Your 20s: My Life Should Look Better on Facebook

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Each week in May, Meg Jay, clinical psychologist, assistant clinical professor at the University of Virginia, and author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now, looks at different aspects of life in your twenties. This week: why twentysomethings think their peers are doing better than they really are.


Meg Jay

Comments [16]

sandra from nyc

Dear 20 Somethings,

"Words Do Not Cook Rice" Ancient Chinese Saying

Get out of your pajamas, off of FB and out into The World and try to figure out HOW you can make a difference and start LIVING! It takes a long LONG time to figure out WHO you are and WHAT you want these days since we have SO MANY CHOICES. That's what the 20's and even the 30's are about. But you have to WORK at it!!!

Nora in Astoria, you are so LUCKY to live in an era and country where you have so many OTHER options than just getting married and having babies. But if THAT's what YOU WANT, there are so many options for that also--pregnancy first then marriage, etc etc... Oh and BTW, at least 50% of those pregnant FB couples will be DIVORCED in 20 or less years!!! Why is there never a 10 or 20 year followup for all those "Happy" couples in The NY X Vows pages??? (THERE'S an idea for a book!)

I am in my 40's and fulfilled many of my dreams, I: Have travelled The World, Own my Home, Have a Good Profession, Good Health, Close Real World Friends and still hope to get married (or whatever) SOMEDAY!
It took me over 2 Decades with LOTS of SETBACKS and I'm still Reinventing myself without the help of FB!

Finally, stop eating Lean Cuisine (I JUST tried one as an experiment--too much sodium and not fresh!!!).
Get off FB and TAKE TIME to COOK!!! It's healthier and cheaper!

*I* better get off this computer and go finish cooking my pot of rice and beans! : )

40 Something

May. 10 2012 04:22 PM

This is the same reaction I used to get reading the class notes in my college's alumni magazine -- my life isn't nearly as accomplished/fulfilled as theirs! But perhaps it's a question of age -- I'm well out of my 20s -- that I don't have this feeling about Facebook which I find useful for keeping in touch with my friends both nearby and long distance. I'm not the least jealous of their activities/culinary accomplishments/cat photos. I'm happy to hear what they're up to -- as well as the thoughtful musings they frequently post. It never occurred to me to "create" an online presence -- whenever I choose to post, I'm just myself.

May. 10 2012 11:12 AM
thelastleafgardener from Manhattan

Bravo to "the truth from Becly!" To those who have this sentiment, I recently blogged about the "You Like Me"
phenomena with a clip from the sit-com Kate & Allie. I think you might find it amusing. It's @

May. 10 2012 11:10 AM
Nora from Astoria

I'm glad this topic is being publicly addressed because I have felt so isolated in my insecurities about my life, where I should "be by now" etc. I am a 28 year old college-educated female and my FB news feed is become more and more monopolized by engagement announcements, wedding photos, pregnancy "trackers," baby photos (which are non-stop from birth until... whenever!) as old friends, family, and acquaintances, many which are younger than I am, track the novelty of their ever-expanding new family, of their own making, whether it be a spouse or a child. I feel consistently depressed and anxious about my own life (single, baby-less, still not knowing exactly what I'm doing with my life). If I have to watch one more person take bi-monthly pictures from their first pregnancy bump to the first two years of their new child's development, I'm going to throw my computer out the window. And I feel guilty for being so bitter!

May. 10 2012 11:08 AM

FB is a great tool to keep in touch with actual friends. Applied to it's extreme, it can be a tobaggan ride to a private hell.

May. 10 2012 11:03 AM
The Truth from Becly

Insanity! I think if you compare yourself your life to the FB, and it depresses also do the same in real life and signing off won't solve your problem.

May. 10 2012 10:58 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

I feel bad for younger people who have been peer-pressured into thinking that being on Facebook is a must for their social lives. As a 40-something, I'd like to say to them: cutting yourself off from Facebook is not a loss at all. If you actually put the time into real life, and do activities, spend time with friends and family, or doing things you enjoy - chances are you won't even have time to go on Facebook because you'll be busy and often truly enjoying your life. And it's ok to check in Facebook once in a while - it's all about how you approach it.

May. 10 2012 10:57 AM
Daniel from Manhattan, NY

Best advice I've received: only post information about yourself that you would tack up on the outside of the front door of your home.

May. 10 2012 10:55 AM
Bob from Flushing

With respect to use of Facebook by employers to screen employees: When will someone realize that these practices may be violating anti-discrimination laws?

May. 10 2012 10:54 AM
Lisa from Forest Hills, NY

What is ironic is if your FB friends post lots a 'real' and negative ideas, people start to get as depressed as by the ultra positive posts, and then remove depressing posters from their news feed.

May. 10 2012 10:53 AM
Johnnjersey from NJ

Facebook is just an idealized version of your life and everyone else's life too so don't take it too seriously. People post highlight events, so one might think all of thier life is a party or a fun night out but those people have bad days too. For the most part you'll never post that you helped a friend or you did a good job raising your kids etc. Don't sweat it.

May. 10 2012 10:51 AM
Robin from Queens

It's not just your 20s. I'm in my 40s, and for years I've been saying it's best to just avoid FB altogether because of how it always makes me feel like crap, seeing how everybody's lives are so peppy & cheerful & happy.

The pollyanna nature of FB updates just adds to the anxiety & loneliness that already pervades a world where everybody's face is stuck to a screen.

May. 10 2012 10:51 AM
John A.

Can someone correlate social media with anorexia/cosmetic/fashion/tattoo/piercing expenditures in the 20somethings. These seem to be definitely up. More about the outside than the inside.

May. 10 2012 10:50 AM
Jeff from Manhattan

Here's my advice: Close your Facebook account! At its essence, Facebook is just a very sophisticated spyware program. Trust me, it'll feel great. You might even have time to, say, go outside and talk to real people, or read a book.

May. 10 2012 10:50 AM
michael from brooklyn/chelsea

I am not in my 20s. in my 40s. Dr. J is spot on about the feelings of inadequacy and comparisons to others "lives". I quit FB for that reason. I found my self with feelings of envy and disappointment that I gave it up and do feel a bit better about that. I dont start my day ogling others FB pages wishing i had what they seem to have.

May. 10 2012 10:50 AM

Please ask about tax breaks. It's generally a race to the bottom, but maybe NYC is a special case because it's a special place?

May. 10 2012 10:28 AM

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