This weekend, Madelyn and I took a trip to Tirau with a special friend of ours. It was a lovely day, wandering through antique and artsy stores while Madelyn slept in the mei tai, pies and hot chips for lunch, Madelyn running freely down the street, and fun with finger puppets (three of which she got to take home).
And then, just as the day drew to a close, I actually said, “Oh, I should take some photos so I can write a blog post about it.” So I took quite a cute photo of Madelyn looking smug with her finger puppets, and then (I wish I could say I’m kidding, but this actually happened), I had my friend take photos out the car window while we drove away. What’s worse is that I was disappointed, thinking “Oh, I should have taken photos of her playing with the finger puppets…I should have gotten a photo of her sitting up at the booth at lunch…Her sleepy face peeping out from the mei tai would have been such a cute photo.”
It’s not that I was sad about not getting photos that shocks me, it’s that I wanted photos specifically to put on social media. I wanted to put a photo up on my new Instagram account, and then write a soppy blog post about special mornings that happen off the cuff, complete with photos of my adorable toddler.
Is this my life now? Only lived through the lens of a camera? Only experienced on social media?
Yes, I had a beautiful day. Our little random trip to Tirau can stand as a memory on it’s own, it doesn’t need to exist on the internet in order to matter. It doesn’t need the ‘likes’ and comments of other people for it to be validated. I could have set up the perfect pictures, I could have made it look amazing, and made every one else think I have the most incredible, not-quite-hipster life. But that wouldn’t have made my day any more amazing. In fact, I think it would have ruined it. Posing the perfect photo and choosing a filter for Instagram is not living.
I will put the photo of Madelyn walking with her finger puppets in hand on Instagram, because it’s a cute photo and it’s waiting to be uploaded (I haven’t connected my iPad to the internet at home, because I want to be present with my family at home). But I vow to never again nearly ruin a day with my obsession for capturing the moment to share on the internet. My life doesn’t need ‘likes’ in order for it to be validated.