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Your Virtual Friends Won't Save Your Life

29 December 2016

Saturday night. In 1890, you would be at the opera sipping champagne and commingling with aristocrats. In 1920, you would dance with strangers at a speakeasy to Cole Porter. In 1970, you would be tie-dye clad, jamming around a campfire. In 2016, you would be hanging on the couch with your best friends: Ben, Jerry, Netflix, and Tinder.

It's hard to imagine people of the future wishing they could go back in time to our era. "I want to know what the first version of Facebook looked like," I imagine them enthusiastically wishing. "Can you believe that people had to push buttons before touch screens?" Yeah, no. None of this is likely to ever happen.

Thanks to the burgeoning virtual universe, we barely have any reason to talk to each other anymore. Everything's online, which is really convenient when you don't have the time to go out and get your own food, your own shoes, or your own significant other. After all, we are all so busy updating our statuses and tweeting and swiping and ordering that we don't have time for real-world interaction anyway.

No! Why should we let ourselves get away with being complacent just because it's convenient? Do we really want to stay in, or are we just conforming to society's reclusive trends? Why do people brag about how many followers they have and how many shows they are binge-watching? Why is our soon-to-be-president tweeting instead of holding press conferences? While we used to fear missing out, the majority of us now take pleasure in it and aren't embarrassed to admit it. There's even an acronym for our antisocial tendencies (it's that serious).

I know there are so many good shows right now and your pajamas are so warm and takeout tastes so delicious. I know. But all that time spent alone is time that could have been spent increasing our quality of life. Humans are social beings. They thrive on human contact, scientifically. All these screens are just against our nature.

Millennials already have the reputation. We're a bunch of lazy, special snowflakes that can't do anything on our own. But why do we have to be okay with this stigma? No one said it was illegal to challenge the reputation of your generation.

We can do it by simply, doing. Instead of all the talk, let's walk. Let's turn boredom into creativity; let's turn stress into troubleshooting. Let's define our passions and turn off our phones.

When we're waiting for someone, instead of scrolling mindlessly through our feeds, we have to think about ways to make that time productive. Instead, bring a book. Learn something. Do some calf raises while you're at it. Don't be passive, be active.

Hard work not only gets you further, it feels good. The couch will always be there when you're old and immobile. But while you have legs, use them. While you have speech, use it. While you have time, use it. Your virtual friends won't save your life. Your real friends will.

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