The Status Of My Life by Liz Fenton
What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? The Status of All Things is a heartwarming and hilarious novel following a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates. Co-author Liz Fenton tells us what she really thinks about Facebook….
The other day, my best friend and I were reminiscing about the good ol’ days. You know, the ones where we didn’t know about EVERY SINGLE THING that was happening. When I didn’t live my life in status updates. (I do. I’m sorry. I know you want me to stop checking into that sushi place, but I can’t help myself! The spicy tuna roll is so good and I really, really want to tell you about it!)
I’ll admit—I do still heart social media. I nod non-committedly as people announce they are “taking a break” or lament at parties how it’s ruining society. I love the ease in which I can keep up with my childhood friends and second cousin’s lives, where I can feel smug that my ex ended up with someone just a teensy tiny bit less cute than me, or so I like to think. (Of course, I Facebooked stalked him! You know you do it too.)
But there’s also a downside to being just a click away from knowing how my former college roommate spent her wedding anniversary. That it’s likely we aren’t getting the full truth. Because many people create the “perfect life” online, while their real one may be falling apart. They choose to share the best parts of their worlds, while omitting the slivers (or sometimes gaping holes!) of sadness and frustration. I think the point is well-intended (because do we really want to know that my friend’s husband forgot their big day until she reminded him? Or that she hated his gift?), but often times it makes others look at their own “real” lives and wonder where they went wrong.
And even though my Facebook friends may like me, I highly doubt they want the real deal. Do they want to see the picture of me snuggling with my rescue dog, Scotty, or do they want the photo of the huge pile of poop he left for me on my favorite rug an hour earlier? Do they want the play-by-play on how I accidentally closed the garage door on my new car and left a huge scratch? Maybe I’d even confess that I had also scraped the side of it the week before when I’d cut the corner too tight. And if I were feeling really honest, I’d let them know my husband had banned me from parking in the garage.
We’ve all created this photo-shopped world of edited status updates and humblebrag attempts (definition: to brag with some pretend humbleness) and I’m not sure there’s a need to peel back the curtain of our lives to reveal the poop and the dents and the bad gifts. But the key is to understand that they exist. Not just in your life, but in everyone else’s too.
Facebook should just be a fun distraction that we should all learn to take at face value. So just smile when your high school nemesis posts that she bought the Range Rover you’ve always wanted and know that what’s she not telling you is that her designer French bulldog puked all over its plush leather seats on the way home from doggy day care. Go ahead and like the status of the mom from school that makes you feel incompetent and over-hashtags, and understand that she yells at her kids just as much as you do (maybe more!). And leave a nice comment for that couple who goes out to dinner and take pictures with the sunset behind them as they drink champagne with the knowledge that they are probably going to have a nasty hangover in the morning.
You may be able to catch a “perfect” moment on camera, but remember that life is not perfect. Not at all. And I’d argue that it’s those imperfections that make it interesting. So go. Be interesting. And I dare you to Facebook about it.
Liz Fenton is the co-author with Lisa Steinke, her real life best friend (not just on Facebook!), of The Status of All Things. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.
There's nothing we love more at Shelf Pleasure than a ..
Author and Shelf Pleasure contributor Karen A. Chase on how ..
One of author Mary Miley’s favorite things about being a ..
Author and police psychologist Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D., weighs the pitfalls ..
Little known fact about Shelf Pleasure's Kristen: she's obsessed with ..
Although Debbie De Louise has been a librarian and avid ..