I have been in a funk the last couple of weeks, not feeling 100% myself. I kept blaming it on different things like being stressed, not feeling like I have accomplished enough before I turned another year older. Maybe it was that I’m just hormonal, that I need more sleep, or wanting to be more fit. Finally, maybe it was once I accomplished more from my to-do list that I would feel better.
But after really thinking about each of those reasons, I don’t feel like they are the real culprit. Those reasons might be playing a small part in my funk with the addition of anxiety, but I think the real issue is I’m trying to live in that highlighted world you see on social media.
Social media can be a great thing, as long as you don’t get sucked into the belief that what you see is really their real life all the time. I do believe that some of the Instagrammers I follow really do have their sh*t that together and have that flawlessly decorated clean house, two adorable kids who are always looking cute and smiling at all times and that dog who perfectly sits wherever they are told. I applauded them, envious that they are able to pull it all off and wish they could teach me their secret.
But the other 95% of the people I follow, like myself are guilty of only sharing the highlights, the good side, the kid who is smiling nicely and the part of the house that is cleaned on their social media. I understand why individuals wouldn’t want to post the dishes in the sink, mail and the empty Amazon box on the counter, the dog hair in the corner that the Roomba vacuum didn’t get or the room that you wish could be repainted in the background of their photos – because I don’t want too.
At some point, someone decided to only post the “good side” of their life on social media and a majority of the people followed. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy seeing all the great things going on in everyone’s life or the pictures that make it look like their home is from a staged Better Homes and Garden photo shoot. And like I mentioned, I am guilty of only posting a photo that may or may not have taken 10 tries to get by rearranging everyone 3 times, an outfit change and a trip to Target to get a new knick-knack for the bookshelf.
While I may be going overboard with that description, you get the point that sometimes it takes way too much effort to get that one post worthy picture. I recently realized that I have added a few major projects to my to-do list and these were all projects that I wanted to get done to try to help with that picture perfect photo/life. Like getting new kitchen counter-tops, painting the kitchen cupboards, painting the family room and restaining the wood floors. The counter-tops in the kitchen, while I may not like the color are still in great condition, painting the cupboards white could be a total disaster, having a nicely painted family room will maybe last for a week (it is where the kids play all the time and well they are kids), the wood floors are fine and we have 2 large dogs so what’s the point in redoing those.
I’m one who always talks about wanting to take on another house project, but then upon remembering how much work and mess they make, I’m usually over it for awhile. So I’m wondering why I can’t shake the feeling like I need to take on all of these projects, even though I know my house isn’t going to fall apart if I don’t and my time can be spent on other things- like planning a wedding and living life.
I think the reason is this blog, while I have enjoyed posting and will be thankful to have this online journal/time capsule for years to come. The one bad thing that has come along with the blog is now I’m not comparing my social media feed to my friends and family, but now to everyone else in this blogging world which has caused the highlight reel standards to be increased tremendously.
But like I have mentioned before this blog is for me, it is about my life, my struggles and my highlights – my story.
So now that I have come to terms with why I’m in a funk and accepted the fact that trying to keep up with the Joneses is adding to my anxiety – it’s time to make a change. Don’t get me wrong, I will always want a clean house, will try to get somewhat put together photos and I still really do want to redo our counter-tops, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen.
I’m going to keep taking pictures because it is something I enjoy and love looking back at, but I’m going to try hard to not pose everyone/thing before we take it or make us retake them twenty times (unless my eyes are closed in all of those pictures). I want the pictures to represent our real life, so I’m going to let them do that. I will take pictures of Camden cooking in the kitchen with the counter-tops I don’t like, Jared and Steve playing video games in a room that looks like it is lived in and not from a magazine, and of Leighton making crafts/a mess with her messy hair because she has been jumping around. I want to look back at pictures and these blog posts and remember the times we had, not how good the house looked.
But I will say this, I will still “accidentally” dress us alike, and try to make sure it’s my good side and when we are out and about I will try to get a picture with the best background. And if I see something cool I will make one of the kids pose in front of it or take a picture of me.
This new way of thinking isn’t just in regards to taking pictures, it is going to be an adjustment in every aspect of my life. Seeing the highlight reel on social media doesn’t stop with you wanting those perfect pictures, it goes deeper, it can make you want your life perfect at all times.
I need to start living in the moment, not trying to create the moment. The house is going to get messy- we live there, there is going to be cat/dog hair on the floors and couch – we have pets, my to-do list can wait- I don’t want to miss all the random moments.
I have debated just stopping social media and writing my blog, thinking that would help me get out of my funk. But it’s like seeing a horror movie. You know it’s not real life but for weeks after watching it you are always looking behind you to make sure you aren’t about to get attacked by a zombie. I have seen the perfect pictures, I know they exist. Stopping social media isn’t the right solution, I do enjoy staying connected with everyone in this virtual way. And if I stop writing the blog, then I wasn’t writing it for the reasons I thought I was, which is for this website to be a virtual time capsule. The only way I see to get out of this funk is to jump off the highlight reel and start being true to myself, being thankful for what I have, and not always trying to improve everything, but start showcasing what is really happening in my life.