Have you ever had a few minor aches and pains, plugged them in to Google and, within a few minutes, convinced yourself that you were severely ill? This effect is apparently known as Cyberchondria and is not an uncommon reaction to WebMD.
I was getting coffee with a friend last week and we were joking about how social media can be a lot like WebMD. You think you're OK - you're having a good day, cruising right along - and then, bam! You see a friend in Iceland. Suddenly you're Googling flights to Reykjavik, making a Pinterest board for all of the cute coats you're going to need. Not to mention the boots!
And bam! You see a friend just graduated law school and you're panicked: what are you doing with your life anyway? Suddenly your bachelor's degree feels like child's play and you're scouring the internet for an LSAT prep course near you.
You see a friend's Christmas dinner table - the white dishes, gold chargers and tiny evergreen wreaths. Suddenly your tiny piney feels like Charlie Brown's tree and you're wondering if you're actually a grown up?
You see people at a party on Friday night, as you're getting in bed at 10 p.m. after a lovely night of a face mask and a glass of wine. Suddenly your night (about which you felt very content five minutes prior) feels embarrassing. Why didn't anyone invite me? Why don't I do more cool stuff? Why am I not more social?
From boyfriends to babies, brunch to New Year's Eve and everything in between, it can be easy to sit on social media and notice all the things that are wrong with our lives. It can be easy to suddenly feel the aches and pains that are plaguing us, diagnosing ourselves with all sorts of issues that were never really there to begin with.
In these moments, it helps me to talk back to those aches and pains. To remind myself that Iceland does sound nice, but, before this moment, it wasn't even on my bucket list. And sure, another degree would be nice, I guess, but I'd never even thought about grad school until I noticed everyone around me was snatching up MBAs.
It's essential for me to have grounding statements (Truth Arrows!) to speak back to that noisy voice echoing from social media. I have to remind myself I'm exactly where I need to be right now. I am doing enough. I am not missing out. There is enough to go around.
I am not supposed to keep up, but, instead run wild and free toward my own dreams.
Maybe you're running toward your dreams. Maybe you feel super stuck, unsure of what to do next. Maybe you have no clue what your dreams are and are just trying to keep your head above water today.
From someone who has been there (all of those places!), let me tell you: You are doing enough. You may feel like you're drowning. But, you might actually be treading. Don't let the cyberchondria get you down. Keep going. You're doing great.