What glass are you breaking? (on social media and life)


I found myself a new place. I’ve been busy and exhausted moving stuff and keeping my cool as I transact with all kinds of people in the hopes of a smooth transition. Once again, I was reminded that no amount of preparation could ready you for the delays, reversals, additional fees, and grumpy people life will put in your way anyway.  These days, I don’t sleep — I pass out, sometimes even forgetting to change. And I have to wake up early the next day because so and so needs to be delivered to my place.

I’m so tired, but... Honestly? How I missed this. How I missed this grapple with life! And I can’t help but blame our beautiful social media lives for this generation's increasing disinterest to experience the roughness the universe is supposed to offer us now and then — the proverbial lemons it throws us that makes living worthwhile in the first place.

Life is supposed to be an experience but how many of us have forgotten — myself included. How much we’ve diluted it with too many hacks and illusions that we are living it. Over at my Stories, sometimes you’d find me pondering on this as I’ve become disillusioned by some ways of our culture. Of course, some of us are more mindful about what we share than others but we can’t deny that this fast-track/do-it-for-the-gram thing we have has reached a level of diffusion. It’s now commonplace, and it’s saddening me quite.

Given our current algorithms, are our tools really living up to its original purpose of opening our minds, and reinforcing empathy, aliveness, and connectivity? Or are we just becoming more and more one-sided about what we share and readily dismissive of anyone who has other angles to exhibit? I espouse discernment but I do know that part of living life is to know and experience it in its full spectrum. Life is richer, more dynamic, more intricate than the influencer with the perfect and promoted feed would have us imagine, and a lot less hopeless than many gravely opinionated pessimists would make us believe. I’ve been hoping our platforms would allow more of this fullness as opposed to making us feel pressured to show or seek only the flawless bits. And I don’t say it with joy that experts believe it’s only a matter of time before certain social media platforms fall apart if such conditions perpetuate. Because what we are — what life is — is hardly easy or perfect, yet please be reminded that its setbacks don’t make it any less great of an experience. 


The other night I talked to a couple of med students well on their way to residency. One of them shared how some residents were treated like “basahan” (wet rag) in some government hospitals. There was a young doctor, she said, who resorted to breaking the glass of the laboratory just to procure a CT scan plate direly needed that day — a desperate measure to not get kicked out of the hospital because, apparently, medical authorities in a third world can do that. The mildest mistakes could warrant you the worst demerits or even the loss of your job entirely. Why? Because, well, life is hard. People can be this harsh and sometimes your only option is to break the goddamn glass! This is the grapple with life that I’ve missed. These are the stories that give me goosebumps and make me want to really live — not another beautifully curated feed.

See, I no longer care much about what people get or where they are. I want to see what you did best, what you believe in, and what crazy thing you did in the name of what you believe in. What got you to where you are now? What metaphorical glass did you shatter to save a life — yours or others'? Who do you love and what did you leave behind to be with this one person — this *one* out of the billion others existing? I want stories about how you dared to disturb the universe. Stories about life and your grappling with it. I want to be reminded that it can be hard and unfair. And I want the conclusion to be, so what?

Here’s to actually experiencing life, actually attempting what the heart desires, actually failing and redeeming yourself, and learning so many things along the way.

Here’s to a messy and meaningful growth.