What 2 months of holidays has taught me
I’ve been thinking a lot about living in the moment lately. I think having been on holiday for 2 months does that to you. Oh and combine that with being a Gen Y kid and being surgically attached to my iPhone.
Being honest, I do spend a fair amount of time on my phone. Mum and Dad would say way too much but it’s all about perspective, right? Sending a quick IM to my brothers in London sure beats waiting weeks for the post.
So what do I spend hours on my phone doing? Scrolling, that what I do. It’s a different sort of scrolling to what the bakers at the bakery I work at do, and not nearly as productive.
I can scroll and tap for hours on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. It’s an easy way to see what everyone I know is up to, especially in the holidays. I’m a people person and I like seeing the people.
But spending hours on my phone isn’t really living in the moment, is it? I do believe living in the moment is important because we’re just not sure how much time we have to make the most of our lives. On top of that, enjoying ourselves on the day to day is never a bad thing and everyday it continues to amaze me how fast life is travelling.
Going one step further, painstakingly trying to create and curate the content to post on said social media isn’t living in the moment either.
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the hard work of people that create amazing online content, much of their work is truly creative and full of talent. But when my peers and I spend more time trying to take a good photo for the ‘gram than actually engaging in conversation with each other and enjoying said moments together, then I don’t believe this is a good or healthy thing.
I think the combination of the instantaneousness of social media, the concept of sharing only the cool experiences, and the validation we seek from our online personas sets us up with this very dangerous view of life. We think that we should only share these cool moments and anything else is not worth posting. We think that we should only experience these cool moments and nothing else is worth our time.
What we do with our days needs to be exciting in order to be valid. What we do with our friends needs to be shared and glorified by our followers and friends for us to feel like we have an interesting life that everyone wants to know about. It needs to be Instagrammable and it has to be Snapchat story worthy.
Similarly to how editing and filtering photos gives us a distorted image of reality (something you can read more about here), consciously altering or even wholly directing our very experiences towards this idea of ‘cool’ is a problem.
People feel the need to share everything in order to strike social media popularity luck with at least one experience. And this makes our lives less private and personal. The time we spend with someone isn’t just ours to share intimately, it’s for our 1000 friends and followers to take part in too.
People are urged to tailor their daily activities in order to do something ‘Instagrammable’ and ‘Snapchat story worthy’. We’re not just doing things we enjoy, we’re doing things others enjoy in order to appeal to their like buttons.
And most crucially, people no longer feel obliged to simply enjoy life’s highs with the people they’re with in the moment. More than enjoying the beauty and intrigue of the place, or the wonderful conversation, or simply the beautiful presence of others — we have to capture it too.
The need to share everything is taking over the enjoyment of the experience.
Instead of taking in the moment, we expend our thoughts and energy on how to perfectly showcase it to show it off later.
I came to this realisation awhile ago and it’s had an impact on my holidays so far.
Many of the best days or occasions I’ve had these holidays I haven’t captured on camera, or if I did, it’s stuck in my camera roll for no one else to see. I haven’t felt that I need to show everyone I know what I’ve been doing. If I have chosen to post on Instagram or Snapchat, my reasons for doing that have changed.
I’m posting because I want to glorify the beauty of the world we live in, and because I want to acknowledge the incredible people in my life.
More than this, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve had lots of time to think these holidays, whether that’s being by myself or in the company of others. It’s fair to say ‘yes, I have posted on social media during these holidays’, but I haven’t posted to the extent that I otherwise would have.
I also haven’t shared all of the conversations, the realisations, the laughter, the moments of contentment that I have experienced alone and with others. There’s been the opportunity to post numerous times — coffee dates, parties, and a week in Taupo — but I haven’t. I went stand up paddle boarding the other day, but simply posted a photo of the amazing weather. There didn’t seem the need to share everything about that day.
Evidently I don’t claim to live in the moment all the time, it’s not entirely possible. And I know I’ll never stop with my lame or opinionated statuses on Facebook, but I believe it’s all about our intentions. I intend to live in the moment and enjoy my time with the people I love or even by myself. I intend to share content that promotes things I believe in or value highly, or sparks a conversation, or brings laughter to someone. I intend to keep some moments private and special.
So here’s to the last month of holidays for me. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do and even less sure of what I will post.