By Arlie Martin
Senior Opinion Writer

Lately, my Facebook news feed has been plagued with lists telling me everything I should do instead of getting married, the places I should see in the world and the things that I should do in order to be successful over the next few years.

In short, my friends have been sharing links with me that basically tell me how to live my life and live it well. But how can any of these writers and collaborators know my personal skills, hopes, dreams and needs? And if they don’t, then how could any of these lists be at all relevant?

These quick how-to guides are just another gimmick preying on our growing need for immediate satisfaction and affirmation. Let’s be honest — if you didn’t care what other people thought, you wouldn’t feel the need to defend your relationship status at your age or the way you were living your life. 

Here at Asbury, I find the passing around of two marriage-related lists. On the one side, we have “23 Things To Do at 23 Instead of Getting Engaged” by a blogger named Vanessa Elizabeth, and on the other we have “My First Blog: The results of a Close-Minded 23 Year Old” by a blogger referred to only as kbeauregard. We all know that there is an underlying argument within the student body about whether or not too many students get married too young for the wrong reasons or if they are following God’s plan. 

I’m not interested in debating that point, but watching all the shares for each side going around makes me laugh. It’s like a passive-aggressive public argument. Hiding behind these two authors doesn’t make it any better.

A harmful aspect of these lists is that they are trying to simplify a very large issue: divorce. One side equates young marriage to divorce while the other simply says that it won’t happen. While the age at which one gets marriage can affect divorce, it is not the deciding factor. In fact, the age you are when you get divorced is more important to me. 

These lists also seem to be giving the growing trend of making social media life your personal life an unneeded push. By publicizing how you want to live your life and how others should, you have moved past simply sharing parts of your life with the public.

In a way, you are living your life on social media. More and more of us in the social media generation are not treating it as means of communication but a way of life. People now get their advice, encouragement and friendships from Facebook. Social media was never meant to become an extension of our lives but simply a way to share them with each other. 

I never thought I would be one to become leery of social media, being a frequent user myself, but as more and more people post their deepest thoughts, do all their debating and find their worth in it, the more I want to pull away before I lose myself. You are not your profile on Facebook. It can’t encompass your emotions, your dreams or your skills. The pictures there are not who you are and the conversations you have are not your deepest friendships. 

Life is grand. It’s exciting, mysterious, and an adventure. Worry about your own decisions, your own future, and your own dreams, because in the end, all that will matter is how you lived away from social media, not how you tried to make other people live on it. Your personal life cannot be lived on a computer screen, so instead of dictating what people should and shouldn’t do with a status, go out into the world and show them.