”The greater danger for us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo
After not being able to ignore this ‘trend’ any longer of hash-tagging almost every picture with #goals, I feel like it is my responsibility to address the issue from where I stand on this and fill you in on why it is disheartening to read those comments on not just my content, but comments on many other influential people’s content whom I follow.
Although receiving comments on posts that hashtag some sort of goals may be considered as a compliment as it means that something right is being done to portray an image that tugs on people’s heartstrings, it is at the same time disheartening when realising that for many people, the symbols that images represent on social media such as ‘the perfect body’, ‘the perfect relationship’ and ‘the perfect lifestyle’ have turned into real life goals for many who blindly double-tap these images and retweet these tweets. As I said, this is a trend and I understand that for many, it is done in jest or in a joking manner, however for majority of people that leave these comments, I really believe that it epitomises the goals that young, educated adolescents and adults are striving for in life.
To make things easier, let me address this from my perspective as whenever Ben & I interact on social media, we both receive without a doubt a few ‘#RelationshipGoals’, or when we are lucky enough to post pictures in different countries or amongst different cultures, there are always the plain old rebels not specifying which goals these are and simply write ‘#Goals’. After scrolling through and replying to comments on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, I came across a couple of comments that went along the lines of ‘Man, I wish I could do what you do’ as well as ‘I want to live your life’, and I became a little worried. I started questioning the messages that I was communicating with my audience when I put up content on Instagram, going back and reading my descriptions to see if they were misleading in any way, however I came to the conclusion that if people saw the amount of hours sitting behind the screen editing videos that vloggers clock in, the bad moods as a result of no-sleep and the endless coffee in order to deliver content on time, as well as the less than glamorous hours clocked in on the cramped white capsule of an airplane that content creators and influencers have to rack up in order to provide their audiences with content, maybe these comments would be based off of some kind of an insight.
Despite my life not nearly being similar with the likes of content creators such as Ben Brown, Casey Neistat and Louis Cole to name a few, it came to my attention that I should let you guys in on ‘A day in the life of Nicole’, to show you that my life is not so different to yours…in most aspects anyway. You may be thinking, ‘What the hell is this chick on about, she travels all the time, she goes on these awesome adventures and road trips, she’s in this perfect romantic relationship with a great guy and seems to pass her days surfing and doing other cool stuff.’ Let me confirm that this is not the case, and although our relationship is pretty fantastic most of the time, long-distance definitely takes its toll on us both and results in an endless fluctuation of highs and lows.
Let me take you through a typical day in my life at the moment:
6:45 – Wake up, shower, get dressed, make a flask of coffee for the road.
7:30 – 9:00 – Sit in traffic on my way to university
9:00 – 17:00 – College
17:45 – Surf if there is surf/go for a run
17:45 – 23:00 – Do university work, reply to emails, eat dinner with my family, occasionally weekday drinks and dinner with friends & then go to sleep.
Does any of this sound familiar? You see, my life is not much different from yours despite a few differences such as location, background, family, work, field of study etc. but I’m almost sure that our opportunities are the same and our problems are the same in most aspects. Both of us have access to the internet most days of our lives to be able to create or share content across different platforms, majority of us have access to education or work, and majority of us reading this have access to a healthy body and mind that can facilitate earning money. The difference lies in how you choose to approach them.
Despite ALL of us being aware of this next point, however extremely quick to forget about, social media platforms, particularly Instagram, has been designed for people to share their best bits of their life…otherwise why else would anyone press that little empty heart and make it red? No one wants to see pictures of what TV show you’re currently watching, you on the toilet, your oats that you didn’t put much effort into making resembling dog vomit. No! We demand adventure, romance, traveling, the best parts about your life even if that means you throw a picture back every damn day, #TBT all day err’day! For myself, I want my platforms to showcase my best work, my best photographs, well-thought out content on my blog because that is what is important to me as well as trying to grow my platforms so that I can rely on them as a source of income during my future travels, and therefore putting what I think is my best content up.
I am not saying that I have not traveled, I am very aware that I have been fortunate enough to go to amazing places such as Canada, UK, Europe and others, yet majority of my inspiration in my travel writing have stemmed from family holidays since I was little, nowhere exotic, just camping trips and long road trips roughing it throughout Southern Africa. The road trips that you see through Ben’s vlogs up to the Transkei have been road trips that have been done during my university holidays saving up the little money that I earned through baby-sitting to fund my trips. The trip to the Cederberg…well that’s a 5 hour drive out of Cape Town and is something that can be done on any long weekend, or weekend even. So, if I can do it, why can’t you?
I understand that access to cars may not always be easy, particularly if you are under-age, but ask your parents to take you or team up with a friend’s family, or an older sibling or cousin or aunt or uncle. If you do have access to a car, then start planning. I understand that earning money is the hardest part especially if you are a student, but send out flyers to nearby schools asking for babysitting work, that’s what I did, and saved up spending as little as possible until we were ready to leave. I did however run clean out of money with Ben once on one of our road trips, however I DID warn him that the bank account was not looking too healthy before the trip started. Nevertheless, it was pretty humiliating!
Gain inspiration from online content, that’s why it is there of course and that’s what I love seeing others take away from my work but make your own goals, create your own beautiful relationships with your special someone or close friends, explore the hidden parts of your city or country and when you start opening your eyes to the true magic that lies in front of you within your own lives, you’ll realise that when you were once striving to find the perfect relationship based off of Alexis and Jays social media pictures at age 13 , an age when my goals were based around seeing how many healthy snacks I could swap with my friends for junk, you’ll kick yourself for not having greater goals. Goals to make this world a better place, goals to make a real difference. So don’t set my lifestyle or anyone else’s as a goal to reach, set your goals higher and for goodness sake, #GetYourOwnGoals!