(The social media fangirl in me never thought I’d write these words, but as you grow, so do your thoughts, and 140-characters simply isn’t enough.)
I’m guilty of writing the highlights of my life out in Facebook statuses, curious as to how many people might tap a little button to give it a “like.” I’ve crammed beautiful instances into measly tweets, stuffing the moments of my daily living into a cramped 140-characters and releasing it out into the internet. I’ve even captured moments with the perfect camera angle, only to slap a filter on them with the perfect exposure and contrast levels.
We’ve all been here: living life through a screen.
We are a people who crave technological acceptance. We are constantly clutching our smart phones in our hands, waiting for a moment that might rise us to YouTube fame or to jot down a blog post that might make it to the top page of Google’s search results. Our happiness can be boosted by the number of likes on Facebook; we envy others by the perfect Instagram feeds. We shove the good moments of our lives into social media when they deserve to be treasured in ways so much bigger than that.
Don’t you think that we hide behind 140-characters? That we only let others view the bright moments of our days, and we swallow the dark and gloomy times to make it appear that we’ve got it all together? That we curate the beautiful things and hide away the nitty gritty, real things that make us so utterly human?
If we’re all so busy curating a life that looks good to others, are we really living a life full of good?
I can tell you firsthand that happiness isn’t hidden in the 43 likes that the picture of your new car received. It’s not hidden in a post that your favorite 20-something blogger posted. It’s not in the midst of a photo of a sunset with an earlybird filter. Happiness is in experiences that happen when you forget about trying to look good electronically. It’s in a freshly brewed pot of coffee when you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. It’s in a long-distance phone call to your college roommate that lasts until three in the morning. It’s in the strokes of your mother’s penmanship when you pull her letters out of the mailbox. It’s rustling through the trees during long car rides with the windows down and the radio up. You can find happiness all around you, but I can assure you, it’s not inside your smart phone.
This is a lesson I’m slowly learning, too. I can’t tell you the number of times a day where I impulsively reach for my iPhone, even when a Mockingjay call hasn’t been emitted from its speakers (yup, that’s right, Rue’s whistle is my text tone). But there is a way to let go. We are capable of forgetting about being connected to just enjoy life at its finest and purest for a few hours.
Instead of continuing to simply “curate” my life, I’m going to “cultivate” it. I’m going to dig into the muddy waters and experience it to its fullest capacities, to live richly and deeply and be fully present in each moment, because what greater gift do we have than purely existing?