Might as well face it, you're addicted to like." ~Robert Palmer & Jason Wise
Hi. My name is Jason Wise and I'm a likeaholic. With my addiction, likes come in two forms.
There's the digital Facebook kind of like. This one is pretty basic - the excessive liking of posts, the posts seemingly crafted to generate likes, and that saccharine high you feel when you get a lot of attention on something you share. We've all seen it. We've all been there.
But there's also a more anthropological type of like. It comes from the comradery of our shared experience. Not just liking something yourself, but liking something together. And by sharing that moment with someone you actually end up liking that person even more.
This is the basis of friendship. It's a way we bond with one another. As social beings, it's part of our DNA. It's why we created language. It's why Facebook became a thing.
Yesterday I arrived at my first #journeyman destination: Zion National Park. I set up camp in the morning and quickly hit the trails.
Out there in nature I saw so many beautiful things. 10,000 beautiful things to be precise (a reference within a reference from Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which I'm currently reading). Every time I saw a beautiful thing I smiled. I mean, how could you not?
But now and then, one of those beautiful things was more than just beautiful, it was spectacular. It was awesome, like I'm literally in awe.
I tried to take pictures, but when I look at the picture on my phone I scoff, because it's not quite the same. It's like those old ditto copies we had in elementary school: faded, blurry, distorted. No matter how many filters or boosts I use, it doesn't capture it. It can't be captured.
So I put down my phone and just marvel.
I'm feeling all the feels and it feels wonderful, but in a flash my next thought is...I wish I could share this with someone. Not with an Instagram post, not even in a text, but share it for real, in person.
Sure there are other people on the trail. Friendly chatty people, way-too-slow people, smelly German people, feeding the aggressive squirrels people. But I miss having someone I know. I'm miss sharing that view with a friend.
I knew going on a solo journey would be lonely. That was one of the reasons I did it.
We as a society, and I myself, are so used to leaning on the kind shoulder and shared experience of others. That's good and bad - good because sometimes you need that shoulder to lean on, and bad because sometimes you need to stand on your own.
As I stood gazing at the stunning Angels Landing tower in Zion (seriously, Google it) I felt a wave of melancholy. I realized I couldn't nudge a friend next to me and say, "wtf, do you see that amazingness?!" I realized I could never share that particular experience.
So you see, this is my affliction. I'm addicted. I've been conditioned to need the attention, the connection, the comradery. I get a little hit when you double tap on my Instagram pic. It feels so good when you like my Facebook mood. But the real good stuff, the sticky-icky, that's when we hang in person, I get a hug, and we clink a beer.
This was my first day out on a hike alone, so these are withdrawals. It was tough at times but I made it through. I'm already getting better. Day-one likers anonymous chip in the pocket.
I'm learning that I can't share everything with everyone. Some things are for me and me alone. And that's OK.