My sister and I always joke about a girl I saw in the park years ago. She was wearing bright red Toms, rocking a ponytail like a boss and walking her golden retriever. I mentioned her at least 10 times to my sister, wondering if I, too, needed a dog and red Toms. You remember the girl with the ponytail in the park? I’d say as I began the debate. Of course, she told me, though she wasn’t actually there.
Eventually, I caved. I bought red Toms.
Last week, it happened again. I saw a couple walking their dog, with the golden sun dancing behind them as they laughed at something their pup did. Should we get a dog to walk on these glorious summer nights? I wondered as I drove home.
No, because I wouldn’t want to walk it in the winter, I thought. Also, I would have to clean up its poop.
It hit me then: these moments, these drive by doggings, are kind of like social media. They give you a glimpse into what it’s like to have a dog, but they don’t really show the whole picture. They don’t show you the hard parts or the depth of the good parts. They’re just glimpses.
I have a tendency to allow negativity into my life when I spend too much time on social media. It happened recently, over Memorial Day weekend. We had an amazing day with friends at the pool. We grilled, we drank wine, we swam, we relaxed. It was lovely! But as I laid in bed that night, looking at Instagram, I found myself wondering if we should have gone to the beach. Or a lake? Or Greece?
Without even noticing it, I let little glimpses into other people’s lives dictate my feelings. Just like the girl with the ponytail and red Toms.
After a moment of scrolling, I stopped myself. You had an awesome weekend! Don’t let anyone else dictate your joy. As I laid there, I reminded myself that our lives are so much more than the snapshots we show on social media. There are highs and lows that, appropriately, stay behind closed doors. But if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves chasing these snapshot moments, tortured by the girl with the red Toms.