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This May, I celebrated my 38th birthday.
I felt a little sad because, for many years, I have missed celebrating it with more friends and family. I have been traveling and living abroad for nearly 12 years now.
As I get older, I cherish quality over quantity even more.
On the day of my birthday, my friends and my partner organised a surprise picnic. I looked around and saw a group of souls I was so grateful for. Five beautiful humans who came to celebrate with me, even though I had only known them for a year and a half through my partner’s work.
I turned to one of them and said, “Isn’t it funny how this world has lost perspective? I have over 190,000 followers on Instagram and over 500,000 on YouTube, and here I am, sitting with five people I know and adore. Everyone thinks I am something I am not, or famous as my friend ohhed and ahhed at the numbers too, but I am just a regular girl nobody recognises.”
The reality is that these five people I’ve known for only a year and a half have more value than a thousand ones because they showed up.
The reality is that having 100,000 followers does not mean that I am popular, have big parties, have my life together, have a lot of money, am recognised by people, or own a huge house.
The truth is that those beautiful souls who connect with me online are a seed of hope to know that love transcends all distances, and I am just a seed of connection. I help them move better, learn something, not feel alone, or trigger them to grow.
We’ve gotten so lost in numbers, thinking that quantity shows that a person has it all together, makes money, is popular, and so on. However, these numbers are simply a gift of like-minded souls connecting on a platform through one person for numerous reasons.
If numbers meant that life was sound, then we would not have the 27 club, where people took their lives so soon. Numbers do not cure depression, fix mental health problems and physical losses, or make us happy. The person behind a number is still an everyday person, working, paying bills, dreaming of better tomorrows, working on their mental and physical health, raising a family, struggling, and all that.
One of the other things that struck me in this conversation was my friend asking why I do not promote products online and make money. I advised that my main goal is the help others. I would not be helping others if I promote a product for money, and one I know nothing about or have only used for the promotion.
She asked if my Instagram made me money. I said I do not make a cent from it; it is all for free. She asked if I would make an app and why I had not. I said that an app would be lovely. However, firstly, I do not know how to make an app, I do not really have the money to pay for someone, and finally, I do not want to be just another app someone pays for and hardly uses. I do not want more hard-earned money of someone being lost in the system.
I really want the money I receive for my services to make a difference.
So many do not realise that not everyone is a celebrity because of a number, not everyone is on social media making money, not everyone has the money, but they give anyway without seeking appreciation. Because in a world of numbers, numbers lie and do not tell the truth. They seem to create a false reality, different from what’s real. Numbers simply suggest, estimate, and make a statistic, but we miss what it truly means to be human or see others as human.
So, for those using social media who feel like their numbers are not big enough, please know my numbers are a reasonable size, and I am not sponsored, I make no money from it, and I still work and pay the bills as well.
A number does not make you rich or make people give you money. Please also know that behind every number—no matter how great or small—there is a human doing their best, and we should be grateful for them. The numbers never show a human being happy and having their lives figured out, but they show a human living and trying to make the best of their life whilst helping others.
Some days, I wish I could make more money online so I could have less stress at home financially, but I want to be accountable for who I am in this world and also authentic. I learned a long time ago, after my battle with depression, that mental health, joy, family, and friends require us to be healthy, and a number doesn’t help us become healthy nor does it help us chase our goals.
When we look at everything honestly, we realise that numbers are simply numbers.
No matter how big the number or small, everyone is imperfect and nobody has it together. Everyone will be misunderstood, but the one thing everyone can do is be authentic, connect with like-minded souls, and own their journey so they can live a whole life rather then a life full of pretense.
This makes a difference if you have a big or small number, and doing this honestly is far more rewarding than a number.
I hope, one day, numbers wont be misappropriated and make us lose ourselves. I hope we realise that five people are just as valuable as 100,000, and 100,000 do not show a good life or what life is really about.
Numbers just show people coming together in hopes of changing their lives or feeling like they are not alone.