I am not a particularly jealous person. But in recent months, feelings of envy well up in me regularly whenever I do one thing: browse the photo website of an old friend who lives, with her husband and daughter, across the country. Her husband is a fabulous photographer and cleverly captions the pictures of their adorable one-year old.Read the rest
The odd part is that I’m not actually jealous of my friend. I love my life and my own sweet family, and I don’t in fact want hers. So the inevitable envy I felt when viewing the photos was baffling.
Eventually I realized that the photo site itself was the issue rather than my friend’s life. Each posted album displays comical moments, smiley faces, sunny days. As I click through on my laptop, my table is messy and my two-year old cranky… And from thence springs the envy.
The photos we share online are usually of our best, happiest, and most attractive moments, though these may comprise less than ten percent of our lives. Digital cameras allow us to weed through hundreds of sub-par images, keeping only the best. Consequently the “posted lives” of others can generate dissatisfaction in us, when we compare them to the humdrum reality of our ordinary days.
The whole post rang true with me. I have not joined Facebook for some of the very reasons she brings up. The biggest temptation for me, and the statement that rung most true is where she says "We can become more interested in capturing the moments of our lives to share with others than in living out these moments well." I have caught myself doing this. While playing with kids, I start taking pictures to show the world what amazing nephews, & extended family I have, rather than being present and playing with them, savoring the moment. While out on a drive with my husband, I'll be more worried about getting pictures and scripting a post in my head to share our adventure than actually having the adventure and spending quality time with him.
We had a mini ice storm last weekend, and my immediate reaction was to grab my camera to show my friends & family in warmer climes. After I got outside & started snapping photo after photo, I began to really look around, rather than just framing the next shot. I stopped in wonder. I said to Josh, as he shoveled the driveway, "I can't capture this." I was in awe at the afternoon sun glinting off the ice-covered trees. The plants were all sparkling. And the sound! At any hint of wind, the ice-covered twigs swayed and crackled, some tinkling against each other. All of the trees seems to shimmer as if they were made of metal. My still pictures were not capturing this experience (but that doesn't mean I won't share them!). I would not have had the experience at all had I rushed into the warm house to upload the files from my camera to my web album.
Saturday, I babysat a couple of our nephews, and I had lots of fun planned! I made cookie dough ahead of time, and they helped roll it out, cut shapes, and decorate the cookies. It was a blast. And, I was present- I only snapped a couple pictures! Hands-on fun is the best kind, and it was a really good, memory-making experience for me (and hopefully for them, too!). If I had been more concerned with sharing the experience with you, my readers, rather than living it, I would have missed out, and so would they.
A recent breakroom conversation at work had us talking about our hobbies, and a few of the guys talked about the Wii, the computer, games, movies, sound systems, etc. One said "I'm going to have to start limiting my kids' computer time. It used to be cute... now we have to kick them outside." I piped in, as I had my knitting in hand- "That's why I have hobbies that don't involve a screen!" This is something I've learned since college- that getting away from a screen is healthy. Working with my hands is very rewarding. Yes, I love writing, and blogging is a hobby of mine that I hope lasts for a long while- but my offline life needs to take priority- I need to remember to live.
“Be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Galatians 5:15-16