#IRL: What Is Real In Our World Anymore?

After watching an episode of "Black Mirror" on Netflix, I thought to myself... What is real in our world anymore?

If you really think about it, have we lost grip with reality? Have we lost our way and can we no longer identify what defines us? Is it the character that we've spent our childhood growing, our teens destroying, and our adulthood fostering? Or is it the filter we chose for the picture we posted at the optimal time for likes?

Are we better for having triple digits on a picture of a dessert that we can't even remember the taste of? Or are we worse for comparing ourselves to someone's social feed instead of bettering ourselves in "reality?" But, alas, what is reality? Is it the check in's or is it when you check out? Is it your "unfiltered" Snapchat or is it a day without Wi-Fi?

And in love, dare I say we've destroyed what it means to fall for it. We go into dates after checking at least three different sites to see if the "image" of who they are seems like it fits the image of who we want to be. But who are they and who are we? Are we just a series of Facebook posts or are we still real human beings looking for a connection past a right swipe or a FBO title?

We go on dates and we talk in person... but it probably took days of irrelevant small talk via text that isn't even our own. Our date was probably manifested thanks to our group chat's texting savvy and after researching someone socially.

But still, we are able to fall in love. We're able to find some semblance of -- what we perceive as -- normalcy. We fall in love, and we make sure the whole world knows it. We post, innocently or purposefully, and people repeat things like "they look really happy" or "he changed his profile picture, is everything ok?" We share the most intimidate parts of our lives but doesn't that then lose its intimacy?

Anniversary posts, birthday posts, and congratulatory posts are a must. Didn't post? You're a horrible friend/sister/brother/daughter/son/lover. Couldn't spend 15 minutes of your day crafting something funny or something sappy and finding a picture that perfectly pairs? Wouldn't it be better to take that time to make a phone call? To exchange words that aren't for anyone except the one you're speaking to?

So what is real in our world anymore?

There is media bias owning all waves of communication trying to mold trusting minds. There is advertising flooding our lives and we'll never really know how much of it does what it says. There is virtual reality and augmented reality and mixed reality and are we honestly, truly, losing touch with every aspect of our reality?

If you put all of it together: the pictures, the captions, the statuses, the check-ins, the messages, the memes, and the tweets... is that you? The one that was born into this world with a blank slate full of chance and dreams and opportunity? Or is it the one defined by their social clout? And what are we without our social worlds?

...Do we just disappear without them?

We worry -- usually jokingly -- about robots taking over the world one day. But how different are we from them? Do we still have the ability to feel, to be, to love, to rejoice, and to be authentic in the actions that we take and the words that we say? And if "Black Mirror" was the muse then would HBO's "Westworld" be the warning?

Do we just go through the motions -- planned and meticulous? Is everything an equation to the best paying job? A formula for your soul mate? A strategy for friendship? Is there anything natural left behind the fake laughter we use to pose for pictures?

Let's bring them back, the good ol'days. Let's smile at life and not just for a picture. Let's read books instead of fake news. Let's have conversations without checking our email. Let's take a vacation for ourselves instead of our profiles. Let's see the world in front of us and not the one on TV.

Let's listen in on the universe's pulse. Let's remember that our hearts are real, beating organs and not a double tap on our screens.

Because I miss the days of falling in love by chance and when being in love meant thriving instead of posting. I miss the days when being passionate meant actually being passionate and not a word thrown in LinkedIn bios and Bumble profiles. I miss the days when friendship consisted of unlimited laughter and not unlimited texting.

Because if I were to ask you -- what is real? And what is fake? Do you think we're in a new virtual reality of our own making? And if so, please tell me... is there a way for us to escape?

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