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Anthony Bourdain embodied everything I wanted to become professionally.
He travelled to the most beautiful and unique places in the world. He had fascinating conversations about politics and society with the most interesting people in the world. He feasted on the most exotic and delicious foods in the world. And he got paid to do it all.
It seemed like the dream life that everyone wants, but tragically it wasn’t enough. Or it was too much.
The sad irony is that though his show “Parts Unknown” seemed to put his amazing travel life on display for millions, there were dark and desperate parts of his life that were unknown to everyone.
If you want to make acquaintances, live life as you normally would. But if you want to make meaningful friendships, you have to be intentional.
I’m a fairly shy person. In a crowded setting, I stand by myself wanting to talk to people, but not knowing how. In small groups or one-on-ones, I get awkward about long silences but don’t know what to say.
It’s not easy for me to make friendships. But I know I need them. I need to invest in people and I need people investing in me.
Social media was supposed to be this wonderful platform that improved our lives. It was supposed to rekindle old relationships, keep us updated with friends far away, meet new people around the world over common interests, and create some sense of a global community.
In many ways it has done that.
But it seems to be more commonly known for narcissists and trolls. It’s the place where we compare our lives to each other, seek attention in the form of digital hearts and thumbs, argue for the sake of arguing, share sensational yet false news, and spend the majority of our time just scrolling.
It’s that way because that’s the way we made it. Social media isn’t inherently bad. I believe the platform has enormous positive potential. We just need to use it more intentionally in ways that benefit us and the people around us.
Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other platform, here are a few guidelines that will help.
You’ve heard all the news about how Facebook gave your data to Cambridge Analytica who used it to run ads affecting the election. It’s got all the soundbites of a sensationalized story – Facebook, private data, scandal, Russia, Trump, election.
A lot of media outlets don’t really understand it. Based on Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings, Congress certainly doesn’t understand it – or how the internet works for that matter. And most people, probably you included, don’t understand it.
I run Facebook ads. I get it. What happened wasn’t a big deal – at least for the reasons people are freaking out about. But what happened was also serious – for the reasons people aren’t thinking about.
Sometimes the minuscule becomes so overwhelming that it steals from the truly important.
We live in a condo community where everything is maintained and regulated by an HOA. Recently we got a series of notifications from the HOA nitpicking on little details of where we could park our car and where we could put my trash cans.
It felt like they had something against us and were singling us out. Their notices weren’t generic – they were specific to us breaking the rules. Immediately, I felt anger, bitterness and resentment.
Normal life. Mass shooting. Thoughts and prayers. America’s gun problem. Second amendment rights. Facebook and Twitter fights. Divided nation. Inactive government. Normal life.
It’s routine, cyclical, and sickening.
The first major mass shooting (in my lifetime that I can remember) was Columbine. It was horrific to think it happened at a school. That so many kids died. That the shooters themselves were just kids. That they had access to so many guns.
But now we have a couple of these every year. It’s almost seasonal.
In the 2 decades or so of common tragedies, we haven’t found a solution, we haven’t worked together, and we haven’t even had decent dialogue.