In the era of social media, Instagram filters, and face-tuning software, it’s hard not to feel a bit of FOMOOSYHLIITBW (Fear of Missing Out On Something You Had Little Interest In To Begin With). Your childhood best friend who works full-time as a social media influencer. Or that acquaintance from high school who is constantly baking delicious-looking things that supposedly have no carbs. Or the twelve-year-old who somehow has better skin, better hair, and a better wardrobe than you. (What happened to the middle school awkward phase, you guys?)
Then, some wise lifestyle blogger/fitness instructor (I’m guessing) coined the the adage:
Don’t Compare Your Life to Someone Else’s Highlight Reel.
Because behind the screens, that twelve-year-old failed her pre-algebra test. And those spectacular-looking Snickerdoodles have just as many carbs as normal Snickerdoodles. And your childhood best friend turned social media superstar? Well, she’s getting paid to vacation in Hawaii on a private jet. Because sometimes that happens. (But I bet her private jet ran out of sparkling water so she had to drink normal water. Suck it, Claire.*)
The point being that nobody’s life is perfect. Those polished Instagram photos and witty Twitter posts are a facade because everybody has shit going on behind the scenes. It’s a useful adage to remember.
Unfortunately for me, it’s also a difficult adage to remember. My brain is stellar at remembering every bad thing that has ever happened to me. (Possibly because of my clinically-diagnosed obsessiveness, possibly just because I’m just a raincloud.) But I could tell you the bad thing that happened at my third grade birthday party. Or the thing that went wrong during my senior prom. Or the reason I felt sad that one day in pre-school. It’s like my brain is pre-disposed to remember the negatives even amongst a plethora of positives.
So I decided to make my own highlight reel. I’ve seen these “One Second a Day” videos on January 1st for the past couple of years, but this year, I decided to commit. Now, I’ve failed plenty of daily projects in the past (ahem, every diary ever), but this time was different. (Mostly because I told my family and friends I was making this video, and I’m much more likely to follow through if there’s a chance of public failure.) And while I missed a few days thanks to illness or forgetfulness or my footage just being a dark screen, I am so thankful that I took a moment each day to record a video clip.
Because even on the worst days of 2018 (and there were more than a few), the sky was pretty. Or I saw ducklings. Or my dog sneezed. Now, I know my dog sneezing won’t solve the world’s problems or any of my problems, really. But it made me smile. And then it made me smile again every time I watched the clip. And in three years, I’m going to remember his cute little sneeze, not whatever random bad thing happened on February 7th.
So if your brain is like mine and you have a tendency to remember the bad in lieu of the good, I encourage you to make your own highlight reel for 2019. God knows there will be plenty of ups and downs, so take a moment to record the ups. (Not that I’m doing this again. That shit is exhausting.)
*Name changed for anonymity purposes. Not that “Claire” would ever see this. She unfollowed me once she hit fifty thousand Instagram followers. I’m not bitter.