They say men are moved by what they see. These days however, I am tempted to believe that both men and women are moved by visuals. The word “Goals” is one that is bandied around a lot on social media. It is often used to express a person’s desire to achieve what someone else has or a longing to be like them in one way or the other; usually regarding some marital, career or any other real or perceived significant life accomplishment. However, as with most attributes that are peculiar to the virtual community, the word “goals” is mostly used when for instance, a couple put up their pre-wedding pictures, or a good looking family post photos of themselves. And so, beyond liking the post, some of their followers can’t help but express a longing to be like them. This desire is revealed in phrases such as “marriage goals,” “family goals,” “couple goals” and the likes.
Why there’s nothing inherently wrong in aspiring to achieve what others have (especially if it’s something that has genuinely been a dream of ours too), on the flip side, there’s the ever underlying danger of coveting what they have based on a microscopic view of things.
I remember how a certain Nollywood actress who recently got married again used to speak glowingly about her first marriage. Each time I stumbled on her interview at the time, she always seemed to be taking a subtle jibe at her single colleagues. She would say things like “As a married woman, I don’t really have the time to mingle unnecessarily as I am focused on my family” and would go on and on about how things were different now because she was married. Ordinarily, there’s nothing wrong with that kind of statement, but like I said, it just felt a tad as though she was sending some kind of subliminal message to some of her colleagues. Especially when I found it a recurring feature in her interviews on different platforms.
Barely 2 years later, her marriage ended. Apparently, her now ex-husband must have been of the opinion that she bore a close resemblance to a punching bag, and never failed to do what boxers do to punching bags to her. And all the while she kept pretending all was well, until she couldn’t take it any longer. It got me wondering what all the people who had been referring to her marriage as “goals” had to say when they found out she had been involved in a sham of a marriage.
Based on what we see on social media, we pray and wish to have that idyllic life some of the people we look up to appear to have. Every couple is happy on Instagram. Everyone looks well off on Facebook, and every person on Twitter projects an image of intelligence and self-importance. One would have thought a that a good number of people would have had this hoax figured out by now, but, on the contrary we appear to be becoming more and more gullible by the day. We “oouuhh” and “aaahhh” over strangers we hardly know. I am guilty of this too, only that more often than not for me, it’s a form of appreciation for beauty, success or whatever it was that was the source of attraction as opposed to a longing to be in the person’s shoes.
The universe plays its role in trying to teach us a lesson in contentment time and again. When we eventually find out that things are not as they seem when things fall apart between that couple we tagged “goals,”that’s the cosmos attempting to open our eyes to the stark reality of things. It’s the same scenario when the guy whose display of opulence we adopted as our goal is arrested for fraud by the EFCC, yet we are quick to forget when the scandal blows over after a couple of weeks. We soon fall back to our old ways of yearning to possess a wealth or marriage we know nothing about.
I tell anyone who cares to listen that I never wish to be in anybody’s shoes. No doubt, there are attributes and achievements I admire in different people, however, it doesn’t translate to wanting the entirety of their journey in life. The reason is not far-fetched; I have no idea what their life’s journey is all about, and whether I’ll be able to cope with their challenges should we swap places. In much the same way that my own challenges are peculiar to me, and some other person may find my issues too burdensome for them to bear.
Just a few days ago, a Jumia delivery man was allegedly murdered by two young men and a lady over iPhones and a motorbike he had gone to deliver somewhere in Port-Harcourt. Now, what would make a man take another man’s life over material things that can only last for so long save for greed. The desire to be like others is responsible for the rising level of greed and heinous crimes we witness on a daily basis. It’s what will push an actress to claim puppies that aren’t hers. It’s what will make a comedian pass off a colleague’s body of work as theirs. It’s the crazy rationale behind political office holders stealing billions of dollars they have no use for. That overused, annoying word called “goals.”
I am humbled when people say they want to be like me, however I am also quick to point out that they should rather strive to be better versions of themselves as they have no idea what it’s really like to be in my shoes.
Sufficient for each person is their own peculiar situation.