A true addiction

An evaluation of our fake generation

It’s 2019, we all just need to be real.

If you could classify the generation currently attending college in one word, that word would be “fake,” and I am just as guilty for making it that way as you are.

As we come back from spring break, we see the pictures on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook pretending to update others on the user’s life, but they’re really there to make you feel pathetic for not being able to live the same life as them. It is a competition.

Who can go to the most exotic place?

Who is the best photographer?

Who looks best in their swimsuit?

People can act like it’s no big deal, but the truth is there are students out there killing themselves because of low self-esteem. They feel they can’t live up to the fake photos, the fake stories and the fake people.

They feel they can’t live up to the fake photos, the fake stories and the fake people. 

I also set out on a fake journey to fuel my fake life. I decided to go to the Grand Canyon and swing through the Rocky Mountains on my way in order to take as many artsy photos as possible.

I didn’t do it to see the sites. I did it to show others that I was strong during a hard time in my life. Little did I know I would find myself hours away from the Grand Canyon in Slab City.

Slab City is an abandoned military base in the middle of the desert the government leveled down to the cement slabs. Hippies, squatters and homeless alike settle there every winter to escape the cold. Nearly 2,500 people with no property, no jobs and no laws.

I first heard of this place in the book and movie, “Into the Wild.” In the movie, Chris McCandless, who also went by the name Alexander Supertramp, travels the country trying to escape the claws of society and eventually finds himself in Slab City before dying a free man in the wilderness of Alaska. This inspired me. He was so set on being free, he was willing to die to escape the traps of a culture we’ve created.

The first thing I did when I got to Slab City was ask about McCandless. A man named Johnny, one of the only 50 people who live in the slabs year-round, told me that no one knew him. “He was just another lost soul,” Johnny said. “We get thousands of those people every year.” At first, this seemed like a sad existence, but I found out it was the most beautiful way to live.

If people don’t care enough to check and see how I am doing or what I’ve been up to, do they really give a damn? 

Later we went to a trailer and had breakfast with a man named Rico. He looked like he hadn’t showered in months, and he was chain-smoking joints with the homeless. He told us that 17 people died from the heat this year alone. He told us about some of the lost souls he has met along the way.

We sat and talked for what seemed like days. On our way out, Rico offered us LSD (we declined his offer, of course). At the time, it baffled me how he was so nonchalant about it. It seemed like there was not a single sober person in Slab City. They were addicted to drugs, they were addicted to alcohol, but most importantly, they were addicted to freedom.

It was a long car ride home. I had a lot of time to think. Looking back, I admire the “Slabbers” because they didn’t know where their lives were going, and they were OK with that. They weren’t looking to impress anyone. They don’t need recognition to make themselves feel important. They simply lived life in the moment.

The most widespread addiction in life isn’t drugs or alcohol. It is power. It is belittling others. It is the fear of missing out.

So, share that Instagram picture, post that Snapchat story and let the world know what you’ve done on Facebook, but ask yourself: why am I doing this? If people don’t care enough to check and see how I am doing or what I’ve been up to, do they really give a damn?

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