I’m quitting Instagram… for a bit

365 Writing Prompt

Writing prompt: What is something you’re giving up for a while?

I’ve seen all the studies that say social media is affecting our happiness and our mental health and that millennials and the Gen Z’s are more depressed than prior generations, so it makes sense that I should take a break from Instagram for a little bit. Even though it’s hard to uninstall.

I’m not going to lie about the fact that I don’t feel a bit excitement when I see the number of people who have liked a photo. It doesn’t matter if I know those people or not. It’s the fact that they appreciate the aesthetic and like an aspect of my unglamorous life.

It’s almost an addiction in that before I go to bed, I scroll through Instagram. A 10:00 P.M. bedtime turns into 10:30. Sometimes when I wake up, it’s also one of the things I check before physically getting out of bed. A 6:30 A.M. alarm turns into getting up at 6:45. Instagram has me hooked with its endless feedback mechanisms.

I look at all the places people are traveling to today and all the pretty girls with their pretty smiles and all the good food people are eating and all the views that they are seeing that I’m not a part of. It makes me dream of better days, and I put that geo-tagged location on my bucket list because I need a picture of that moment too with that exact backdrop. How many photos have I seen with that infamous “I love you so much” graffiti background in Austin? How many photos have I seen with the coast of Santorini? How many photos have I seen of the Peak in Hong Kong? Somehow none of it gets old, even though that same angle has been shot a million times before (and shot better.)

I told my friend in the Bay Area to go to The Color Factory, and he couldn’t understand paying $30 to go to a ball pit. I answered simply, “Do it for the gram.” I’m guilty in sometimes thinking about places and food in terms of an Instagram photo. Would this look good on my page? I don’t photograph every part of my life because I have some sort of self control, but it’s easy to look at situations through that lens.

I have a friend who is constantly looking at different places in the world and sending them to me saying, “WE NEED TO GO HERE!!” It’s definitely not making her any happier to see all the cool places that people are going. I don’t want to see exotic place after exotic place that I haven’t been to either.

There’s something inexplicable about seeing people’s wonderful lives and doing a side by side with your own. Just thinking about it makes me wonder why anyone would do that to themselves, but I weirdly like subjecting myself to that everyday.

I’m done with it for a while though because I felt myself feeling sad going on with my “regular” life. My brain knows that everybody’s Instagram page is the best version of themselves, but it feels like my own version of my “best self” doesn’t compare to theirs. I don’t need that negativity in my life when this is my life that I’m doing my best at living. I hate feeling like my life is framed in this little app. Forget doing it only for the gram.