main character

Living your life as the "main character" has become the new trend of 2021.

Main character energy; it’s a phrase that has been thrown around so often on social media nowadays and oftentimes it can feel confusing as to understand what it actually means. Generally speaking, the idea of “main character” energy is that one is taking control of their life and they are trying to focus more on themselves and making their wants and desires first and foremost, therefore becoming the “main character” of their life.

Making your life a movie is nothing new, since the dawn of social media and especially since platforms like Instagram have become so popular, the idea of showing your life as a highlight reel has become somewhat of a norm in society. It is quite commonly known that these apps cause individuals to somewhat romanticize their lives and create ideals that may not have been there before.

“I do think that social media has a lot to do with it,” said Jennessa Sharratt, a junior in dietetics. “We are narrating our own lives everyday. We have the chance to connect with so many people and we are all telling a story with ourselves at the center of it.”

Many times individuals use the idea of “main character energy” to create positives out of otherwise negative situations. When bad things happen, instead of looking at everything from the perspective of why did this happen or why am I having to deal with this, it allows somebody to flip the incident around into a more helpful frame of mind. 

“Thinking about my experiences as very individualistic and as if each thing I go through is ‘making the plot interesting’ or ‘building character,’ it’s made me less self conscious about what others think of me and has allowed me to think more of ‘if I were to think about the story of my life with no regrets as if I were looking back on my favorite movie, what would I want to change or do?’” said Sarah Flippen, a senior in psychology.

However, as many social media trends go, there can be downsides to the idea of everybody putting themselves as the main character of their life. It has often been shown that even though everybody knows that everyone else is simply posting their best moments online, it can be hard to square that inside our minds.

Often, because of everybody making themselves out to have seemingly perfect lives, it can make us feel as though we are lacking in some aspects.

“I think the ideal can be very unrealistic and disappointing,” said Makenna Dungan, a junior in chemical engineering. “Nobody is perfect and a lot of people have this kind of idea of what a main character should look like and not everybody is that. It makes things seem perfect, when in reality a lot of people might be going through the exact same things we are.”

Though there can be difficulties with creating an ideal for yourself, main character energy doesn’t have to be limited to online spaces. Although the trend originated in areas like Tik Tok and Instagram, it seems that more people are bringing this idea to life within their everyday activities and using it as inspiration and motivation to allow themselves to do things they may not have felt comfortable or prepared enough to do so before.

Being a young person today, oftentimes it can be difficult to feel as though you have power over any aspect of your life and it can seem as though you are just going through the motions in order to make it to the next day. Main character energy is the combination of ideas that you can find fun in the mundane and that even the simplest tasks can be enriching but that you can also find the bravery to do the wild things that you have truly wanted to do.

“We want to live our lives in a way that is interesting and worthwhile, and as we get older we realize that we have so much time but that the time we do have is also moving at lightning speed,” said Flippen. “Because of this mentality I am now planning to travel the world during my twenties teaching English before even thinking about higher education or a long term position. A lot of things just don’t scare me anymore.”

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