my social media and quite frankly, my friends and family use social media very, very infrequently. I’ve often considered deleting Twitter and Instagram because I don’t contribute much of what most people do. I’ve kept them because I still really do enjoy keeping up with what my peers are up to around the country. It just saddens me that we live in a culture where people are covering up their struggles with content that makes it appear that they are doing much better than they are. I do not know their lives that well and cannot know what they are going through, but I wish people felt comfortable being themselves — I know I do.

Last week we also lost Mac Miller. An artist who was a lynchpin in my high school days and was for many people around the country. He, too, portrayed his happiness on social media at times when it is now apparent he was struggling. Now, we have lost him to a drug overdose at 26. Twenty six. I turn 25 next week and can’t imagine the struggles he must have been going through to end his life so abruptly. It makes me sick thinking that some of the people from my high school/college days may be going through the same, despite portraying themselves as the opposite on social media. I hope I’m wrong, but I’d hope those people would also reach out to me, their close friends or family if they are actually struggling.

As I was getting ready to write this I also learned that Nick Fisher took his own life today. Nick was a grade younger than me at Creighton Prep. He played soccer, a sport I have become a fan of through my close friends. He was a hell of a player, far better than I. He also went to UNO with me. Nick and I played intramural soccer together at UNO and joined an indoor league on weeknights as well. He would come over to my house after games to hang out as well as decompress after league matches. We weren’t extremely close by any means, but I enjoyed the couple years I got to know him. I also took an accounting class Senior year with his sister, Delaney. Delaney and I sat next to each other and became friends. She was doing photography and we would help each other with homework and such. It was a natural fit, since Nick and his high school buddies made up most of the team I had played with a couple years prior. It sickens me to find out that he has passed, a year my junior. My condolences go out to Delaney, as well as Nick’s friends and family.

You hear it all the time — check in on your friends. If it hasn’t already, it should be very clear that this is more important now than ever. Thankfully, me and my close friends stay in touch daily, if not weekly. Everyone is in good spirits and are kicking off their lives and doing well. I just hope those of you reading this are doing the same for your friends. Especially in today’s world, where social media allows people to cloud others’ perception of themselves, we must make sure everyone is okay and happy. As you quickly scroll through tweets and pictures/stories on Instagram, take a deeper look at things and make sure the people in your life are as happy as they seem. It may just save a life.