A very millennial New Years resolution

By Gray Hughes

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I’m your typical millennial.

I like brunch and avocado toast. I cut the cord from cable and use streaming services to watch all of my shows.

I listen to podcasts regularly, indulge in the not-too-rare selfie and I don’t have a landline.

And, yes, I am addicted to social media and my phone.

I find myself on Twitter and Instagram quite often. I tend not to use social media and my phone while I’m at work, but when I’m off work I find myself on social media on my phone more often than not.

I hate it. I hate how I am addicted to it.

I read somewhere that little red mark that you get when you get a notification sets off the same endorphins you get when you win at the slot machine. While I’ve never really played the slots, I can only imagine it’s true.

When I see I have a notification, it gratifies me. It means someone out there cares about what I am saying on Twitter or takes an interest in an experience I am having by liking a picture I posted on Instagram.

It really feeds into the millennial stereotype that we need constant reassurance and are narcissistic.

Like I said, I hate this about myself. I hate how I need validation of others through social media to make myself feel good about myself.

But New Year, new me, right?

I normally don’t put much stock in New Year’s resolutions, and I typically hate New Year’s.

My ideal New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebration is skiing New Year’s Eve, watching the ball drop on the East Coast since they are two hours ahead of us, going to bed at 10:30 p.m., going skiing again the next day and eating pork and sauerkraut for dinner, a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. (You would be interested to know that I am Pennsylvania Dutch.)

In fact, at my old job, normally, I would volunteer to be the one to work on New Year’s Day.

Nothing quite gets you out of New Year’s plans by saying “sorry, I have to work tomorrow.”

Every year, I try to make New Year’s resolutions, but, normally, I abandon them in February when I fall back into my old habits coming up with excuses like “the gym is too far away” even though I used to have one two minutes from me in my old apartment complex.

I feel like, though, me putting this in the paper will make me more motivated to do it.

I don’t want someone to accuse me of spreading fake New Year’s resolution news when they see me scrolling Instagram while I’m walking down a grocery aisle or tweeting at someone when I’m in the lift line when I am skiing. (Yes, my “addiction” is that bad at times.)

But I am going to fully embrace a New Year’s resolution this year to put down my phone, spend less time on social media and be more present in the moment.

And they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I am self-diagnosing myself as a phone and social media addict.

This won’t be easy. I’ve been pretty much addicted to my phone since I got my first smartphone when I was 15 and when I created my Facebook account when I was 14. (Side note: is there anything worse than seeing old, embarrassing posts from when you were a freshman in high school?)

But I will try my best.

Hopefully, not only will this help address my “addiction” but help me replace that feeling of validation through social media by replacing it with other things in life that satisfy me, like when my girlfriend laughs when I tell a joke, appreciate nature more by going on a good hike without stopping to take a selfie at every scenic vista or when someone tells me they enjoyed a story in the paper.

These things are much, much more meaningful than some red notification that you get on your phone.

But, I guess, one good thing about a new year is that, metaphorically, you get a new start. The canvas is blank, and you can do what you want with it. I’m choosing to put down the phone this new year.

If you need help with your New Year’s resolution, stop by my office. We can hold each other accountable. These things always go better when you have other people helping you out.

I’ll probably need some help, and I’ll help out whomever needs help. Let’s hope my resolution will last longer than February.

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