“This is Bill
Bill does such-and such
Bill is smart
Be like Bill!”
If you’re anything other than a dinosaur, you’ve no doubt seen this meme doing the rounds. With no offense meant to any tech-savvy dinosaurs out there, you’d have to be a dinosaur to have missed it, because the social media world has been taken by storm by a guy named Bill.
Kim Kardashian was said to have broken the internet last year with daring photos of her voluptuous figure. Do not be deceived. She wasn’t the one to break the internet. The minor blip the social media world may have received by Kim’s curves is nothing compared to the massive shattering that was caused by this little stick figure.
Meet Bill; a small stick figure in desperate need of a cheeseburger. He bears a smiling countenance and wears a homespun wool hat that should feature on Jimmy Fallon’s next episode of “Worst Christmas Gifts.” On occasion, he is seen sat at a computer. Yet this slight figure contains endless wisdom, virtues, swag, and style, for he is the proponent of awesomeness and he bids you to “Be like Bill.”
And he has broken the internet.
Bill was created when Eugeniu Croitoru saw a similar meme on Facebook and created Bill. Because of the viral response it received on another page of his, he and Debabrata Nath created Bill a Facebook  page for him on the 7th of January.  I don’t think either of them could have imagined the storm that they were going to whip up. 
From his humble beginnings it escalated to the point where there are now over 764,000,000 images of Bill doing the rounds. Yep, there is that many. I’ve just Googled it. I’ve been well nigh accosted by images of smiling Bill in his cheesy hat every time I’ve logged into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Google+, etc. Someone even snapchatted me their artistic take on Bill
But it goes further. There are now whole websites and apps dedicated to creating your own “Bill Memes” (if you will), taking the number of images across the internet to virtually millions.
However, not all of Bill’s actions have been good. As one author put it:
“There’s a gulf between young Bill and contemporary Bill, of course; among other things, he has widened the scope of his derision. Where Bill once shut down feminists and “fatties,” he’s now devoted to passive-aggressively shaming anyone who fails to adhere to his particular rules of etiquette.”
Shaming others for not doing as we do is particularly easy for members of the human species. And so Bill has gone from telling people that they shouldn’t take duck faced selfies, or Instagram lattes or late night snacks, or play Candy Crush to “arguments on why all Muslims should get special security screenings at airports, PC culture be damned, and rants against “man-hating” feminists.” 
While more and more people are making and sharing Bill memes, many others are taking offense to them and are taking a stand against it on social media.
So as Bill’s smiling face does the rounds on the social media, and the lines are drawn, I thought about what Bill means to me. Now, I could be tempted to shrug it off, because as anyone who is on the social media world enough knows, meme fads like this come and go so quickly. By the time you realize one is popular, a new one has surfaced somewhere else. But for some reason, Bill struck a chord with me.
As I’ve been thinking about Bill over the past week, and pondering over all the advice that I’ve been given about what Bill does and how I should be like him, I’ve come to this conclusion:
I need to be my own Bill!
I was reminded today of the acceptance speech made by Matthew McConaughey when he received the Oscar for “Best Actor” following his performance in the movie “The Dallas Buyer’s Club.” As he received his Oscar, he told the story about the time when he was a young man first getting into acting. His first director asked him who his hero was. Young Matthew said that he didn’t know right away and would need some time to think about it. A few days later, Matthew McConaughey returned to the director and told him, “My hero is me in 15 years.” He then went on to describe to the director what his future in 15 years looked like. One of those things was winning an Oscar for Best Actor. Matthew McConaughey summarized this story by saying that now he had reached that place in his life that he had dreamed of, his new hero was the man that he knew he could be another 15 years from now.
I have challenged myself with that thought. Who do I want to be? What do I want out of life? What do I want to be known for? What do I want to succeed in? Once I figured that out, I challenged myself to be like that and live like that, regardless of what everyone else around me is thinking or doing. In short, I have to be my own Bill.
Be your own Bill!
There are so many people eager to play the role of “Bill” in your life. There are so many people who are willing to tell you what you should do, what you should wear, what you should eat, what you should become, what you should study, who you should like, who you should marry, what you should pursue, etc. If we were to truly listen to and apply every word of advice that was thrown our way, we’d be a wreck!
Be your own Bill!
You can’t be like all the “Bills” in your life. As good a person that Bill appears to be, Bill is living his own life. What Bill does is pretty good for Bill, but doesn’t mean that it’ll be good for me. While I may learn some interesting concepts from Bill and while I may receive some good advice, at the end of the day I am responsible for my own life and so I have to choose what’s right for me. I have to be my own Bill.
Be your own Bill!
It’s your life. You are the one who determines who you can or can’t be. You are the one who determines what you can or can’t do. You are the one who determines your life. Yes, there are societal norms and expectations; yes there are parental expectations; yes, there is peer pressure and expectations, but at the end of the day, it’s your life and you’re the one who is going to have to live it.
So live your life! Determine what you want to do. Determine what you want to accomplish. Determine what you want to become. Determine what you want to strive for. Determine what you want to pursue. And then go out and do it.
Live the way that you’ve been intended to live. You have unique talents, hopes, dreams, skills, and abilities. Don’t try to conform to meet expectations or try to put them in a box.
Your life will be a happy and fulfilled when you are living genuinely. And by genuinely I mean when you are living the life that you’ve determined to live for yourself. If you are living on the expectations of someone else, or living your life by the standards of someone else, that is when you feel unaccomplished and unfulfilled. Give your life some meaning. Make it YOUR life.
Don’t be like Bill. BE your own Bill!