It was Labor Day weekend, and I was consciously avoiding Facebook and Instagram. The year before I’d been bombarded with pictures of numerous acquaintances enjoying holiday weekend lakeside retreats that left me feeling friendless and inadequate. I was determined not to be subject to such jealousy again.
This past year, I’ve given up social media on all days but Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, I binge on my feed until I am overwhelmed with envy and hopelessness and am left wondering why I keep doing this to myself. Why not give it all up.
(Because my family is there. Because my memories are there. Because sometimes I find out about cool opportunities like this movement class I’m taking now. Because maybe it wouldn’t be so awful if I wasn’t such a self absorbed person. Because maybe I’m going to need to influence people again some day.)
The Labor Day weekend I withdrew myself from social media occurred before I’d developed my Tuesday rule, and it was a big accomplishment on my part to stay off of the platforms for a few days. I did it, waiting until all those happy boat pictures were buried down deep in my feed.
I was proud of myself, and then I went to pay someone for something on Venmo. Turns out, this platform has a feed it defaults to when you open the app, which shows you what things your contacts have been paying others for recently. Like freaking shared holiday weekend expenses. All that effort only to be foiled by Venmo!
Yesterday, which was a Monday, I needed to make a payment on Venmo. Of course, my eyes naturally scanned through the first few payments listed on the feed, and all of a sudden, I was swept up in the activities of people I barely know, some of whom I haven’t talked to in a couple years. They were paying each other back for food and drinks and outings to the movies (note: all of these were expressed as emojis and the amount of the actual payment was hidden). There were mysterious exchanges as well. For example, someone might comment the payment was for LOVE YOU (heart emoji).
I spent this past summer living in Paris and visiting all the collections in the Louvre. After I did this, it wasn’t apparent right away how this experience changed me. But one way I’ve noticed recently it did, and not to sound too snobby about this, was it made me realize how incredibly I could spend my time. I could give the minutes and hours of my life to learning about human history and witnessing the major achievements of artists throughout the centuries.
I’m no longer able to go to the Louvre every day, but I still want to dedicate 0% of my time to reading about the recent money exchanges of my Venmo contacts. Especially if they occur on holiday weekends. Especially if they’re going to make me jealous. Which they’re pretty much 100% guaranteed to do.