When you get to the end of your life, you aren’t going to be scrolling back through your posts, reminiscing.
You aren’t going to think back to the years that made you who you were and feel thankful that you were able to document them so well on a coordinating grid.
You aren’t going to replay the most important moments of your life and remember yourself pausing to make sure that you shared that dinner, that date, that trip, that achievement.
It’s not that social media isn’t important — it is. It connects us, it mobilizes us, it educates us, and it brings us together.
But it also eclipses our vision in some ways.
Specifically this one: the purpose of your life is not to have a gorgeous Instagram account. I’m sorry, but it’s not. It could be a very fortune and enjoyable perk of living the life of your dreams, but it is not, in itself, the reason why you are alive.
Don’t believe me?
Imagine if you died tomorrow, and had a few last moments to reflect on your life.
You usually don’t recall the big moments, the graduations or wedding days. In fact, what comes to mind is the ordinary things, the day to day joys of being alive. Playing with your toys when you were a kid, moving through your routine in high school, the work you were passionate about in college, sharing nameless hours together with the person you love most.
None of this is to devalue your presence online. It’s important, it’s a business for some people, and it’s really validating for others.
This is only to help you relax a bit, to let go of feeling anxious that you weren’t quite able to portray yourself as well as others. Sometimes, we can confuse this for actually not living a good life.
I am sorry to tell you this but most people who are extremely successful are not posting about every nice dinner, trip or shopping outing. Jay Z is not telling you every time he acquires a new investment; your favorite authors aren’t showing you their royalty checks; the celebrities you think you know are probably going out of their way to avoid sharing anything too personal on their own feeds.
Instagram is not real life, it is just a series of updates about life, that are often turned into art and commodity.
This is not a bad thing, but rather, a reminder that you should not waste another moment of your life trying to make your greatest ambition how well you can appear to other people.
Nobody is looking, because they’re too busy evaluating their own images.
Live your life first, and capture it second.
When you get to the end of your life, you are not going to wish you had posted to Instagram more.
In fact, in 15 years, when we’re all onto the next platform, you’ll probably look back and laugh at all the staged photos and hashtags.
Enjoy it while it’s here, but enjoy what matters most, which is your life. That has an expiration date, too.