This is a post I've been writing and re-writing for a while. This morning I finally decided to complete it and publish it. There are two parts of this post. The first part is about phone use in social settings (in general); the second part focuses on what I believe to be the leading cause of the latter: Snapchat.
Let's begin, shall we?
We are living in a day and age where nearly every teenager is in possession of a cell phone, smart phone, iPod, etc. This fact itself is not bad. On the contrary, I’m glad that I have my phone as a way to share photos and communicate with friends, even when we’re not able to see each other in person.
Even still, is online communication (i.e. texting, IMing, Snapchatting) a decent substitute for socializing and communicating with someone in person?
The short answer: Absolutely not.
The long answer:
I will always value in-person interaction with my friends a thousand times as much as I value texting with them. As I said above, I enjoy texting my friends- when I’m not hanging out with them (or others) in person.
You cannot compare text messages or Snapchats to a real conversation with a friend.
And when we’re spending time with someone, that should be all that we are focusing our attention on.
We’ve all been in a situation where we’re hanging out with a group of people and everyone is constantly scrolling on their phone. And it sucks. It’s hard to carry out a decent conversation with someone who’s busy staring down at a screen and trying to be involved in many different conversations at once. Staring at your phone while supposedly “hanging” out with someone else says “I’m bored”. It says “You are not entertaining enough for me”, and it says “I would rather talk with the people in my phone than socialize with you”. Maybe that’s not always the intended meaning, but I do think that's what is says, whether it's intentional or not. We all have situations where we’re with friends and have to take a call or text a parent, but unless it’s 1. An emergency or 2. Involving a parent, it can wait (rather like texting and driving).
Being able to spend time with a friend (or with a group of friends) is one of the greatest things in life. Enjoying the company of someone I care about and having real conversations with them is something I value very much, and I wish our generation as a whole would stop taking it for granted. Every time you’re in the company of friends and you pull out your phone “just to check up on things”, whether you’re writing a text to another friend or sending a completely meaningless photo of the floor, the ceiling, or your face to your snapchat streaks, you are wasting time that you could be spending with a friend.
So let’s stop. Let’s save our “Snapchatting” and “social texting” for when we aren’t surrounded by peers, friends, and family. Let’s try to make the most of the opportunities when we get to enjoy the company of the people we care about.
Allow me to transition into part 2 of this post...
First of all, yes: I have at one point in my life had a Snapchat account. I got one and kept it for a few months, but then deleted it because there is absolutely no point to Snapchat.
Second of all, I'm not trying to come across as mean or hateful; this is simply my opinion. If you're a Snapchat user, don't let this offend you (and know that I don't hate you just for using Snapchat).
That being said...
Unpopular opinion: Snapchat sucks.
And, if I'm being honest, I find that to be an understatement. I simply do not understand why anyone who isn't a thirteen-year-old girl feels the need to have a Snapchat (not that 13-yr-olds benefit from it at all, either).
While it is true that Snapchat could be looked at as a different form of social texting, I think that for the most part, it has no meaning whatsoever. I've heard the argument that "Snapchat is basically texting, but it's better because you actually see people's faces".
Sure, okay... You're texting a friend and you get to add your own facial expression to supplement your words. I see the appeal of that. But then the conversation ends, and all you and your friend are doing is sending pictures of your faces back and forth for weeks (months, even) on end. And from there it turns into pictures of the ceiling, or the wall, or the floor, or random objects around the room. Meaningless.
Even worse is when the only Snapchats you receive from someone are the impersonal pictures they send to all of their "streaks".
Speaking of streaks... Why? Why, why, why, why, why,? There is no point at all to that number that appears beside someone's name because you've "faithfully" sent each other meaningless pictures for days on end. People get so worried about streaks ending- honestly, sometimes you'd think that losing a streak was the end of the world. You're earning these streaks ("points", if you will), but what do you win/gain? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
My main points about Snapchat:
Honesty: I hope that Snapchat dies (or at least that people stop being addicted to it and cease to spend an appalling amount of time "keeping up streaks".
If you use Snapchat, maybe take a few minutes to think about why you use it/how it adds anything positive to your life.
If you're not using Snapchat, thank you (and please let it stay that way).
Again, this is my opinion- I'm not trying to be mean or to say that all Snapchat users are terrible people. I just think that it is an increasingly-serious issue that really does need to be addressed (and hopefully fixed).
