Social Media Decision-Making: I Don’t Care What You Think I Should Do In my 20’s

I think we’ve all noticed a trend of viral blog posts containing the words “What Every Twenty-Something Must _____ Before They _____” or “Why You Shouldn’t Get Married Before ____”…I could go on. In fact, if I see the phrase “Twenty-Something” again, I might go crazy.

The pervasiveness of social media has made us all hyper-sensitive to how others feel we should live our lives. Of course, caring what other people think or worrying about societal norms is nothing new. But these expectations and, sometimes, entirely opinionated pieces are now being sent to our phones or invading our Facebook newsfeed which we just happen to check every day or every hour – can we go one day without seeing what someone else thinks we should look like, do or not do, wear or not wear?

Here’s the problem: it is what someone else thinks you should do/wear/believe and this will never please everyone and often won’t even please you for the right reasons. You cannot make everyone happy. For every post about why you shouldn’t get married in your early twenties, you will see five more from the opposite side of the debate vouching for why you should of course get married and have kids young.

When it all comes down to it, who do you listen to? Whose is the most legitimate opinion?

The problem is relying on the opinions of others instead of forming your own. The fact that we see these expectations so often and in so many places can make you rely on others for your ideas of who you are, how you should behave, what political or religious views you should hold, and other important life decisions.

I am a Christian and my faith is the most important part of my life, but I do not believe the best way for someone to make a decision about their faith is to be told that it is what they should do or believe by society, by friends, or by a post shared on Facebook a million times. I think sharing your faith with others is great. But I think the decision of faith is something that should be extensively explored and researched by an individual and should hold a personal, intimate place in a person’s life. That feeling is not something that can be created in a virtual world. It has to be found in the real world without a reliance on others.

The same goes for marriage. There is no one out there who should be telling you when you should or shouldn’t get married except for you. This is a decision that should involve personal reflection and consideration and that is something lacking in our decision making skills these days.

Let’s step it up, guys.

When you put real thought into your decisions that do not involve the opinions of others and come to a conclusion on your own, those decisions will hold a more honest, relevant and personal place in your identity. You can truly say you are your own person making your own decisions and you can live without regrets.

What we should really spend more time doing is not arguing about which path is “correct” or why “ours” is better than “theirs” but instead how to better achieve what we believe is right for us. We should learn to leave our computers/phones in the background of our lives and find how to live outside of our virtual societies of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and those expectations. We should stop putting so much thought into what we must do by a certain age and start really living and enjoying what this age has to offer. You can do just about anything at any age if you want to and are willing to work hard enough to make it happen. 

I am not trying to argue that everything is relative or depends on the person. Good advice for people in different life stages is always welcome and can be helpful, that’s obvious. My main point is that you sometimes need to take a step away from social-media-decision-making and explore things on your own, especially when it comes to making more important life decisions. I also think there is a difference between articles simply sharing an opinion, giving advice or sharing stories and articles that claim that one way of life is the wrong way or the right way. Read as many articles and opinion pieces as you want, by all means. But keep in mind the other point of view. Look at the alternatives. The preferences of someone online are not necessarily true or right for every person and should not be pushed as if they are.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Feeling 22: The Birthday Cake

No birthday is complete without a cake. No girl’s 22nd birthday is complete without an even better, delicious chocolate cake topped with fudge, right? 

I turned 22 January 4th and can honestly say it was the best birthday yet. I went to lunch at Buffalo Grill with my mom, dad and boyfriend Charles. Then went to dinner at Cafe Prego with my best friends – one of the tastiest Italian places in Little Rock.

To top it all off, my mom made one of the best birthday cakes I’ve ever had. I feel like it wouldn’t be fair not to share the recipe with everyone else. If you’re a chocolate lover like me, give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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We made a chocolate cake and topped it with cream cheese icing and a Semi-Sweet Chocolate Glaze. The ingredients for the chocolate glaze are described separately below. We also put a chocolate-dipped strawberry on top and some crumbled Oreos around the bottom edge. So much chocolate – so good.

 

Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder. Mix dry ingredients on low until thoroughly combined.
3. Add coffee, buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix on medium for ~two minutes.
4. Pour batter into two prepared pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes for round pans or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
7. Frost as desired. I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting. 
 
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Glaze
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 3/4 cup

Ingredients:

 
3 squares BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Microwave chocolate, water and margarine in a large microwavable bowl on high 1 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring once. Remove from microwave. 
2. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
3. Stir in sugar and vanilla until smooth. For thinner glaze, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon additional water. 
4. Drizzle chocolate glaze on top and sides of the iced cake. 
5. Add crumbled Oreos around the bottom edge of the cake for some extra sweetness!
 

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That’s how you make the best cake, birthday style.