Phrases like "life of adventure" and "never stop exploring" and "lets go somewhere" and "get outside" and "explore everything" are certainly mocked.
Because let's face it, despite what people advertise on any platform of social media, this just isn't real life. And the thing Barbie mocks most? The idea that people are also using the word "authentic" in relation to such phrases-- or making viewers feel inadequate because their lives don't match the adventurous, picture perfect ones on Instagram or other social media platforms.
Fact: I love to write posts and share photos of our pretty awesome adventures in Taiwan and around the world.
Another fact: I also try to balance the illusion of our Perfect Expatriate Lifestyle with my reality of being a full time employed expat who sometimes likes to spend entire weekends in dirty pajamas hiding from the world, or who has to sometimes spend entire weeks doing nothing but work-work-work because the end of a quarter is around the corner.
For the sake of full disclosure, I am not a "popular" travel blogger or digital nomad who is glued to every kind of social media in an effort to self promote. In fact, that iPhone that I just bought? I cannot wait to get rid of it, and am about to pass it off to a friend. Frankly, in terms of blogging, I am a nobody. Still, I know that my little travel blog is sometimes one dimensional and sometimes reads like my life is all butterflies and rainbows. And sometimes I know it stirs in my readers the green eyed monster. I know this because they tell me so, and usually the people who tell me so are very real people in my life who matter a lot to me.
"You're so lucky!"
"I'm so jealous."
Ninety percent of the time, I am a sweaty mess running from one classroom to another teaching 8th and 9th grade. Or sitting on my couch in my PJs reading. Or tearing out my hair grading essay 50 with 10 more still to go.
But I don't blog about those times, and I don't want to. If my readers are silly enough to believe that my life is that one dimensional and perfect, well, I think that's on them, not on me.
And that's true of all social media users, I think. Because all kinds of social media can cause envy.
Sometimes it's from Facebook. Those pictures you just posted of your perfect twin babies? Yeah, that made me feel jealous. That Instagram photo you just posted of your impromptu adventure while everyone else was at work? Yeah, that made me jealous too. That tweet that you just closed on that beautiful two-story home? Jealousy, table for one. That blog post about your perfect trip sailing the Greek islands? Watch out! The green eyed monster is here!
What I am saying is that the grass can always look greener on the other side. But, at the end of the day, I am really thankful I am not a sleep deprived new mother. And I am proud that I have a job I care about and am fully supporting my own existence. And I am relieved and ecstatic that I am not hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. And I am glad I am in Taiwan; I like it here, and I don't really wish to be somewhere else.
So, while Barbie totally has a point about social media posters, I think some eye rolling should also be directed at social media users who let themselves be fooled.
Who controls what you look at online? You. That's who. And I am not gonna lie; I actively avoid certain people online because I know the end result. Their seemingly carefree and unemployed existence or perfectly staged photos or insanely well funded lifestyle makes me question the wonderfulness of my own life.
And it's my choice to play that game, so I just don't.
It's as easy as that.
And that is your choice too.
So Barbie, I hear you, but still, let's get real: if you don't want it in your life, stop tuning into it!