I read an article awhile back about how Social Media is linked to depression. The correlation is there, people who use social media more are more likely to be depressed. The theory the article offered was that when we see all the good things happening to other people we are more down about what we don't have in our own lives (Jane is jetting off to europe! Susan had a baby! etc). I initially dismissed this idea and assumed that it really was that people who are more depressed are more likely to wile away hours on useless social media. Then within a week of reading this article, a friend whose blog I read posted a post pretty much saying this exact thing, that she felt down because she was comparing her experiences to those around her on facebook and blogs and other people had more the experience she expected about certain things. So it all got me thinking about expectations and I have had the topic simmering in the back of my mind for the last month or so.
Let me say - I am not depressed. I am not remotely depressed. My life is incredibly easy and joy filled right now. But I can see how social media can change expectations in a negative way. For me, the biggest perpetrator currently is Pinterest. I love Pinterest and I hate it. Pinterest shows us what we don't have (cool houses, great trips, etc). It also shows us all the things we could potentially be doing that we are not (recipes, workouts, craft projects). To some degree seeing these things is inspiring (... I am going to try that recipe! redecorate like that! etc), but to a large degree its just setting up this expectation in your head that everything needs to be special.... that a birthday party with cake, icecream, and a few screaming/playing kids is not enough - it needs to have a themed cake and handmade decorations and themed favors. A cake can't just be a cake, it needs to be a double layered lemon raspberry with almond filling and a cute puppy dog design that utilizes candies in a creative way. A nursery can't be a nursery. I can't just take pictures of my baby, I should learn how to use an SLR and find interesting and unique artsy poses, then edit the pictures to perfection and frame it and hang it up as art. I am not living up to my potential as a mother if I don't preserve the precious memories of DS with various scrapbooking, fingerprinting, and bronzing crafts. I am a bad wife if I don't cook gourmet meals and organize the house in amazing creative ways. I am a bad person if I do not fill my waking hours with sewing projects, redecorating projects, exercises etc to seize every moment. This is what Pinterest does to expectations.
I am not entirely sure where I am going with this.... I have no plans to stopping my use of pinterest. I am just trying to say that being in constant contact with all the possibilities that Pinterest offers sets up a false idea about how life needs to be to be happy. I guess I just want to state for the record that you don't have to try to make every little thing in life special. Things that are special in life will be so whether you do anything or not. Also, that we can't live our lives in expectation alone, we have to have open minds and accept what life actually is as it comes to us and who we are. That is all. Parts of this lesson are directed at me, other parts are intended more for society in general.
By the way, Benjamin is 2 months old today. I will post more on that tomorrow after his 2 month check-up.