(I will add a quick note to this: I know a few (very few) people who have Snapchat accounts but do not let it control their lives and who don't really worry about keeping up with streaks and such. And some people probably do have meaningful conversations through Snapchat. However, those are few and far between, and I still really do believe that this communication could be done elsewhere and that no one needs Snapchat.)
Thanks for reading, friends.
It's a few days late, but nonetheless, here's my February wrap-up.
February was a pretty chill month, but I got to hang out with friends a lot, so that was really nice. Joy, Layne, Ben, Hannah and I reunited (after not seeing each other much over the Winter holidays) for Hannah's birthday and tried a new smoothie place near us (we've been trying to go to this place since last Spring but they never opened when we thought they would and then we forgot...). My sister and I went roller skating/bowling with some friends one weekend, and that was really fun. I attended the GO Conference (a missions conference) with my youth group; it was a really great weekend filled with awesome praise and worship, great teachers, and fantastic friends. My friend Jesse and I went to a lake and ate lunch/talked/enjoyed the Spring-like weather one afternoon after class, which was quite lovely. My clogging team had our annual Awards Night in February. This kicks off our season each year so I was really happy because I got to see people after a couple months of break (and now our regular practices are back, yay!). I also spent an afternoon writing with Joy; writing with other writer friends definitely motivates me more than writing alone.
I wrote more of "Continuing Forever III" than I thought I would, so that's a win! I read Infiltration again (reading your own writing is much better after some time has passed, in my opinion). I also started a sci-fi/horror book called "The Deadlands". It was better than expected, but I still didn't get very far into it. I re-read some of the "Throne of Glass" books; I need to read Tower of Dawn soon and find out what's up with Chaol!
My most-listened to bands/artists this month were Bon Jovi, NEED TO BREATHE, Francesca Battistelli, and Paul Cardall. However, I really didn't listen to very much music this month because I broke my earbuds (yay me...) and haven't had a ton of time to think about correcting the problem...
I pretty much did not watch Netflix this month... Yeah. I've decided that I have no time to find and begin new series, so I'm holding myself to not looking for anything to start and to just taking a Netflix break for a while. I'm actually being pretty diligent in this- I watched one movie with Layne. That's it.
I did, however, watch Les Mis with my family for the first time. I probably don't need to announce this, but it was pretty amazing.
February = chill month.
I'm thankful for lots of time spent with friends + beautiful spring weather (even though it's cold again now) + the fact that I'm (pretty much) staying afloat with school.
How was your February?
Thanks for reading.
How's life? Hopefully pretty great; probably pretty busy, right?
The beginning thoughts of this blog post have been twirling around in my head for couple of weeks, and I'm just now writing them down... so here we go.
"Be happy with what you have while working for what you want." -Unknown
That's been one of my favorite quotes for a while now. Short and sweet; easy to remember. Harder to live by.
I'm graduating high school this Spring. Surprisingly enough, I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do with my life from here on out. Not all of the details and "when's"/"how's" are ironed out, of course; I can never pretend to know exactly what's going to happen... even so, I know the general direction I want to take towards the goals I want to achieve. I'm enthusiastic about life; I'm looking forward to finishing college and getting a degree and I'm excited for life after that: moving out and living independently, starting my own business, getting married, having kids, etc., etc., etc.
All of that is awesome and wonderful; I am looking forward to it, and I cannot wait.
However, I am currently "stuck" here. I'm in high school/dual-enrolled in college. I spend most of my time going to classes, doing homework, and trying to figure out a job. It easily becomes monotonous and dull; it feels like the things I am forced to accomplish in my everyday life are keeping me from my goals. In reality, of course, I actually am getting myself closer to my goals... teensy tiny almost-imperceptible step by teensy tiny almost-imperceptible step. You can't accomplish goals overnight.
But it is heckin' annoyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyying. (Almost as annoying as when I use an obnoxious amount of "y's".)
It is so easy to get carried away looking towards your next big "milestone". It gives you tunnel vision, and suddenly the things you're currently doing in your everyday life are nothing more than steps you have to take and blanks you have to fill- hindrances, if you will. You have a goal in mind, something you're working towards, and it isn't happening right now.
And it is aggravating! It's frustrating and discouraging! It makes you want to put your fist through a wall!
But you can't live only for "big" goals. You have to learn to embrace the smaller goals, the tiny victories, the everyday triumphs. It's okay to be happy, excited, or proud of yourself for the smallest of reasons. You have to focus on whatever you're doing right here, right now.
