Keeping it to myself

Keeping it to myself

I just got out the house and am sitting at the perfect coffee shop, on the perfect day, writing. The coffee art is beautiful. The pile of books next to me — sublime.

My daughter is packing her bag for a long-awaited playdate with her bestie. The trinkets she has selected to take with her is fascinating.

The old tree outside my home office window is in full bloom. I’d forgotten just how beautiful she is. Wow!

Some uninvited bloodred poppies have made a home under the young thorn trees I planted in my back garden last year. Welcome home, beauties.

I’m sure you’ll agree that all these moments have the makings of exquisite Instagram content. Should I share them? Or should I keep them to myself?

I’m not immune to the irony of using social media to ponder not using social media, however I’ve been thinking a lot about our reasons for wanting to share our touching moments with people we know and complete strangers on social media.

  • The joy of sharing a beautiful moment with our community.
  • The yearning for others to feel the same emotions we do.
  • There’s also an element of showing off, of demonstrating that we have an eye for beauty, have achieved a goal, have ticked a box, lived a dream.

What happens when we decide not to share one of those moments, and rather keep them all to ourselves? This is what happens to me:

  1. It removes that quest for affirmation – whether we think we care or not, all of us are looking for validation (in the form of likes and comments) from our communities.
  2. When a beautiful un-Instagramed moment escapes being shared, it no longer needs validation, it becomes complete in itself.
  3. We don’t have photographs of memories of things cluttering our lives. And while you may think, it’s a shame, is it really? If in 40 years’ time I think back to my daughter packing her bag with the most outrageous collection of trinkets I will remember more fully, the bag, the conversation, the note, the excitement, the light. I hold onto a much fuller memory, rich with all the senses.
  4. Finally, there’s something precious about keeping things to ourselves. No one gets to peek into that moment and take from it. To judge it. You can decide to wrap this beautiful moment up in a memory. Just for you.

Five things I’m not sharing,

  1. My new trainers.
  2. The blonde sun-kissed streaks in my daughter’s hair.
  3. The nest a couple of robins made in the thorn tree.
  4. The little fluffy clouds drifting overhead as I lie on the trampoline with my daughter.
  5. The fresh roses on my writing desk.

That said, I am sharing my thoughts on all this in the hopes that you can take a step back from your social media anxiety and FOMO. You won’t miss out on anything if you stay contained, joyful and centred, without the need for external validation.

Found and Lost  will be on shelves soon. While it’s a work of fiction it will take you on an epic adventure of self-discovery, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

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