Challenging The Cult Of Now: Your Stories Don't Have An Expiration Date
Now, if you’ve been around here before, you’ll know that I have beef with a lot of things. Today’s beef? The cult of now.
Have you ever noticed when endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (we all do it, no shame please!) that in general, it feels like everyone has something exciting going on, or at least something of interest like every single day?
Now, I don’t know about you but I can’t claim to have exciting days every day.
I mean, I like to see the positive, I adore working on things that set my soul on fire, and I see at least five dogs I could kidnap every day, but it doesn’t fall under capital ‘e’ Exciting like the internet defines.
And an awful lot of my life doesn’t make it on to social media and lately I’ve been thinking about why and come up with a bunch of reasons:
1. First of all, I know how easy it is to get lost in the world of sharing things online to the point that you stop living your life
2. I have firm boundaries around what I’m happy to share and what I’m not happy to share (Mr. Meg secretly loves the air of mystery)
3. I’ve also been caught into the myth of only sharing when something exciting happens. And this is the one I want to talk about.
The last one doesn’t make me feel too good about myself. And if conversations I’ve been having and trends online are anything to go by, I’m not the only one.
It seems like everywhere we look, we’re obsessed with what I call The Cult Of Now: this idea that people are only interested in what’s happening right now, that past things aren’t half as important and that every second is a new opportunity to show people you are Living Your Best Life Ever.
It’s like if something happened yesterday it’s not longer relevant now unless you shared it at the time. By now, you should have moved onto the new thing.
But, what if you need time to process things, you want to enjoy the moment while it’s still the moment and you want to treasure and share those times later?
It’s like we’re all concerned that if we share things later, they’re no longer relevant, they’re hiding the fact that we’re not up to anything exciting right now, and we’re not relevant.
That sucks, doesn’t it?
While me and Mr. Meg were on our three-month trip around the US, I planned to really share my stories and experience via Instagram. As we all know though, planning is one thing, reality can be whole other ball game.
When I got there, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that things were going to be more...complicated than we planned. (Why we thought travelling from West to East coast via with no car and just relying on buses was ever a good idea!).
Rather than the images of wanderlust we’re surrounded by on Pinterest, we were circumnavigating a lot of unexpected things, emotions and scenarios. Instagram couldn’t have been the furthest thing in my mind.
But that didn’t mean that I didn’t have a whole bunch of interesting, embarrassing, downright bizarre stories to tell. It’s just that wasn’t the right time.
And now? With The Cult Of Now, it feels like I’ve gone past my window in which I could share them.
And that’s the thing. I know you have so many stories. For every single person on the planet, we could create an entire museum dedicated to each person.
And it's not just about sharing the Big Things we do, life is made up of a series of little things after all.
So I call bullshit on this cult.
If as a society we keep insisting on everything being about right now, we will lose so many stories, miss out on so much wisdom and newness will take priority over everything else.
Tech companies may hold newness and relevance as some of their highest values, but that doesn’t mean we have to as well. I would much rather take my values of courage, honesty, and creativity anyday.
Share your experiences, share your stories and share your ordinary every day moments. Remember, the things that set your soul on fire, the memories you hold dear and the things that mean something to you don’t have an expiration dates.
And please, don’t just share them under #ThrowbackThursday - you’re not a bloody retro nightclub for goodness sake.
Your stories don’t go stale. If anything, your perspectives and the wisdom you learn over the years makes them even more valuable.
So, here’s to sharing stories from the past which help build up the picture of who we are, sharing the more mundane things and starting to keep it more real.
Here’s to not holding up this illusion for each other that life is always wonderful and exciting.
And here’s to sharing for our own sake, and to having an authentic record of our own lives.
So what story can you share today? I’ll go first in the comments (it’s definitely a bizarre one!) and I’d love you to join me.