I have spent a lot of time thinking about the role of social media in my life, specifically Instagram. My husband is sort of a social media hater. He has a Facebook but probably can’t tell you the last time he got on it. He doesn’t have an Instagram and he doesn’t understand the draw of social media. He’s very much an in-the-moment person, which I really admire and love about him. In the beginning of our marriage, that was a real sticky point in our marriage, though. As a single girl, I was all about the social media. I was concerned about it, I liked it, and I spent a lot of time on it, probably at unhealthy levels. As newlyweds, we worked through lots of things, and one of those things was the amount of time I spent on social media. It’s not that my husband put a ban on social media, it’s that we set boundaries. No social media when we’re heading to sleep, for example. Mainly, he wanted me to be with him when I was with him. When I wasn’t with him, I could do as I liked.
A realization of the difference this made in my life came about six months into our marriage when we went to our friend’s house to celebrate her birthday. She wasn’t married, and most of the people there weren’t either. When we arrived at her apartment, literally every single person was just sitting on their phones, scrolling through social media. Nobody was talking, they were all just scrolling. My husband and I felt super awkward. What was the point of hanging out if everyone was going to just look through social media on their own? When we left, we talked about how weird the whole thing had been. Rather than conversing with the people around them, everyone was concerned about what people on the internet were doing. What’s was the point of that? I told my husband I was super grateful he had helped me realize that being in the moment was much better than being sucked into social media.
I still struggle with the role of social media in my life because there are some aspects I love about it. I really do enjoy knowing what my friends who live hundreds of miles away are up to. But I have some really good friends who are pretty popular on Instagram, and I do occasionally look at their posts and wonder how they got thousands of likes. I rarely get over 100 (lol). Then I think to myself, “Why in the world do I care???” and I can’t ever give an adequate answer. So then I try and purge who I follow because I just want to follow the people I really care about. But then I want to remember brands I learn about, so I start following them, and I’m back to following way too many people who I don’t care about. It’s a vicious cycle I can’t figure out how to break without breaking completely from Instagram.
The problem I have with following so many people is that I get on Instagram for “a second” and soon enough I’ve wasted an hour scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Inevitably, when I yank myself from that tiny screen demon, I feel lethargic and like I have the lamest life in the world. I think that there is a lot of good that can come from Instagram, but for myself, it often seems like the cons are so much more prevalent. Instagram makes me feel like I want so many things that I can’t afford. It makes me feel like I should really start my own business. It makes me feel like I should really be doing more with my life than I am.
But here’s the problem: my life is GREAT. It is beautiful, and it is everything I ever wanted it to be. I tend to forget that when I open up Instagram. I don’t really know how to balance my desire to stay connected with my desire to love my life as it is right now. At this point in time, I don’t have a solution. But I’m going to focus on it this month and get back to you on how I am able to improve my relationship with Instagram.