Not all fun is created equally. There, I said it.
Not all people treat the same things as fun. I, for one, absolutely adore spending time alone. I don’t just like it, I freaking straight-up love it. I love my alone time as the bees do flowers and a child in a puddle.
Visiting museums on my time, at my pace. Staring at a painting or an exhibit for as long as I damn well please. Sitting down whenever I want, grabbing a bite (because let’s be honest, I’m always hungry) whenever I want, wherever I want, being indecisive, being decisive, being cold, being hot, being alone. I love it.
This is not to say that I dislike people. On the contrary, I enjoy people’s company, I enjoy intellectual and goofy exchanges, I love sharing experiences and jokes with people, I enjoy tagging and being tagged in mindless memes and inside jokes. I enjoy people who love to laugh and are ambitious. I like being around people, and at least twice a week, I meet up with friends, grab a bite and relax.
However, increasingly I sense the pressure to form what I call Instagram Memories. We all know what they are – the robust stream of FRIENDS inspired camaraderie captured on the latest phone and put up for the rest of the world to see. Events enjoyed more virtually than in reality. Events we all have been to and photos we have all posed for. Recently, in fact, I was so distraught by this phenomenon that I called my mother and launched into a heartfelt monologue of the uncomfortable dissonance of being left out and wanting to be left out yet fearing that life was passing by me. In simple terms, I wanted to be alone, but feared that doing so, meant I wasn’t social enough. After a four-minute mark on my monologue, my mother SHUT.IT.DOWN. faster than I could comprehend (and I comprehend really fast, FYI). She laughed at me, told me to relax, and then asked,
“What do you really want to do Sanah? What makes you happy?”
“Uh. I just want to paint or write and then next week I want to go to the MET.”
I replied to her still unhappy because she stopped my rant, and uncertain because hey, she stopped my rant. I wasn’t done being whiny. She very sternly and politely told me to go do exactly what I wanted. And then she said something (I’ve paraphrased it) very nice which I think I’ll carry with me to my grave.
We all live and die. In that singular life we live, we have separate lives that we live and enjoy. In those lives, the moments that matter are the ones that make us feel content, competent, and like we belong. The lives and memories within them that will fill our life with meaning will come to us in subtle moments of peace and moments which cameras can never capture.
They are the moments that one feels with the heart and expresses with the eyes. Those are the moments and memories that keep us alive longer. Those moments in our lives will happen only when we begin to say no to the momentary, the fleeting, the artificial memories. Don’t fear missing out. Instead, capture life on your terms. Embrace life so fully that you begin to feel its joy radiate from your heart to your lips. Not the other way round.
And that was it. I gossiped with her, laughed a lot and finally hung up feeling like myself again realizing that we cannot live a life we do not feel. We can, of course, go through life without feeling much. But, we cannot live our lives on other people’s terms, even Instagram. Just something to think about and reflect on.
In virtual love and health,
Featured above – my selfie stick and me, feeling the misery of Miss Green in the lower left side.