December 31st, 2019
I have a bad habit. (Okay, I know you’re reading this and thinking, “Um, I’ve met you, and you have way more than one bad habit.” Yes, I know I do, Karen, but this post is about one particular habit so just chill out.)
It’s not a harmful habit, but it’s a weird one. (I actually feel weird pointing it out, because people will notice it now, but this is the post.)
Whenever I go to a place, whether we’re walking, or driving, or running (?), I will make a lot of comments about the things around us. I will point out landmarks, I will think of “fun” (dumb) facts that correlate to stuff we see, I will just start talking about whatever we come across and sometimes it seems like I will never stop.
There’s a purpose to all this.
You see, in my experience, people are mostly lost. You can take that how you hear it, but in this case I mean it very literally. If you’re a person who wouldn’t know how to live without your GPS, then you feel seen right now.
Me, not so much.
Because while to you it seems like I’m randomly (and, oh, god, annoyingly) rambling about nothing, I’m actually putting down a trail of marshmallows as we trek through the forest. Because when we have to go back to where we came from, I know exactly where to go, and as I begin recounting all the things I said to you on the way, you know we’ve been here before — and you feel less lost, too.
And as I started to think about that habit of mine, I started to think about something else: that is why I do this. This thing right here. It’s why I write. It’s why I make books and comics and stories and songs and these blog posts.
Everything I write is a handful of breadcrumbs I leave behind, so if I ever need to find myself, I can. And since you can see them, too, you can find me whenever you need me.
And then this idea got bigger: this is why we do anything on social media. You post a picture of your kid or your friends or your dog today so that in five years you can follow that trail back and see what your life used to be. And since you have this tool, this constant in your timeline, it can make you a more complete person today.
I hate to say this, guys, but social media is actually fucking useful.
We chart our own paths, little by little, every single day, and our paths are constantly crossing one another’s. And as we leave our little marshmallows, our breadcrumbs on the trail, a cloud in the sky keeps track of them with us. And now whenever we feel lost, we can go back and look at the people and places and landmarks of our lives and hopefully start to regain some of ourselves.
Which then normalizes my (one) bad, weird habit. And maybe makes it useful, after all.