If you've got to organize your desk, make that your life's mission for fifteen minutes. If you're with friends, being with friends is what is most important right now. If you're making a cup of tea, focus on that for three minutes and make it the best freaking cup of tea in the world. Having goals for the future and being motivated to get yourself to those goals is awesome (and important), but it can easily take away from the life that you're living right here, right now.
Finding the balance between planning for the future and enjoying the present is hard; I cannot for one second claim to have found it. However, as I continually try to be better about this, I find that it really does help to actively think "Okay, this is what I am doing right this second, so I will focus on that for right now". It seems a little silly at first (petting the cat is the center of my universe for the next five minutes? Okay...) but honestly, it helps slow you down when you're feeling the urge to fast-forward your life and jump into the future.
Another thing to remember is that you are always going to have certain things that are "far ahead" of you. Once you accomplish one goal, there will be another one looming. You're (probably) never going to accomplish every single goal you've ever set for yourself, because as you're succeeding and crossing things off of your list, you're simultaneously adding more items to it. And that's life.
I also have to constantly remind myself that life is never going to be exactly like this again; enjoying the present while working towards the future is very important.
Another note: You can feel this way even if your life is good right now; even when seems nearly perfect, human nature stills says, "But what about this? We need that. What we want is ahead of us."
No matter how frustrated I might get on a really boring Tuesday afternoon, my life really is great right now. I'm incredibly blessed with an awesome family, amazing friends, and fantastic opportunities. I'm happy where I am, but I still have to remind myself constantly to slow my mind down, breathe, and focus on/be grateful for today.
A great Bible verse that is related to this topic is Matthew 6:34:
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Another of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:3-4; this one is a good reminder about contentment:
"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pleasure. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
This was a rant that was maybe meant to be somewhat helpful...? Either way, I hope some of you are encouraged by this. If there are ways you fight the urge to "fast forward" or keep yourself motivated each day, please do let me know in the comments. What are some areas of life you find yourself stressing over and trying to rush?
Thanks for reading, friends. Stay cheerful and grateful.
I’m pretty sure I started out my 2017 “end of January” post very, very similarly, but even still…
How is the first month of the year already gone??!
Even though the end of the month always comes sooner than I expect it to, this month went by particularly fast. I feel like I was sleeping for most of it and just woke up last week. Because of this, I really don’t have a lot to say about January, but I’ll do my best...
My college classes started on the 8th. I’m taking five classes this semester (versus the two very easy classes I took last semester), and that’s been a pretty big workload. The classes themselves are going great; my teachers are awesome and I’m interested in what I’m learning. But the homework, of course, is...less than great. Just keeping up with the reading from five different books has been a challenge. However, it keeps me busy, and I prefer being busy to having nothing to do. There’s always a bright side, right?
Due to classes being randomly cancelled (for reasons unknown to me), class locations getting switched around, MLK day, and lots of snow, the first and second weeks of the semester were pretty disorganized. I didn’t have class at all the second week, so I felt like I was starting all over again when I went back. I like routine, so the chaotic scheduling (or lack thereof) kind of stressed me out. But the third and fourth weeks have been nice and normal (thank goodness).
I haven’t done any actual writing of “Continuing Forever III”; due to lack of time/inspiration, that was put on hold in December/January. I have, however, done some reading-through of what I’ve already written and planned out the plot a bit further. I’m already to plow into it (as best I can) and get the rough draft finished next month.
Even though I wasn’t writing my novel, I did add another installment to “Wings” (and it was about time). If you want to catch up on the latest chapter or start from the beginning and see what it’s all about, you can do so here.
I didn’t read a whole lot in January (*cries*); however, I did finish the "Gifting" Trilogy (finally) and made some more progress in the Mistborn trilogy and the "Seven Realms" series.
The only music update I have from this month is the fact that M A N I A finally came out and Fall Out Boy is as fantastic as ever.
I saw “The Greatest Showman” twice in January and it was the most beautiful film I’ve seen in awhile. I teared up a lot while watching it just because of how amazing the cast/story/music is. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest doing so ASAP. I’m eagerly awaiting the day it is released on DVD.
My family has also been watching “Grand Tour”; I know nothing about cars but I’ve really been enjoying it (and learning a bit about cars in the process). It’s quite hilarious.
Lastly, I’ve been finishing up season two of “The Crown” on Netflix. 10/10 recommend.
All in all, it’s been a pretty chill month. So hurray for the first wrap-up post of the year! (You can now place bets on how long you think I’ll stick to these this year. I think August was my accomplishment in 2017?...)
How was the start of your year? What was the best part of your January?
Thanks for reading, friend.