From Tinder to Shapr: A Milennial Girl’s Journey In “Figuring Out Life”

It was June 20, 2017 and I was about to make a decision that would change my life forever. As my fingers trembled over the button, I had to close my eyes and clutch my quivering wrist as I clicked ‘yes’ on the ‘are you sure?’ prompt. I had officially deleted my Tinder account. After years of jumping from one high to the next, or should I say one ridiculous boy to the next, I realized that my days of spontaneous gratification had lost its appeal. I found myself frustrated with how stagnant the app had made me. I already had enough of the grandiose dates and supplanted lovey dovey moments with “boat guy,” “nose guy,” and “shy boy” to name a few. I found love, I found heartbreak, I found contentment with strangers I would see for maybe a day or maybe a year.

As with many fleeting hobbies in my life, I get quite interested and invested in something one moment, and then can drop them for boring me the next. Dating apps were at the forefront of this movement as I swiped past faces of people from cities across the world, finding myself playing a game in which I no longer had interest. Soon, I had withdrawals- the loneliness of seeing my phone and not being able to see my super likes or matches or potential lovers felt like I entered a vacuum of perpetual solitude. As I began my recovery as a dating app addict,an even more daunting fear than loneliness began to ensue- the dreaded post-grad unemployment nausea. I was only months away from graduating with not a single clue what I would do after graduation from university. As I removed the distraction of boys from my purview, I was now confronted with the deeper realization that I was not too confident in my life or career path as I had previously believed. The buzz of male attention could no longer save me from the real work of pursuing my path as a girl boss.

After ranting about my existential graduation woes, my sister offered a solution: Shapr.  Shapr is a career networking app in which professionals within your area can swipe right and left to find their perfect career “match.” My sister knew that this Tinder of networking would give me the right fix of swiping and getting to meet awesome new people who would give me a job rather than a broken heart!? A win-win situation for all parties involved.

As I began to swipe on Shapr, I starting meeting interesting mentors and colleagues who began stirring ideas in me about establishing my work as a storyteller.

I came up with the idea to start my own podcast last summer and found myself quickly confused about who, what, and how I would accomplish such a feat. I just knew that social media was the answer to figure out how the climate movement needs to move forward. It would have to start with doing my favorite thing in the world: meeting strangers. As much as my parents advised me as a child to do otherwise, talking to strangers has been an art lost on many in my generation without it being confined to the boundaries of dating apps and late night chat rooms. I found a renewed sense of purpose as I began to swipe left and right on potential mentors, friends, and colleagues. Thanks to the amazing people I have met on Shapr, I am creating my own podcast and media series called, Brown Girl Green. I interview environmental leaders and advocates about why workplace and member diversity and inclusion is important within the environmental field. Through Shapr, I met my current creative partner, videographers, professional photographers, and fellow bloggers who have given me tips and advice on how to grow my brand. Further, I have been invited to events such as women entrepreneurship panels and speaking engagements simply because I decided to take a chance and venture out of my comfort zone.

Although I now have a schedule choc full of Shapr meet-ups rather than Tinder dates, a feat that I would have never foreseen years ago, I feel like I am beginning to fill the gap that I longed to address for so long. The subsequent loneliness and worries of romantic partnership have slowly been replaced with deeper friendships, potentially lifelong professional connections, and a rediscovery of my inner talents and self worth I kept buried for so long.

I am excited to see what this new chapter will bring and that modern technology is my sidekick through this grown-ish phase of my life. Being an adult is not so scary when you realize that many people around you long for the same feeling of connection, community, and empowerment as you do. Come join me in my journey as I build environmental awareness through social media and work to understand how to love myself along the way.

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