What do you do for yourself?
Reflections of a tired brain in a reality show society.
As the online and offline worlds immerse, we are existing in real life and living online. Your work and personal life started to walk together, which makes it difficult to understand what's real or not nowadays. Sometimes you have glimpses of what is one without the other until your thoughts confuse you again.
The boom of personal branding amplified this feeling that our lives became endless work. It doesn't matter your occupation; self-promotion is a must. Your profile can't be only your hobby; you need to diversify your platforms, and everything you think/watch/do have to become an inspirational post. The feeling of exhaustion is not because the end of the year is coming and makes you anxious rethinking about your new year's resolutions; it is the overwhelmed effect that you never have enough time.
There's an avalanche of content on TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn about; Who do you want to be? How to find purpose? How to find your voice? These simple phrases are also changing their meaning and approach: "Who are you?" evolved to "Who do you want to be?", "How are you doing?" became "How do you want to be seen?", "What do you like?" is now about "What is your purpose?". You can't just be. Nothing is for you. It's always for the others.
Instagram evolved from a photo memory album to a butcher's menu; within each cut, there's a particular serving depending on what price you can pay for it and which one looks more special or rare.
People trained the brains to keep creating even in the moments we call "ours." It became automatic to take a photo and think it can make a good reflection post about life, watching a movie can become great content, watching a series create ideas of topics to comment on and share. So, What do you do for yourself? Are you sure you are relaxing? The hobbies are becoming extended work time and the "me time" moments are extinction.
The feeling of exhaustion is rooted in the necessity of excess productivity since the free time turned into self-branding time. As the internet has become the central organ of contemporary life and the center model of all social media platforms is the personal identity monetization, we don't know how to only exist as human beings anymore.
The pandemic showed that work-life balance is just another illusion of our society since people were not being seen; they needed to be remembered. The lockdown period amplified the boom of self-promotion, making the daily tasks endless and free time non-existent. And as the world reopens, the impact is even more visible now.
However, is everyone really required to become a public person? My answer is no. Even though I am a writer and content creator, I'm in desperate need to press stop on my brain and break free from the feeling of guilt for doing things for me and myself only because it is expected of me to be productive all the time.
Everyone is tirelessly chasing the same formula of false authenticity. Not everything needs to become content. Not everyone needs to self-promote all the time. And please, not every professional needs to dance to explain their work. Your profile can be your leisure and not another public figure.
Be honest and reflect; what do you actually do for yourself? Remember that anything related to work is not for you. Don’t you dare say studying is your hobby because it is also a career-related activity. It seems an easy question, but it is not. There's an ecosystem that runs on exploiting attention and monetizing the self.
We must normalize existing again. To relearn to do things for ourselves. Break free from the guilt of doing nothing because not everything is for everyone, and there's no formula on how to navigate your life, you do you and that's beautiful.
"The complaint of the depressive individual, "Nothing is possible," can only occur in a society that thinks, "Nothing is impossible." ― Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society
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