It’s a scene of profound beauty. Mountains in the distance. Glowing fields of streaming color. Silence all around. The world feels strangely empty yet familiar. As if this is the place life is found.
“Want a photo?” My friend asks.
I’ve taken a couple photos of the scenery. I want to remember. I want to hold onto the memory of this day and the beauty of the landscape.
Still, something inside me shifts at what this photo will look like on social media. How can I frame it? Should I use a filter? Will I look okay?
I nod and say, “Thanks,” turning to smile as if my simple human self could somehow stand out in front of this beautiful backdrop. A couple poses later, I return the favor, snapping a few collective shots of my friend.
We both pause, staring at our pictures. The world is right in front of us, but we don’t care. We’re looking down. Editing our photos. Making sure we captured the moment.
We’re so worried about capturing the right “moment” that we’re not truly living in the moment anymore. The moment has become a facade. A way to live without living too much. By making life look better than it is, it shows that we know what it is to truly live. That we are living our best lives.
This moment above didn’t specifically happen, but it’s the premise of what happens all the time with social media. I’ve experienced similar situations more times than I can count. Taking the picture isn’t about capturing the beauty of the scene. It’s about collecting Instagram worthy content.
It makes me sad. I hate that the world can be reduced to a series of images, edited to a degree that makes the world seem less human and more pixelated. Is that what it is to live now? Does being alive mean to live through the screen?
I want to do better. To be a better human.
I don’t even entirely believe in social media and hate so many things about it. Yet, every day I find myself scrolling through all of the apps. Measuring my self-worth against others. Posting to see how many likes I can get. Posting to show that I’m still living a life worthy of attention. That I’m doing something cool. That I myself am worthy of the screen.
There has to be a way to enjoy social media without making it the center of everything we do.
We cart our phones around like we’re a slave to them, and quite honestly, a lot of times we are. I can’t begin to tell you how many times Google Maps has saved me, or how being able to call anyone at the touch of a button has brought me peace. I hate the feeling of not having my phone with me at all times…it feels like I’m alone. Like I’ve been disconnected.
Yet I also love this feeling.
There is a feeling of freedom that comes with leaving my phone behind. When I realize it’s just me and me alone moving through the day with nothing to hold on to. With no device listening to my conversations to better market to me, and no notifications of people trying to reach me.
I can actually just be. And while it’s a little scary to cut off connection to the world, it’s also okay. It’s okay because I remember what I’m here for. That my reason for living isn’t tied to my iPhone.
That Google can’t answer my prayers. That Twitter is honestly a little depressing. And Instagram is a facade.
That my life is more than a series of data. That I am more than my search history.
I am me and that alone is enough.
I am alive right here and right now. Not two minutes ago when I shared a post, or when I liked that tweet, but right now in this very moment. And since I’m here, I’m going to live in this moment without worrying about the post.
Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.