A Month of Learning

Figuring out how to manage my relationship with social media and my insecurities.

A Month of Learning
A rough start to 2023 (By: Hedy Zhou)

I’m sure anyone who’s been on TikTok has seen videos about creating multiple streams of income, the importance and value of passive income, and how doable it all is. 💸 I got sucked into that side of TikTok earlier this month and I felt really restless and insecure about how much money I was making.

How are they making that much in just a week? I can’t even earn that in a month! I spent a lot of my free time going down rabbit holes researching the different opportunities those videos had mentioned and even tried out a couple. I constantly thought I had to be doing more.😰 (It also didn’t help that it was perpetually raining while this was happening, so I didn’t really have anywhere else to be.)

It’s hard to describe the extent and how suddenly these feelings and thoughts took over my life. For a few weeks I was always stressed, tired, and unhappy.😓 But the thought that snapped me out of all this was, “I don’t want to remember my 20’s like this. My 20’s are supposed to be fun 🎉, adventurous 🏔, and happy 😁. So why have I made myself so miserable?”

Since having this thought, I’ve been able to take a breath and a step back. I feel silly for letting social media get the best of me the way that it did, especially after already having dealt with it for most of my life 🤳🏻. I’ve noticed that I go through these phases with social media (though less and less frequently) where for a period of time, I can take what other people say and do with a grain of salt, and then for some reason, I can’t. I start taking things personally and get caught up in comparing myself to others. This cycle always seems to repeat itself when I’m feeling insecure about something. In the past it has been things like body image or my artistic ability, but in this case, it was about how much I’m earning.

Prior to this month, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping a good perspective on money; it’s important but it’s not everything there is to life. Sometimes it’s worth taking less pay for the sake of an experience.⛷ But I guess it has been getting harder to ignore the “healthy 6-figures” people my age are earning here in Silicon Valley 👩🏻‍💻 and the hustle side of TikTok, when I’m currently not doing anything particularly “cool” or “fun”.

I’ve had to remind myself that my job offers me a flexible work schedule, benefits, and the ability to travel ✈️ (which is really nice for my LDR). I also basically have no living expenses at the moment, so with everything put into perspective, my financial/economic situation isn’t bad at all. A part of me just thinks it could be better, which it will be in time and after I go about it in a healthy and realistic way.

In other news, weekly ultimate games 🥏 finally resumed after the storms ⛈ stopped.  Not that I really need them, but I’ve been thinking about getting cleats, especially right now since the ground is super muddy. (There has been some intense slipping on the field.) And to help myself get better sleep 🛌, I’m doing my best to follow a “no screens after 9:30 pm rule” and read 📚 before going to bed. I’ve also been running a lot more to reach my new year’s goal of running 10 miles without stopping. I’ve run 🏃🏻‍♀️ about 40 miles in January and my longest run without stopping is 4 miles.

Although January had a very turbulent start and I don’t like how much I was affected by social media, this whole experience has just further reinforced beliefs and habits I want to continue living by.

  1. There’s no need to beat myself up about feeling inadequate in one particular area.
  2. I shouldn’t let my insecurities cause me to lose myself and derail the good parts in my life.
  3. If what I’m stressing about won’t matter in 5 or 10 years, then I need to stop stressing about it.
  4. If my future self would think what I’m putting myself through is unnecessary, then there’s no need to go through whatever it is I’m going through.

I’m really glad I didn’t let this phase of stress last any longer than it did, because I want to enjoy life. If your 2023 didn’t start off that great or the way you expected, it can and will get better :)