….but we are all fabulous.

Social media: description vs. reality

It’s a funny old thing social media. All those posts about what people are up can make you feel as though you are somehow failing at life, that your life isn’t as together as other people’s. That everyone is out there cooking delicious meals from scratch, exercising regularly, living serene lives punctuated by sunshine and Hallmark moments. Now of course, we are selective what we post, leaving out the details of dishes that haven’t been washed and focusing on the gorgeous homemade brunch instead, for example.


“Delicious homemade oat pancakes, topped with greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and cinnamon and eaten in the sunshine earlier today.”

However, even when you factor that in, there is something about a description of life which, because it is stripped of the thoughts, concerns, pressures and gaps between activities that the person is experiencing, is to life what a showhome is to a home, or a supermodel is to a woman.

I was feeling this the other day – a sense that life was passing me by and that everyone else was up to exciting things or at least living ordered lives that were moving in the right direction – when it suddenly occurred to me to try the thought experiment of narrating my day to myself to see how it might sound.

Take yesterday for example: I started the day with some meditation, then we went out for a walk with friends, had a lovely lunch out with them and then did a spot of shopping before heading home and watching Fantastic Beasts in the evening.

Sounds idyllic and indeed in many ways it was, however that description leaves out the every day high definition stuff – the fact we had run out of milk for breakfast, that I was meditating because I have been meaning to for ages and ran out of excuses and it took me ages to settle into it, that we faffed around and left the house a few minutes late so were late arriving, that I left my sunglasses at home so squinted all day, that I hobbled round the walk thanks to an Achilles injury from attempting netball a few weeks ago afetr a 35 year break, that I am worrying about a couple of work issues, and those million and one other details which make up a day. Adding those details in changes the focus a bit, making the day more normal and less aspirational.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do know how fortunate I am, even when you add in those extra details, but the fact is that social media posts are like magazine pictures: heavily airbrushed, and while they are not quite fiction, they are not quite reality either.




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This entry was posted on April 9, 2017 by in Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .
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