What are you doing right now? Or to be more exact, what were you doing before you started reading this post?
Maybe you've just been perusing Facebook and your mind is overloading with images of friends and acquaintances laughing, tanning on beaches, kayaking rivers, getting engaged, and just generally having more fun than you. You might have just texted a friend to see if they're free and now you're looking through old photos to find a perfect throwback thursday photo for your Instagram in order to let the world know that yes, you're still alive, having a great summer, and are just as cute as you were at five years old in those heart-shaped sunglasses.
Maybe you have plans for dinner and then afterwards you'll probably watch Netflix until you get tired because what else is there to do? Or maybe you've planned a quiet night in to peruse Pinterest and plan for your next wedding, dream house, and InStyle-worthy wardrobe re-haul.
You might have just texted a roommate or sibling because you forgot the wifi password and who ate the Chinese leftovers without telling me?
Can I ask you something?
Are you happy right now--I mean, in this very moment? Does perusing Facebook ever make you feel ashamed to be alone? Does Instagram make you feel like a loser for having zero dinner plans and no travel plans that require a passport? Does Pinterest ever make you wish your life looked like pictures instead of being messy and mismatched and real?
Does texting ironically make you feel further away from someone because you can't see into their eyes or hear their voice? Do your "connections" on the internet ever make you feel more alone than you did before you had them? Have you ever been perfectly satisfied with having the afternoon to yourself until you get on Twitter and see all the "exciting" things everyone else is doing and in turn you feel like spending the night in just isn't enough?
Our worlds are buzzing. Texts, emails, blog posts, status updates, snap chats, picture posts clogging up our brains. We're posting, uploading, chatting, refreshing, all at lightning speed. We fall asleep and we wake up to the constant chatter and we must check to see what we've missed. We even go on "social-media fasts" only to look forward to how many notifications and followers we've gained while we were gone.
When maybe, what we're missing isn't what someone else is doing. Maybe what we're missing is happening without us. Our lives.
Can I ask you to do something?
Go somewhere beautiful. Somewhere breathtakingly beautiful and don't take your camera. Leave your phone in the car. Because this is your moment and it was created for YOU to enjoy, and not everyone needs to know about it for it to be yours.
I recognize the irony. In a sense, I'm blogging about not blogging. But here's what I've learned.
I can't wish away the internet. I can do Facebook fasts and take a day off Instagram and delete my Twitter, but it's all still there. But instead of letting it use me, I can use it. Because while it is a tool, but it is not my only tool. Sharing life online is one way to share, but not the only way. Texting a friend is one way to connect, but certainly not the only way.
I think that in a lot of ways, social media has given us an irrational fear of being alone. While it has helped us to connect, it has made us feel that we must always be hyper-connected. We give way to it, we let it make us feel that our lives aren't enough.
But we can change our perspective. We can leave our phones in the car and explore the world without having to prove we did. We can have beautiful moments and we don't have to share them all online to make them count.
Instead of letting our buzzing world make us feel like we're not enough, we can live our lives in ways that prove to ourselves that we are.
And we don't need to reach a hundred likes to know that.