December 29 was a very good day.
I was driving in Orlando at 5 p.m. and there was absolutely no traffic. This, combined with the fact that I was about to pick up my best friend for a spontaneous adventure to a record store, led to me being in an exceptionally good mood. I always try to recognize when I feel really, abundantly happy; I think it’s important to catalog these moments for the inevitable days that suck.
So I’m driving, and the sun is shining, and Mumford & Sons is playing, and all I’m thinking about is how beautiful this moment of my life is. I pull out my phone and open Snapchat. Of all the annoying things I do on a regular basis (there are many), Snapchatting-song-snippets-out-of-car-windows is probably my biggest offense. I’m going 47 m.p.h. and I’m trying to record the perfect part of the song with the perfect strip of the road. I delete two clips. I’m at a red light. The song changes. The moment is completely over, and I’ve missed half of it because I spent so long trying to capture it.
I resent most critique of “millennials.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with recording most of a concert, and I never really understand why people get mad about Instagram being flooded with love on Mother’s Day. I love social media and work in it, but I have noticed some things.
I’ve noticed that often when I’m experiencing moments, I’m writing Instagram captions in my head.
I’ve noticed that my social media presence misleads people.
I’ve noticed that every time my best friend and I propose an observation or theory to each other, we almost always follow it with, “I was trying to think of a way to tweet about it.”
This isn’t me calling for any grand Australian boycotts or self-reflections. If I post another picture today “just for the aesthetic,” don’t think of me as a hypocrite — I really do just like the way a nicely arranged Instagram profile looks.
I spent most of my adolescent summers creating MySpace profiles from scratch, and I think that contributed a lot to the kind of person I am today. I’m grateful for it. I am positive, however, that I’m completely addicted to the internet. Much like my new-found dependence on coffee, I’m just gonna go ahead and pretend it’s not that serious.
So, in the spirit of one of my vague, cliché 2016 resolutions (“mindfulness”), I encourage you to take a few minutes and think about how much time you spend trying to validate yourself to the online world. If, like me, your answer is “a whole lot,” maybe join me in trying to release yourself from that dependence. Delete all your apps for a day, and not just because you’re mad at a boy. Stop re-reading your own tweets. Post whatever the frick you want.
Also, don’t Snap and drive.
It really is dangerous.