The importance of appreciating life’s simple pleasures in a highly connected world.
We live in a highly connected, highly competitive world where we’ve been granted access to the lives of others like never before. You only have to read Instagram’s user statistics to realise that our obsession with social media has reached an all-time high. As of October last year the photo sharing app recorded 400 million active monthly users, who share in excess of 80 million images and ‘like’ more than 3.5 billion photos every day.
In 2016 our icons are chosen based on their social media mettle rather than on their talent or achievements, and our personal interactions are gradually being conducted online and within apps rather than in person or via the telephone. In short, we are increasingly living our lives through a digital medium, benchmarking ourselves against our ever-increasing group of online ‘friends’ as well as the rich and famous, whose lives suddenly seem attainable as well as desirable. We pit our everyday against the highlights of our peers and celebrities, and resultantly end up feeling as though we’re not quite making the grade.
Deep down we all know that everyone puts their best foot forward on social media, sharing their best bits rather than the oft mundane reality of daily life, but we still cannot shirk the feelings of envy and anxiety when faced with other peoples’ apparently perfect lives.
So this year I’ve set myself a goal to make more time to enjoy life’s little pleasures, to engage with the present moment and appreciate the simple things that make our lives more fulfilling. Rather than endlessly trawling through Instagram feeds, yearning for the lives of others, I’m going to look at the world around me on the way to work, be mindful of the people I interact with, spend my lunch breaks reading the newspaper or an inspirational book, visit new places at the weekend, or cook a different meal in the evening.
I think what I’m trying to say is that the more time we spend on social media, engaging with other people’s lives, the less time we spend appreciating our own. We all live our lives in pursuit of happiness, laughter, relaxation and joy, the moments that punctuate the more mundane aspects of everyday life. But if you can find happiness in those seemingly mundane moments, the morning commute, reading the newspaper with a coffee, arranging flowers at home, listening to music with a glass of wine after a long day, then life immediately becomes a bit brighter. By appreciating the simple pleasures life has to offer as well as the more momentous ones we are able to live more fulfilling and enriched lives.