Why We All Deserve To Stop ‘Doing It For The Gram’


Nowadays, life moves so fast that we either don’t have the time or our attention span is too short to indulge in words. Instead, we find ourselves lost on the search page of Instagram or watching a compilation of ten-second Snapchat stories. We want to see the story, not read about it.

It seems like we’re all doing something for the ‘Gram.

I’m guilty, too.

I’d be lying if I said I never thought to myself, “This would make a great Instagram picture.”
There are plenty of opportunities to get pulled into this culture: Photo Challenges, Photo Booths, #OOTD, trying to one-up our frenemies, and the list goes on.

I have two Instagram accounts: one is private and limited to my family and friends, the other is public and linked to my blog. It’s necessary to be incredibly active on my public account so I try and post at least a little something every day. It’s not always easy.

At the beginning of December, I decided to participate in TWO Instagram photo challenges. It ensured that I would be posting two pictures every day and it was my opportunity to get creative with the images I was creating. Seems easy enough, right? WRONG.

I began feeling stressed out. My free moments were filled with wondering what I would post later that day. I tried to go straight home after work every day in order to take the perfect pictures and post them during prime Instagram time. If I didn’t go straight home after work, I found myself getting antsy…would I even be able to post a picture that day?!

During all this, I was also planning a Harry Potter themed Christmas party. Not only was I participating in two photo challenges, I chose to post pictures of the behind-the-scenes party prep for all my fellow bookworms and Harry Potter lovers.

The day before the party, I was so busy prepping that I completely missed my opportunity to post my two photo challenge pictures. When I realized this, the next day, I became anxious. I don’t like leaving something incomplete when I’ve set my mind to bring it full circle. How did I miss it?

I decided to shrug it off and focus on the party that was going down that night. It was like a Pinterest wonderland: handmade photo booth props, a DIY Sorting Hat, chocolate molded into Harry Potter shapes, a trivia game that I created myself. I couldn’t wait to set everything up and take pictures of all my completed projects in all their glory.

As it usually goes, setting up for the party ran long and the first guests arrived just as I was finishing up. The night was a success. I was surrounded by friends and family. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we yelled during the trivia competition. The party felt perfect.

Around two in the morning, I finished cleaning up when it occurred to me that I didn’t take ANY pictures of the décor, the food, much less my two photo challenge photos of the day. For a moment, I felt disappointed that I did all the work to only have missed the picture.

Just as quickly as the regret came to me, it faded away.

I didn’t miss it.

The party preparation wasn’t just for the ‘Gram, it was for the people I loved.

The pictures I was hoping for weren’t taken because I was too busy wrapped up in the moment, enjoying myself.

I also missed a few days of that challenge I was too dedicated to.


I was busy living my life instead of trying to document every moment of it.

The makeshift photo booth wasn’t used as much as I would have liked but it made me so happy that it was neglected in favor of human interaction.

Once I internalized how important it is to put down my phone, I was able to relax and smile.

From now on, living my life will be my primary focus and if I happen to get a good picture out if it, then great…maybe I’ll post it on the ‘Gram. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ida Jardines

I can tap dance. Want to see me tap dance?

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