Feeling the Pressure to Keep Up
Sunday nights have become somewhat ritualistic. The mad night-before-university-deadline-is-due panic (induced in most cases by the fact I hadn't done anything other than highlight a few sentences in some library book) has now been replaced with a shit shit shit have I got all of my blog posts for the week scheduled? Have I thought about how the images will look on Instagram? Do I have all of my tweets ready in hootsuite? Have I set alarms to remind me when to post things? And the one major underlying question - is what I have done good enough?
Or more truthfully: am I good enough?
Cue an influx of panic-ridden outgoing texts sent to friends bailing on drinks, emails to PR's rearranging meetings, and cancelling any gym classes that I had planned for a weeknight evening so that I can stay in and work, to regain a little control.
We're living in a world that's incredibly demanding, with our attention constantly being pulled at by other people, adverts, work, admin, to-do lists, exercising, to name just a small few, and sometimes it feels that life - especially our modern digitally enhanced one (if enhance is really the right word to use) - is a little too much to keep up with.
Blogging is no longer enough. You have to be a personal brand, a likeable YouTube star, have 50k+ Instagram followers, and preferably a really cute dog, boyfriend, or best friend to constantly post pictures with (and if you have all three, then you're clearly winning at #socialmediagoals) Then there's the pressure to dress well, push yourself up the career ladder in my full-time job/ do your best at university/ secure a grad role/ grow your Instgram followers/ make more money through your blog.
It's like running on a treadmill that's getting faster and faster, and if you can't keep up and slow down for just a second, you'll trip and fall onto the floor in front of that really fit guy in the gym. Awks. So you keep running and running so you don't fall off until you can't really breathe anymore and it all gets a little too much.
At the heart of it all comes comparison. We wouldn't look so harshly on ourselves if we didn't look at others lives the way that they are. And it's a mean, dirty old track to fall down.
Someone asked me this weekend what happens if I don't do my blog work. The answer? Well, nothing. But at the same time, everything. I wont get as many page views - my statistics will suffer. I won't have anything to post on social media, so growing my Instagram will halt. And people will lose interest. I'll become irrelevant. And then I'll die. Ok, jk about dying, but it's the fear of losing traction that keeps you on track - albeit a tiring one. The crux of the matter? The only person putting that pressure on me is myself. The pressure to keep up with everyone else's successes.
But I think, more than anything, what would happen if I just didn't do my blog work is that I'd freak the fuck out. It's a control thing, I guess. I've said before that I'm a perfectionist, and I've written how it's important to take a break sometimes, but when we're all so interlinked and interconnected digitally with our phones attached via invisible umbilical cord to our fingertips, it becomes very very difficult to switch off.
Sitting on my desk is a book on the life-changing habit of giving less fucks, and ironically, I may have had time to Instagram it, but I haven't even had chance to open it. I think it's time to take a step back and take some time to read the book.
Sometimes it's okay to get off the treadmill, take a step back, look at the bigger picture - your bigger picture, and nobody else's. Never forget that.
photos by Rosalind Alcazar