Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Have Something Important To Say

Listen up! See, what I have to say is infinitely more important than whatever you're doing - 'cause I'm more important than you will ever be.

Like, I have this dream, and one day it's gonna come true! Have you seen my Twitter account or YouTube videos? I mean, come on! I totally deserve my own reality TV show!
Ever heard any or all of the above? Chances are, you have.

It's a sad, sad fact that so many people today have such an inflated sense of self. Let's call it the "When I Grow Up" fallacy.

It's the reason why people who legitimately CANNOT sing go on American Idol. It's also why everyday Joe's and Jane's honestly think that they're America's Next Top Model. Hell, maybe it's the same reason I started this blog - or why people write blogs in general.

We all want to feel important and well-liked, right?

Wrong, so wrong.

You see, everyone has a need for validation. It just seems to me that my generation has a dangerous - even desperate - need for it. It's why we take to our Facebook and Twitter accounts and why we text incessantly despite being surrounded by others in a crowded restaurant or club.

And in an increasingly small (a la Thomas Friedman's "flat") world where truly anything is possible, our irrational thoughts are only reinforced by the fact that there are some out there who really do "make it big."

But the reason why most of those who achieve their "15 seconds of fame" do so is because they speak and act out the loudest - not because they're actually talented. It's like Jersey Shore vs. Justin Bieber. Or a guy-who-is-escorted-off-of-American-Idol-because-he-can't-admit-the-fact-that-he -will-never-have-a-music-career vs. Kelly Clarkson.

I read this hilarious blog the other day titled, "5 Signs You're Talking To A Social Media Douchebag." It was absolutely genius. Pay special attention to point 2: They Actually Think They’re Internet Celebrities. Honestly, who do you think you are?

And I also stumbled upon this article titled "Mr. Rogers Lied To Us," which talks about how my generation was brought up to think that we're "special." It's so fascinating how people today simply don't want to work - they almost expect to become famous on YouTube, Twitter, MySpace or some other online platform.

But we feed our own addictions. People simply can't get enough of Jersey Shore. "It's like watching a train wreck, you just can't look away," some say. But by not looking away we reinforce the idea that we can make a name for ourselves by going out to clubs, getting drunk and having promiscuous sex. Last time I checked, 99.9% of Americans are NOT socialites, so STOP acting like you are one, or that you'll be one by making a fool of yourself.

The reality is: that simply isn't reality. You are NOT the exception. If you were, you'd be getting by on your talent, not your talk or outrageous actions.

I hope that, as a result of this vain rant, we can shift our attention to important matters, like rebuilding Haiti, facing the damaging truth about climate change and, of course, saving the world.

But maybe that's just it. We're too scared to face reality that we create our own alternate, glittery version where everyone's drunk and fornicating. Hell, we could all use a little vacation from our troubles... unless I'm wrong and you have something more important to say.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Miami vs. New York: The Best of Both Worlds

It's safe to say that, at heart, I am a "city boy." The extent to which that's true, I'm not really sure. I do long for open fields with sunshine and a soccer ball, but then again I never took advantage of that in Miami. And I digress...

I've taken to this blog to face an inner struggle that I've been living ever since I moved from Miami to New York. The question I've invariably been unable to answer is: Did I make the right move?

I love New York - I do. This city is beautiful and inspiring and forces you to find the strength to pursue your dreams. But am I happy? Honestly, for the first time since I moved to the city, I feel comfortable. I have a great internship that pays me well and gives me good hours and allows me to take the reigns and build a social media communications department. And I have a great apartment and a sweet, caring roommate without whom I would not be where I am. But, personally, I'm lonely. I don't really have any friends here besides those I know from UM or Details. And I don't have the time or financial resources to go out and make them.

And then there's Miami. The grass is always greener, right? As much as I couldn't wait to get out of the 305... I can't wait to go back! I'm actually headed there on January 27th to spend nearly 6 days celebrating my 23rd birthday with some amazing friends whom I miss dearly. But I digress again...

The biggest trip-up I have when I ponder my time in Miami is: do I miss Miami, or do I miss UM? Do I miss my friends, or do I miss the city? It's really both. I miss the weather - terribly. I hate winter. I still don't have a proper winter coat. I miss throwing on shorts and a t-shirt and flip-flops and heading out the door. I miss knowing that it will rain almost every day between 2:00 and 3:30 pm. I especially miss the partying in Miami - what a great time! Miami was my playground - and that's just it... New York has not been fun by any means. It's been quite a struggle.

Let's face the facts: strip away the tropical location and great clubbing and the city of Miami has little offer, especially for someone as ambitious and dedicated as I am... at least in the fields that I want to pursue. Building a media and/or publishing career in Miami just sounds strange... unless you are doing it in Spanish.

So why did I ever leave Miami for New York, you ask? I had to get away. As the stubborn, headstrong guy I am, I had to prove it to myself that I can make it here. Like Jay-Z says, "If I make it here [in New York], I can make it anywhere."

Honestly, though, it was so much more than that. First, I wanted a city that would challenge me professionally and intellectually. I didn't think Miami could do that for me, and that's just my personal opinion. Second, I wanted a city with good public transportation. New York has arguably the best in the world. And Miami's? Well, it sucks. And I don't want to buy a car and pay for gas and insurance just to waste my life sitting on US-1 or I-95 N. Oh - and I want to be green! But public transportation SUCKS! You can't rock out to your favorite songs with your friends while you roll down the windows in mid-December and take in a beautiful sunset.

It really pains me to see my good friends have absolutely AMAZING apartments and actually pay LESS per month than I do! It's crazy. But then I read articles like this one and I feel comfortable that I chose New York to start my professional career in one of the worst recessions of the last century.

My solution? As the diplomatic person I am, I want both! Wouldn't it be amazing to split my time between New York and Miami? If and when that would be possible is yet to be determined.

But home is where the heart is. And my heart isn't in New York. It's spread out in the University Center at UM, around Lake Osceola, on the computers in the Ibis office, in the back booths at Moon, on the dance floor at Buck15, in the condos of Brickell and on the sand of the beach at 12th street. And you better bet I'm going to reclaim it next week, and do some serious thinking in the process.