Halloween 1992: Capturing The Moment

Me and my brother at the pumpkin patch, 1992

Me and my brother at the pumpkin patch, 1992

Lately, I’ve been feeling under stimulated by social media. Especially when I go on Instagram, I no longer feel the magic behind photo sharing. Everything has started to look the same, and I’m seeing how quickly trends evolve, reach their capacity, then burn out.

In the world of bloggers and “influencers,” this month everyone is at a pumpkin patch - or candidly posing with a pumpkin at the grocery store. Next month everyone will be wearing sweaters and holding a pumpkin spice latte under autumn leaves. Then of course, more holiday cheer photo-ops at the Christmas Tree lot. The captions are “feeling all sorts of fall vibes” or “give me all the cozy sweaters.”

For me, social media once felt fun and exciting. It was a place to share photos with friends and capture milestones like birthdays and important celebrations. There was this feeling of wanting to document memories, share a creative vision, and somehow, hopefully, inspire others. The camaraderie that we felt with our friends and peers was a unique and new experience - like social media was an exclusive invitation into always feeling connected to each other’s lives.

Now I am constantly torn between the concept of “sharing” and “oversharing.” But even more so, I am uncomfortable with the concept of only having certain experiences solely to share them on social media.

While I used to think that sharing real and true content was a moral obligation, I’ve been witness to how the integrity has shifted as social media has evolved to become a consumer platform. While I’ve gradually started to follow more bloggers, influencers, and brands, the lines of exclusivity have blurred. The space no longer feels intimate.

While I used to just post anything without thinking too much about it, now I’m almost overly conscious of how everything is going to look. My first thought is, ‘What are people going to think?’ And it’s like I’ve become part of this vicious cycle that goes against my own grain. I’ve been sucked into the fabrication behind social media, just like everyone else.

Since I can’t come from a place of judgement without being a total hypocrite, I’m doing my best to look at social media through a compassionate lens. I’m developing a new place of understanding within my own self. At the same time, there another type of camaraderie has developed that can potentially unify us again. Maybe we are all part of the problem - more or less.

It’s a conscious choice to share photos on social media. For me, that choice still comes with a moral obligation. Having a platform for expression creates an opportunity to share an authentic voice. So in my own life, I’m taking a step back to process my own truth before I share things.

As children, going to a pumpkin patch was about this genuine experience of just being kids. These were intimate moments captured on film for our private family photo albums. Since this culture of publicly sharing these milestones is still relatively new, we’re all navigating this space of social sharing to the best of our own abilities.

At the same time, what a cool thing it is to invite others to be a part of our lives. Once my reflections come full circle, I consider it a privilege to learn and grow collectively, share our joy, and experience the world together.

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(This post is part of the Things We Used To Do series where we can reflect on simpler times when we existed with less technology and more personal interaction.)

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