Relating to Listicles and Other Problems

Someone recently came up to me and asked, “When are you going to release more writing on your blog?” I was taken back because A) I didn’t think anyone in particular read my stuff, this blog was for more or less my enjoyment and distraction and B) I didn’t have an answer for her.

It’s been a challenge for me to think about what I want to write about. I recently graduated from college so I have the typical post-grad struggles of finding a job and looking into Graduate Schools and living at home with my parents again after 4 years of freedom. Many blogs that I see now-a-days seem like they are barking orders at people, and telling them how they should live their lives. One post I saw that really grinded my gears was “Why You Should Only Date A Girl Who Drinks Whiskey” or some shit like that. I was like, “WAIT REALLY??? ONLY GALS WHO DRINK WHISKEY ARE DATABLE?!?!? MAN, I’ve been living life all wrong! WHERE’S THE WHISKEY!?” (JK, I never said that ‘cause that would be RIDICULOUS).

And that is just one post from a blog in a sea of other “listicles” and order-barking advice columns. From “Why It’s Better to Date Your Best Friend” to “11 Signs You’re the Wild Friend” to “What Happens When Are In Love With Your Sorority Pledge Class”, people reach out to these articles to feel like they connect to a larger population than just themselves. I scroll through Facebook and I see these articles pasted on my timeline with captions such as, “WOW. This is me.”, “Couldn’t have said it better myself”, “*Significant Other’s Name* <3”, or “#11 is perfect”. I have even shared a couple of these articles on my friends’ walls and on my own timeline. I am guilty of this because I am human, and humans just want to relate. Should my goal be to relate to people this way? Should I start shouting my beliefs online in order to get more shares?

I’ve always believed in a life that can be inspired by things I find interesting or things I like to do or people I love or places I’ve been. I believe that there is no one way to live a perfect life. I believe there are many beliefs that are taken by different people, and that no one belief is wrong. I believe that there is a certain vanity to social media, and we all want to be portrayed in a well-lit light that shows the world who we are (or at least who we want to be). I also believe in the power of a good article and in the power of social media. I believe that you’re allowed to disagree with my beliefs.

I think people are challenged to find a place where they belong or a belief they want to follow. I am confronted with this everyday as I wake up to go to my summer job that I’ve been doing since high school even though I have a Bachelor’s Degree. Now, if there was an article out there that was titled “11 Struggles of a Post-Grad Who Was Denied by Graduate School and is Still Working at a Summer Job She’s Had Since High School All While Trying to Find a Job She is Qualified to Do While Also Trying to Convince Her Parents to Get A Puppy”, I would send that shit on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, to all my contacts on Gmail, print it out and send it to my grandma, and laminate it and read it as a bedtime story every night to myself. I don’t blame people for trying to relate. I want to relate. You want to relate.

Guess which one doesn't know what the heck she's doing after graduation and that same gal is me

Guess which one doesn’t know what the heck she’s doing after graduation and that same gal is me.

Through my “11 struggles”, I’ve learned something: the world is full of opportunities. Just because you hit a block in the road, don’t mean you can’t turn back around and take the detour. Just because you see the same things everyday doesn’t mean you can’t rearrange the room. Just because someone told you “no” doesn’t mean that someone won’t say “yes”. Just because you feel like no one can relate to you doesn’t mean that you’ll never meet that one person that does.

I’ve learned through observing all my Facebook friends sharing all these “relatable listicles” is that people can relate to each other, and in comradery, there is power. I feel empowered when I know that I have people by my side fighting a fight with me. Although I cannot relate to the “datable girls who drink whiskey”, I can relate to the author of the article; she just wants her voice to be heard. She loves writing and seeing people make connections to it.

Even at the end of this article, I am still unsure what I want to blog about, but that’s okay. I’m still not sure what career path I want to take, but that’s also okay. Doesn’t mean I should stop trying, doesn’t mean I should stop writing, doesn’t mean I should stop working. Someday I’ll find my niche. And don’t worry, because you will too.

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