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Afternoon T

| Community | February 8, 2018

Q: How is it possible that everyone seems to be having more fun than me? I see all the social media posts of people I know (and a lot of people I don’t hardly know) and their lives look amazing!

A: You answered your own question. “…their lives LOOK amazing” and that’s the truth, it looks like that in moments. Moments. The pursuit of happEness shouldn’t be about how things appear, but as a society that seems to be where we’re continually headed. All outfits, food and activities are planned around what will be best absorbed by a camera lens and our followers. It doesn’t show any signs of slowing, either. There are more and more apps available to freshen and touch up your photos on the go, filters to fancify your face with lashes, blush and lipstick (and, strangely, animal ears or fantastical eyewear) and frames to use fancy fonts to announce your location or mood.

It’s exhausting to think so much effort goes into a snapshot of someone. Once upon a time, you’d have a rectangular little instamatic camera with 24 or 36 opportunities to capture an entire vacation and no idea how you’d end up looking until the film was developed and returned to you in a paper envelope. If you forgot you’d left the film in the camera (I know it wasn’t just me who did that), there were times – weeks, months or years went by before you’d get to re-live the moments caught in black & white or color (which was more expensive, BTW). Nowadays, you can snap, delete and re-snap to your heart’s discontent – until you get the expression and hair you really want the world to see. Heaven help you if you make the decision to put more bodies in a shot, because as soon as you hear the (fake) *click!* of the camera, everyone involved asks, “How do I look?” Screens are passed around, everyone hunches over and there’s always one or two that shout, “Oh! Take it again! I look terrible!” complaining about smiles or crooked collars or questioning if brows are “on fleek” or “en pointe” (or whatever wacky phrases).

Man. I’ve got important family photos from decades ago where aunt so-and-so and uncle what’s-his-face have their eyes closed, somebody’s kid is crying or looking the other way (like that other family was having waaaay more fun, and they probably were). Very rarely was the family photo album filled with images of perfection fit for toothpaste ads or holiday cards. But, you know what? There was a lot of happy going on. Maybe not in the moment the lens snapped shut, but in the moments before and often in the moments after. As a matter of fact, I can sit with a pot of tea and rifle through those images and there’s a whole lot of happy still going on. Focus on that and not the altered reality of the images on social media. Concentrate on happiness, not happEness. xo – t.

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