We Hide Behind 140-Characters

mac laptop, iPad, and iPhone

(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? heart

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. heart 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?

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11 thoughts on “We Hide Behind 140-Characters

  1. Sara,
    I so love your writing, the way you paint such an evocative picture with your words. We definitely need more than 140 characters to create and share our stories. I think the richness of our lives lies in the muddy waters. This is where we spend our time and do the work that needs to be done. I so detest the like button on Facebook. I think it is the worst thing ever. I made a promise to myself that when I read something that moves me, inspires me to not hit like and run. The words you write and the stories you curate matter to me. I had a dear friend of mine pass away at the age of 19 after a twelve year battle with Leukemia. Kelly lived her life, always fully present to the experience and richness of life, never limiting her experience to 140 characters or less.

    1. Ross, your words are so honest here. Thank you for expressing your thoughts! I completely agree that the richness of our lives lies in the muddy waters— we should learn to embrace every little detail of our everyday’s to the fullest. I am so sorry to hear about your friend Kelly, but she sounds like an inspiration to you, for certain. I hope she continues to shine a light on you in your everyday.

  2. I agree with Ross. I am an extremely visual and texual person, so I appreciate the draw of (ugh, pardon this pun) self-escreen. But your final sentence is an excellent point. It’s tough to do, sometimes, because it means leaving my little rut in the road to look in the ditch once in a while–where I actually walked by a deer this morning. But I guess that most worthwhile things we don’t do enough are hard!

    1. Thanks for reading, Adam! Completely agree with your last sentence— the most worthwhile things are hard, but they are so WORTH it in the end. We just have to constantly push ourselves to get there.

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