The mundane

A co-worker shared an article on her Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, and I could really relate to it. It’s called Instagram’s Envy Effect. Here’s a snippet from the author:

My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone’s life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t.

She talks about how community doesn’t happen when we share edited photos, but when we share our real lives — the unedited version. She also says we typically check social media when we’re bored or lonely — the worst time to see someone’s vacation pictures at the Eiffel Tower.

I know some people are quite transparent on the web — whether through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Instagram, live journals, etc. — but for the most part, I notice that people put positive things from their lives on the web. You might share a sad news story or something, but when it comes to posting pictures of yourself, you’re probably not sharing a picture of yourself home alone on a Friday night with a Cheerwine in one hand, a Redbox in the other and tears running down your face because you’re lonely. And you’re far more likely to post that you had a blast at some concert than the fact that your team lost the 8th basketball game in a row.

Again, there are exceptions, but that’s my experience as a daily Facebook user.

I read a similar article last summer called Facebook Lies: No One is Really Having That Much Fun. Here’s one magazine editor’s response to the article:

Facebook fosters the worst type of coveting–craving our neighbors’ (or friends’) lives. We see pictures full of smiling faces and amazing experiences and we assume that our friends spend every minute of every day in that snapshot of bliss. Meanwhile, we struggle with broken relationships, insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. But no one posts about that kind of thing on Facebook. So we think we’re the only ones experiencing those things. Everyone else has a picture perfect life, at least on Facebook.

I’m guilty of the same thing. I see people on a boat in Florida with sunglasses and new tans and think, “Man, I wish I was having that much fun.” Or I see a friend who just ran a marathon and wish I looked like her. Or I see smiling couples and think about the argument Pete and I just had instead of the many other days we are happy and don’t have arguments. And what do I do? I post the same kind of pictures. Because who wants to see all the mundane things I do? And who wants to hear about my crummy weekend? Plus, I’m generally an optimistic person and I sometimes get annoyed with posts on Facebook that are always negative, always complaining, always pessimistic.

Like the first article says, social media can be great for sharing parts of our lives, staying in touch with people, getting a friend’s recipe or rallying together for a cause. And remember, I found the article I’m talking about on Facebook! But it also causes us to compare ourselves to our friends: She has a nicer house. He makes more money. So-and-so has everything together.

After reading the Instagram article, I decided to do a little project. Over the course of two days, I took pictures of all the mundane things I did — things that would never make it onto Facebook. And I compared them to more glamorous pictures portraying the same, or opposite, things. Here you go:

I came home to dirty dishes and washed more dishes not pictured.

I came home to dirty dishes and washed more dishes not pictured.

I sat in traffic on my way to work. As opposed to whizzing by on the open road.

I sat in traffic on my way to work. As opposed to whizzing by on the open road.

I worked. ... This lady didn't.

I worked. … This lady didn’t.

It was gloomy and I was in a bad mood.

It was gloomy and I was in a bad mood.

I got pollen all over my car.

I got pollen all over my car.

I had lunch with some ladies from work. ... OK, this part was fun.

I had lunch with some ladies from work. … OK, this part was fun.

It rained. I had to take this myself because Pete wasn't home yet.

It rained. I had to take this myself because Pete wasn’t home yet.

I got gas. Unlike actress and model Audrina Patridge, I wasn't greeted by a fan.

I got gas. Unlike actress and model Audrina Patridge, I wasn’t greeted by a fan.

I bought groceries. But didn't eat my fancy dinner outside with perfect hair.

I bought groceries. But didn’t eat my fancy dinner outside with perfect hair.

I passed a cool tree on my way home. I did not, however, pass this sunlit haven by a bench.

I passed a cool tree on my way home. I did not, however, pass this sunlit haven by a bench.

I got behind this truck, instead of Ryan Gosling rolling down his pant legs.

I got behind this truck, instead of Ryan Gosling rolling down his pant legs.

I fed the dogs. Outside, not out of a dish with their names on it.

I fed the dogs. Outside, not out of a dish with their names on it.

I vacuumed. I did not wear a dress, apron and black pumps.

I vacuumed. I did not wear a dress, apron and black pumps.

And I rested on the deck. I did not rest on the hammock.

I rested on the deck. I did not rest on the hammock.

And I walked the dog.

And I walked the dog.

After taking all the pictures, I have to say that while I don’t find my life particularly glamorous, overall, I am pretty darn happy with it. On my Facebook page I have a quote that says, “Just remember that at any given moment, someone would love to be in your shoes.” While I might wish for sunshine instead of rain, or envy someone who’s traveling the world, there are plenty of people who would love to have legs to walk a dog, or who wish they had a job, or who don’t have money for a pollen-covered car. Or worse, who don’t have friends to share lunch with. I’m pretty fortunate.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The mundane

  1. I get caught in a cycle of thinking everybody’s lives are better than mine when I spend too much time on Facebook. It’s such an easy trap to fall into! But someone said to me recently that it’s a waste of my time to compare myself to others. The best thing I can strive for is to be better than the person I was yesterday. So that helps!

    Loved your pictures Tiffany! What a novel idea. I enjoyed the read. : )

    Like

  2. Wait! Is Ryan Gosling still there?? Wait on me!! 🙂 Hey, when you get our age you post about grandchildren, cute dogs, gripe about government, taxes and gas prices, and lots of religious posts because by this age you realize how much you need prayer and God. 🙂 Oh, I feel the very same way about the beach! When I am there, I feel so happy – I love the salt air, the sand under my feet and the warm breeze blowing through my hair and the sun on my face. I love to watch the waves and hear them and find lots of sea shells. Well, I am so thankful you are my daughter – I am the luckiest mom in the world to have you, Seth and Emily. And Pete is like a son to us. I love your unique humor and facebook comparisons – that was cool! I hope you know I will always be your biggest fan! Love you, Mom

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s