Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Typical 'Inspirational' Lists That Can Go Shove It

If you have had any exposure to the internet within the past year and a half, you may have noticed a bit of a cultural trend - these 'inspirational' lists that explain to us how to live our lives to the fullest. These 'advice' columns are full of great suggestions - get married in your twenties, don't get married in your twenties, travel as much as you possibly can, etc. It's all really annoying if you ask me - I'm probably just going to live my life the way I want, anyway.

With our lives under a constant social media microscope, it's easy to get caught up in these suggestive lists and develop FOMO (fear of missing out, duh.) Should I be traveling more? Is being single and hooking up with people more fun than being in a five year relationship? Wait, how am I going to complete this list of things to do in my twenties when I'm broke from my glorified party days (aka college)?

I decided to take it upon myself to find 5 lists that I believe to be complete bullshit. Most of these articles have a stock picture of beautiful girls laughing in the sunset - do not let this pull you in. Don't worry, I'll explain why.

(Side note: Did anyone else realize that these lists are mainly geared towards 20-somethings? Does life completely end at age 30?)




Why This Sucks: 

  • Um, the very first reason is that it is almost certain you will get cheated on. Really? Are people more prone to getting cheated on in their twenties rather than their teens or their thirties? Is that the best reason to stay single? 
  • Then we move on to #2, which is the obligatory, feel-good "You're Young - Go Out There & Explore The World!" At first glance this sounds cool; I could totally go out and explore the world. I instantly see myself riding on elephants in Africa and climbing the Great Wall of China. Then I stop and remember the logistics - I'm poor. Now I feel sad. I'm so young and I should be exploring the world! That's what would make my life mean something! No. Just, no. Put meaning into your life by doing what you can and what makes you happy. Traveling around the world doesn't make one life more valuable than another. 
  • Wait, here comes three: "Money Doesn't Come Easy So Save It." Now this I can get behind. Hold on, though, two seconds ago I was daydreaming about elephants in Africa. Surely I can save money AND travel the world, right? 
  • Here is my all-time favorite: "Girls Can Be Too Dramatic and Will Just Waste More Of Your Energy."Wow. Just, wow. I cannot formulate the right words to articulate what I am thinking right now, so I am going to just leave this one for you to judge on your own. 
Bottom line: How about you enter a relationship if you want to and you stay single if you don't want to? Not sure about you, but this list did not persuade me to do anything other than think about the moron who wrote it (sorry, not sorry). 



Why This Sucks: 

  • "It Could Make You Happier." Well, if getting married is not going to make you happier, why would you do it? Also, is there evidence to support that getting married when you are young will make you happier than getting married when you are older? 
  • You'll make more money (at least if you're a man). Hate to break it to the person who put in the research needed to make this statement, but it's a well-known fact that on average men make more money than women. Thank you, Huffington Post, for taking that hideous glass ceiling and putting it to good use in your dumb article. 
  • You'll have more sex and you'll drink less alcohol. Oh, in that case, someone order me a husband pronto! I've needed to curb my out-of-control drinking habits for a decade now - how silly of me not to look at the easy solution of just getting married. As for the sex thing, eh - get it in writing. 
Bottom line: If you are considering getting married, please tell me it has nothing to do with trying to drink less alcohol and make more money. Please. Otherwise, I have completely lost faith in humanity once and for all. 




Why This Sucks:

  • Happy people surround themselves with other happy people. So, that depressed person you know? You should probably take them out to a lake and drown them. It's either that or risk losing your own happiness, right? Oh wait, the article touches on this: "If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members." Man, if only all the therapists and mental health specialists knew this tiny secret written by a genius on the interwebz!
  • Happy people show signs of happiness. Wait, what? You mean to tell me that happy people don't show signs of sadness? Weird...
  • Happy people see challenges as opportunities. In other words, next time your car breaks down on the side of the highway and you need to get to work, take it as an opportunity to explore the art form of picking wild flowers on the side of the road. No money to have it towed? Use this opportunity to see if prostitution really is the answer to the world's problems. 
Bottom line: Find your own inspiration and your own happiness. While I do admit that some lists do have good suggestions and exploring ways to get out of the slump you are in is a good idea, no one is perfect. These lists will make you feel like you should be. 




Why This Sucks:
  • I actually do not even need to give specific reasons - the list basically makes it apparent that "truly happy people" don't care about much of anything. Which sounds good in theory, but is a bit unrealistic. It's fun to say "Zero F*ck's Given" but it's another thing to completely live by it.



Why This Sucks:
  • This list includes completely original ideas such as go for a picnic, spend time with your real life friends and have a BBQ. Wow. I never thought to have a BBQ in the summertime. Sounds fun, though, thanks Lifehack.
  • Plank yourself 3 times a day. Really? I must plank every single day, three times a day? Someone please tell me what will happen if I decide to run, bike or swim instead - I'd like to know beforehand so I don't mess my life up too much. 
  • Do some housework. Well, I generally like to keep my living quarters a bit tidy around the fall and winter months, too, but I see how this is also important in the summer as well. 
Bottom line: There really is none - just a question: do people get paid to write this stuff? If so, I'm in. I know I am fully capable of doing a great job of listing 25 mundane things people must do to make their summer complete. 


Here are my final words of wisdom: Stop reading dumb lists and live your life how you see fit. That's the real secret to happiness.