How My Instagram Addiction Taught Me to Enjoy Life More
By Thao Nguyen
A common complaint about millennials is that we don’t know how to live in the moment or appreciate things as they are happening. We are supposedly too busy Instagramming, Snapchatting, and Facebooking to enjoy life to its fullest. We are preoccupied with our screens and not authentically enjoying life. And sure, when I go to a concert, I spend more time than I’d like to admit recording the band instead of dancing along. When I join my friends for brunch, I do tend to delay the meal by five minutes while I get the perfect #foodstagram pic. But if anything, social media has given me a greater appreciation for the small things in life.
Longtime Polarity readers will remember that I have a slight Instagram problem. Back then, I saw it as an all around negative issue. There wasn’t really any benefit to my obsession with the photo-sharing app that I could see. And for the most part it’s true. It’s a pretty superficial way to live and stressful too. But one thing it has taught me is to enjoy things I probably would’ve overlooked otherwise.
For example, all my life I’ve walked by the honeysuckle bush in front of my house without even registering that it was there. But after my “do it for the ‘gram” phase, I started to notice how beautiful and delicate it is. I don’t take pictures of it all the time, but once I began doing so, I appreciated it’s beauty a lot more. Or take for example my room. I used to hate that my window was in the ceiling (it’s a converted sun room) and that the sunlight would stream into my room every morning. But now I love that my whole bed is lit for the golden hour, and that everything seems to have a magical glow as long as the sun is out. The same goes for a lot of my food. Before, I would just say grace and then begin shoveling food into my mouth without pausing to breathe. Now, I enjoy all of the little details that make up my meal. Not just aesthetically, but the taste too. When I started taking the time to really look at my food, the flavors started coming in stronger as well.
But it’s not just things like flowers and food that give me more joy now. Because of my Instagram obsession, I learned to slow down and observe the world around me and find the brilliance in all of the little things that happen to me everyday. It sounds cheesy. But it’s true. When I started documenting and captioning the moments of my life, I started to see what was important to me. Life didn’t seem as mundane once I started looking for the things that were “grammable.” Sure, when put like that it may sound a little vain and trivial. Nevertheless, it’s quite profound when you think about it. The happiest people are those who find joy in the things they have, and Instagram taught me to do that.