An unintentional plug for Instagram

Awake at 3 in the morning, I was rummaging for my computer charger. Despite all evidence advising against it, I continue to use computers and other artificially-lit technology well into the night, most likely disrupting my circadian rhythms and possibly ruining my eyes, but a girl’s gotta have her Netflix when the going gets tough and the tough get insomnia.

Regardless, I was poking around for the outlet, attempting to avoid some type of electric shock situation, when I had an unusual thought, a thought loud enough to grab my attention. I wonder what people from the future will re-create rooms like mine to look like when they are displayed in museums.

Excuse me?

Now, I’m all for the Stoic’s recommended meditations on death. While it’s not always a popular opinion, I share their sentiment that spending time each day thinking about your impending end as “you” can be a beautiful practice (one the Buddhists shared), reminding you that we are all faced with the same outcome no matter how it comes about. When done carefully, these meditations can encourage us to be kinder to one another, live each day with gratitude, and maybe drive less like a monster in rush-hour traffic. And, hopefully, someone may find themselves posthumously describing you by saying, “I saw her only yesterday. She was so kind to me.”

And, while this initial thought about how a bedroom like mine will be displayed in the Museum of Millenial Style in the 21st Century, my next thought came from the planning center of my brain. It said, “You should take a picture of your room and put it on Instagram so people from the future can get an accurate representation of your bedroom décor, and then museums of the future can be accurate in their representations.” Apparently, it wasn’t weird enough to be considering seriously the possibility that there will be a museum like this in the future. I want to be involved in the implementation process of the display, and I’m attempting to be useful in communicating that to future generations. Reality is stranger than fiction.

All absurdities and specificity aside, I came to a more general conclusion about the spirit of the thoughts. “If it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen?” is a common phrase among Millenials and other social media users alike- indicating that in some way, subconsciously or otherwise, we may be intentionally record-keeping our lives on platforms like Instagram because we are all aware of our impending death. I know some of you may be thinking, “Shawna, can’t you just like the photos of puppies and leave it at that?” I wish I could.

Social media has created a unique experience for its users and for humankind as a whole, and its effects we will never know in our lifetimes. However, we want to be sure that when people in the future speak of us, they can tell the stories that we want them to tell. I heard a friend once say that the photos, language, and content of our shares comes from the parts of us we wish were seen, not just the parts that are easily discerned in everyday situations. While we may poke fun at people who share artist-like pictures but are not “Artists” technically, platforms like Instagram allow us to share these aspects of ourselves that may have otherwise gone unseen in our lifetimes. And, deep down, perhaps we hope that after our inevitable death, we will leave others a small museum of our own that they can accurately reference when discussing the lives we lived on Earth.

That said, feel free to follow me on Instagram @shawnamarieyoga

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