Daddy and I were on the road to somewhere the other day.
We were listening to an oldies station when I made a remark about how, on the whole, today’s music doesn’t hold a candle to the songs on the radio when Daddy was younger.
I believe a day spent listening to Delilah on a recent trip to the beach led to his defense of modern music.
“It ain’t all bad,” Daddy said. “Every song wasn’t good back then, either. You’re just listening to the All Stars.”
I didn’t think about the exchange again until yesterday, and the thought had nothing to do with music.
Instead, I thought about social media.
I can speak only for myself so the rest of this may not apply to anybody else, but I have a love-hate relationship with social media.
It has its merits as a way to keep in touch with friends. It’s a good source for travel ideas. It’s a great way to talk to one another, and keep up with what’s going on in people’s lives.
It’s a great way to remember moments in my own life, but I’ve also let it change my life in less-desirable ways.
There have been times when I have scrolled through social media and compared myself to others.
I saw parts of their lives I wished were present in my own.
I began to think less of myself, sometimes, because my life wasn’t on the same path as others on my Facebook feed.
I started to scrutinize myself.
It got bad so I made it worse.
I started to post things simply because I thought they’d get a lot of likes.
I started to judge my thoughts on how much other people liked them.
I tried to take pictures of things I thought nobody else would photograph, and everybody else would consider cool.
When I was in pictures, I made attempts to hide the cane with which I walk.
There was a subconscious criteria which determined what I posted and what I scrapped.
Only the best would do.
People saw only the All Stars.
All of this sounds really ridiculous in hindsight.
It wasn’t me, and it didn’t help.
Somebody always had a wittier thought, took a cooler picture or went on a better trip.
When I started to let social media make me angry in the weeks prior to the last presidential election, I decided to do something about it.
I admitted to myself the way I felt wasn’t because of social media, but because of me.
It was my own fault.
I deleted Facebook from my phone and looked at it just once a day on my computer.
I stopped wishing I could go on trips and I went.
The first trip I took wasn’t anything spectacular.
It was a trip to Hank Williams’ grave after I covered a football game at Cramton Bowl.
It was something I wanted to see, and I saw it.
I took pictures and I posted them, but I didn’t do it for likes.
I posted them so I could easily find them later, and I still look at them from time to time.
I started to care less about how many likes I got, or how people perceived my opinions.
I stopped caring so much about what people thought of me, and I started to be myself more.
I still slip up sometimes and care more about what others think than I believe I should.
For example, I tried pretty hard to get a good picture of the Aug. 21 eclipse.
I knew people would post their own, and the more I tried to take a picture the worse mine were.
I was disappointed until I realized it would be dumb to miss the eclipse because I tried to take the perfect picture to post.
I put my phone down, put my glasses on and looked.
The eclipse was awesome, until I got rained on in my Mammaw’s driveway.
I don’t have a picture, but I won’t forget what I saw.
It’s burned into my mind’s eye.
Coincidentally, Facebook told me today marks 11 years since I joined.
I am ashamed it has taken 11 years for me to learn who I seem to be online is so much less important than who I am in life, but I am happy I’ve learned it.
These days, I don’t share as much on social media. What I do share isn’t for me, and I try not to judge myself by it.
When I die, it won’t matter how many likes or retweets my posts got. When I die, what others thought about me or the way they saw me won’t be what matters most to those I leave behind. The way I affected them will.
The same applies to you.
Your worth isn’t tied to your body type or your weight. Your worth isn’t tied to your friends or people’s opinions of you. It’s not tied to the clothes you wear, or the car you drive.
Your worth is not tied to how many likes you get or how many followers you have.
Don’t hide behind some all-star, online personality.
There is infinitely more value in who you really are than there is in who you pretend to be.