When you are a kid all you want to do is to fit in, when you grow up all you want is to be different. Remember when you were in school and everyone had that t-shirt with a pic of your favorite band on it? Everyone had it except you. You wanted it so badly, and right when you convinced your parents to buy it for you – ta, da! The whole school is wearing those converse sneakers, and you are stuck again somewhere in between your tryings to fit in and your parents. You were so unhappy and so lonely in your regular boring sneakers.
But then you grew up and things changed. When you are choosing your party dress, you want the one nodbody else has. You want unique shoes and bag, and also a unique hairstyle. It would be nice for your child to have a name that can be rarely heard, and also your wedding has to be so original that everyone will talk about it. It is so important for you to have your own habits, attitudes and standards, and to build your lifestyle.
What phycologists say about this? The way you lead your life can have big influence on your both physical and mental health. All those little habits we have, that look so cool in our own eyes, can make us sick or depressive. This risk is even bigger for teenagers because they are more concerned about building their lifestyle and also they are more insecure about themselves.
They will give their best to become popular, and sometimes they will not realize that they are actually giving their worst. Smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sleep or risky sexual activities are not ways to build your reputation and to make your own style. But the problem is, the social environment of teenagers is a really big factor (according to Taylor and Repetti, and their work Risky families: family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring); it is the place where young people are looking for their idols and behavior patterns. So they are, also according to these authors, copying lifestyles of the society they belong to, or they are reacting to some sort of feelings (sometimes it might be a good feeling, but sometimes they might cope with hopelessness).
Does a real life still matter? Well, I’m not sure. We will maybe talk about taking care of ourselves, living our lives to the fullest, and we’ll end up talking about those things on a social network. We will not care enough for our social life if we are not able to share some photos of us and our friends partying on a Saturday night. So, this question is reasonable. Do we really put our whole lives out there on the network, and completely forget what is the point of waking up every morning?
The Internet is full of advice and suggestions on how to build your lifestyle, and we became obsessed with it. According to Digital Trends, people in the United states spend “the most time per day on their phones”, and that time is a fascinating 4.7 hours. So we spend a few hours a day on social media, and if you think about it, it is a very big part of your life, even bigger than the time spent on doing some real things.
Erving Goffman created a sociological book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and that book was published in early 1959. It may not be related to the present situation, you will think. But it is, because human nature is universal, no matter in what era we live in. “Goffman’s approach certainly applies online, because of our postings –even our instant messages– are more deliberate acts than our informal behaviors in real life. Although some participants play at being flippant and spontaneous on Facebook walls and microblogs, they must have the greater consciousness of their effects on the viewer than most dinner table guests or concert attendees. Our online personas, therefore, conform even more closely to Goffman’s idea of everyday life than our everyday life does.” says Andy Oram, an editor at O’Reilly Media. And he is right, Goffman assumes that there are the front stage and back stage in life, and no matter how relaxed and natural you look like on the front stage, no doubt that your real self can come out only in backstage.
We must find some balance in our lives. No one expects you to deactivate all your accounts and forget about creating your unique lifestyle after reading this article. But hey, I hope your future lifestyle would be more oriented on yourself, and less on all those ideas about how you are supposed to live a modern life. Save your life from lifestyle and be original by staying who you really are.