General troublemaking, Tech

Are we living life, or watching it?

Lately I have become more acutely aware of how much time I, and others around me, spend experiencing the world around them through the lens of a phone camera, live tweets and Facebook statuses. Which has led me to wonder how much of the experiences we partake in are for ourselves, and how much is for the display to the world of how great our life is. I found myself thinking:

Are memories as enjoyable if they aren’t shared– physically or digitally– with others?

In an age of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more (all platforms I use regularly!), I find myself and my peers seeking the perfect shot, the most beautiful representation of any moment. But are these moments really beautiful, or are we portraying them in a way that makes others seem that way? Are we partaking in activities just to put on display that we have done so? And when we find ourselves in a  truly memorable experience, are we really enjoying that sunrise, delicious meal, inspiring speaker, or adorable puppy or are we spending so much time trying to capture their beauty that we miss out on it altogether?

It’s a true concern of mine. Am I living my life, or watching it go by? Am I seeking to impress others to see what I see, or living my life so it’s something I am proud to display? And are those special moments becoming increasingly less special unless we can share them with others? While photography is a love and passion of mine, that doesn’t mean it has to be for all to see.

I have been toying with the idea going on an Instagram vacation. It’s laughable that that’s a challenging decision, to stop my publicly visible life for a month or two in order to really live it. Yet it’s hard in the digital age to not fall into the pit of social media, of displaying your every action– correction, every enjoyable, beautiful, impressive action– to all your closest friends and frienemies that can see your accounts.

As I type this, I decide I will partake in this experiment. Sorry folks, my Instagram is now on hiatus. See ya in 2015– who is with me?

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PresenTense NYC Kickoff Yesterday!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of kicking off the fellowship I run, PresenTense NYC, with a new cohort of 12 passionate social entrepreneurs. I am one lucky gal– who else gets excited to check work email? Can’t wait to see where this journey takes them.

Social Innovation

PresenTense NYC Kickoff On Sunday!

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General troublemaking

Let’s Cause Necessary Trouble

When my younger sister graduated from Union College in June, I had the privilege of hearing civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis convey his message to the graduating class about taking action, just as he so bravely did 50 years prior.

He urged them:

“You must leave here and get in trouble. You must get in good trouble, necessary trouble. You must help change America, you must help change the world. With your degree, you are prepared to go out there and speak up and speak out.”

Sitting in the rain, I promptly pulled out my iPhone and registered the domain necessarytrouble.com. What better way to describe the work I was interested in?

I loved Rep. Lewis’ message to the students, and it’s a mantra I try to live by. I try to inspire good, necessary trouble to help people understand their obligations to themselves, their communities, and the planet.

The truth is, I have always been a troublemaker. Constantly reminded by my wonderful parents (hi mom & dad!) that I didn’t outgrow the terrible twos until middle school, I have always seen the world out through a “heck no to the status quo” type of way. I think life is worth living in a way that makes sense to you and not the way that is predefined by anyone else. If you are unhappy with something, change it. If something isn’t working for you, come up with a solution. Be a troublemaker. It pays off.

So I am starting a blog about it. This may be a “typical” blog about a “typical” 20-something living in New York City, trying to build a career, find the love of her life, living out of a shoebox apartment, eat healthy, travel the world, take photographs, and find awesome people in a city full of so many it’s hard to know where to start. But it’s my story, and when I tell it, I hope it won’t be so typical. It’s just me, who I am, and what I believe.

I may write about my work with people who are starting businesses to change their communities and the world, I may write about healthy eating and living. I may write about social media, photography, or my love of Borat. I may write about the fabulous book club I am a part of, or the struggles of finding love in an overworked, overcommitted, and over saturated city. I may rant about consumerism and our role in creating a more sustainable planet. Or how diet soda is bad, and soy is worse, and how you should always make sure your instagram and twitter handles match for easy cross posting. I love chatting about entrepreneurship and the startup scene, the best apps that belong on your iPhone, and the best brunches you can find.  And I may feature friends and colleagues who you shouldn’t miss out on.

Only time will tell where this goes.

So these are my words for what they’re worth. Let’s make some trouble– necessary trouble.

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