Revelation: Life isn’t as awesome as it looks on Facebook or in photographs.
For those of you who read my blog, this post will seem a bit off piste. Instead of seeing another post about our Spain trip (which is in the making), you’re seeing a post devoid of photographs and travel.
Time for some honesty. There are ups and downs being an expat. Life in the UK is good. We have a good home, job and life in London. I personally have moved a lot in the course of being a Missionary Kid and a Pastor’s Kid. Canada, Australia, San Francisco, San Diego and now London. Before we moved to London, San Diego was my home for 10 years. Prior to that, I was used to having to leave behind friends and family. In a lot of cases, it was easier to just cut ties rather than trying to keep in touch with everyone. A majority of my friends are from San Diego and it’s where we go “home” to when we go back to visit. I’ve been sharing with a couple friends back in the US about how I realise that Facebook and this blog make it seem like life is awesome and some huge adventure, but people fail to realise that there are very real day-to-day, week-to-week stresses on my life. As a result, perhaps being don’t check up on me as much as I’d hope. On the flip side, I see everyone else’s lives forging ahead, with me not being a part of it, and I don’t then check up on others as much as I should.
This article from Relevant Magazine was a very timely read. It is titled “Stop Instagramming your Perfect Life“. In a nutshell, life looks better online than it does in real life. We take photos of things we want to share. Most people don’t post the day-to-day drudgery, because let’s face it, no-one would really consistently be interested day after day. I realised that while social media is great for keeping up with what is going on with other people it can, in actuality, create more distance because we’re not taking the time to find out what’s really going on at a personal level. I think it’s also so easy to compare our lives to others’ and thinking that everyone else is better off and happier than us. It then makes it so much harder to truly be content with our lives because it seems like someone else has it so much better.
When I posted the article to Facebook, a couple of my friends had some great insight:
“Maybe it’s a GOOD thing our life isn’t accurately portrayed in Facebook because then, there would never be any need to really check in with each other. I guess in the end we really have to remember our life can’t be summed up on Facebook, and we gotta check in with our friends if we want to know what’s really going on with them.”
“But regardless, once you understand this perspective of the article, it goes a long way and changes entirely how you view social media.”
For me, the big takeaway from that article was that I needed to view social media differently and realise that if I truly want to connect with my friends, effort must be made to do it in a more personal way. Obviously, the time difference and distance compound the matter…and only exacerbates the disconnection I feel from being an expat. But these realisations help from feeling like a total foreigner to life back home.