What was life like before social media?
Do you even remember?
I am talking before MySpace, chat rooms, and even AOL Instant Messenger.
I find myself wondering what life was like for twenty-something-year-olds before social media existed.
How did they reach their friends if not instantly?
How did they spend each waking second if not refreshing a little icon on a hand held device?
How did they manage to go about their day without knowing what every single person they have had a connection with over the last 10 years is doing in every waking moment?
The answer is: they survived. Not only did they survive, but I’m sure they thrived.
I often wish we lived in a time where ridiculous social media pressures didn’t exist. The unfortunate reality is that we do, so now it is all about adapting in a healthy way. I have been abroad for over three months now, yet this entire journey I feel as if I am on a teeter totter rocking back and forth trying to find the balance between two worlds-my current reality and my previous one.
Life abroad has completely changed me for the better. Lately though, I have struggled with expectations from others back home, specifically regarding my social media.
I am exploring absolutely beautiful places all over the world where I am constantly growing stronger, and coming more and more into my own as a human being.
Just because this isn’t accurately portrayed on my social media does it make it any less real?
“Social media” is a complete oxymoron now more than ever.
Throughout my travels I have noticed myself putting my phone away, and keeping it away more and more on a conscious level. I have become aware that in many moments taking out my phone to Instagram or Snapchat could actually cheapen the authenticity of the present moment.
Photographing a feeling is no easy feat. Many photographers are successful because of their ability to achieve this. But I am not a famous photographer, nor do I have a desire to become one. I am watching the world unfold in front of me, and I am standing here with an iPhone 5c in hand. I cannot capture these moments that are shaping me as a person and show it to you on my social media sites, it goes beyond the photographs.
Viewers see a post and begin to perceive the image however they wish without really knowing the story behind it. This is why I have chosen to post less and less as my travels go on. It feels impossible for me to capture my current reality, not one of my photos truly does justice to what I am witnessing first hand. Lately I have been practicing taking “mental Snapchats” in moments I want to remember, I am able to save these and refer back to them whenever I want. These images are only vivid if I am completely present in the actual experience-therefore using my brain to record these precious moments.
I found that so many backpackers I met along the way have adapted this mindset too. We are not constantly seeking approval from society-we are actually often avoiding it. If anything, we receive backlash from our social media posts because our friends and family back home are consumed with many personal emotions regarding our travels (mostly missing us and wanting us to return home).
My life may look like a party on my social media, but that’s because it is.
Why shouldn’t life be a party?
I am surrounded by amazing people that I am so honored to know, and we have so much FUN together! All of us are here to experience the world and better ourselves in one way or another.
What’s wrong with us being silly just because?
What’s wrong with dancing the night away?
What’s wrong with enjoying the sunshine?
It is tagged photos like these on my Facebook that give people the impression I am just “partying” all the time. What upsets me is that people in my life are judging me primarily based on what I decide to post (or not post) on my social media. They think that just because the last few pictures are tagged photos of me out at night that all I must be doing is partying. I am using my energy to be mindful each day and not planning my social media moves-for some reason this has offended people.
What you don’t see is the previous day I worked at the hostel for half the day and then walked three miles across the island and spent the rest of the day reading and writing in nature without my phone. The social moments are the ones you are seeing on social media, but there is so much more behind this experience that isn’t being captured and posted.
I’m not going to take time away from my precious day to contrive my photos to be what I think others want to see. If this makes me less “social” on social media then so be it. I am not going to lose my authenticity because I am supposed to have some cliche inspirational images on my Facebook and Instagram.
I’m just going to continue being me and striving to be the best I can be-with my social media presence having nothing to do with it.