Over the course of my relatively short stint as a “lifestyle blogger”, one of the most frequented comments I receive – on literally almost a weekly basis – goes something along the lines of: “Your photos are amazing, your life is amazing, why are you SO amazing?!”
Okay, so I may or may not have exaggerated that last little tidbit, but the gist is pretty much still there. My life appears pretty fan-freaking-tastic on Instagram. Now today’s article is not meant to be some “heroic” or “brave” piece where I vulnerably admit to all of you that my Insta Life is an absolute sham and in reality I just sit at home surfing Netflix day in & day out – although this does happen more often than I care to admit, & might I add, is just the BEST. No, I am actually here to make the argument that you can in fact live or “portray” the most perfect, attainable life on Instagram while still remaining authentic. GASP!
I am about to go on a somewhat related rant here, which I promise does add to the overall argument I am attempting to make – it’s in regards to one of the words I just mentioned: “authentic”.
The hot topic these days, as I’m sure you’re more than well aware, seems to focus on Instagram and how it really isn’t a true reflection of reality. While I do on some level agree with this sentiment, I feel as though we’ve now become overly hypersensitive to this particular matter. I mean, it’s unapologetically shoved down our throats on almost a daily basis. To the point where my feed is littered with an endless stream of various Instafamous Celebs posting photos in declaration of their true “authentic selves”.
Consequently, it feels to me as though the words “authentic” or “real” have merely turned into more of a social media marketing tool than anything else. More than ever, I’m starting to see Insta Stars seemingly go out of their way to show us how “real” or “relatable” they are; however a good majority of the time. It absolutely, positively oozes of forced authenticity or more appropriately, in-authenticity.
This specific word has been so overly utilized, I would argue that it’s become somewhat of a trend and that being “authentic” has completely lost any & all meaning. At least to me.
I feel as though if people just lived their true life, while simultaneously documenting a derivative of “said life” on social media– the level of authenticity wouldn’t need to be stated, questioned, or pushed endlessly into everyone’s faces.
It will simply just be apparent.
Okay – over the silly “seriousness” and onto the good stuff: me.
I’m totally only moderately kidding.
Prior to my not so subtle, yet totally necessary tangent, I had oh so humbly expressed that my life does in fact seem to be pretty fun and exciting on social media. And while many people have mentioned that my lifestyle appears to be incredibly unattainable finance wise. This could not be farther from the truth!
Being cost effective just so happens to be my newfound jam. What if I told you that a good majority of the things that I do are essentially free or cost a minimal amount of money?
Over the last couple of years – which, not coincidentally – coincides with the beginning of a relationship with my current boyfriend. I’ve discovered a newfound urge to travel, discover new things, prioritize how and what I spend my money on and learn to explore my surroundings – trust me, I’m even rolling my eyes as I type this.
** Update: Andrei – my boyfriend – also managed to give quite the eye-roll upon reading this sentence.
But it really IS true!
In order to finance this new lifestyle I had adopted seemingly overnight, I instead began to focus my budget toward travel and adventure, rather than spending money on expensive clothes, or extravagant dinners at exclusive restaurants and clubs. I found it to be a much more rewarding purchase.
The fact that I began posting photos of “said travels/adventures” on Instagram is merely just a by-product. I go on a hike in a local park (which costs a grand total of zero dollars BTW), I take a pretty picture, I post it on social media & people automatically began to assume that I had this unattainable, incredibly adventurous life.
I mean this is not ground-breaking people, I just like to get out and enjoy nature/the city every once in a while.
We all have the potential to get caught up in the pursuit of attaining that ever so seamless social media life. However, in our quest to achieve the perfect “photo”, I think people can learn to explore, try new things, be adventurous and get outside of their comfort zone. I really feel as though social media can present an opportunity to be creative, instead of just merely being superficial.
Want to know the “secret sauce” to achieving that perfect “Insta-life”, whilst managing to have a pretty darn’ good time doing it?
Capitalize on your spare time, & be sure to make the most of your weekends!
Look into free festivals that may be happening in your area. Or great hiking spots that are within driving distance of your home. Outdoor rinks, beaches, hiking trails, farmer’s markets and anything of the sort offer up the perfect opportunity to explore your city. And, perhaps get a new perspective of the very place that you live!
Save your money.
Gone are the days where I’ll splurge an inordinate amount of money on clothing, handbags & restaurants – which, BTW, not that there’s anything wrong with that! I simply just don’t have the means to spend it on both travel/adventure & clothing… I choose travel!
Gift experiences to loved ones.
I am the biggest fangirl of gifting loved ones with experiences over material items for birthdays or holidays! Case in point; I once gifted my boyfriend with a one-hour flying lesson which was, surprisingly, exceptionally reasonable price-wise & likely cost less money than had I bought him something from a mall. An experience is something they’ll always remember. Whereas, a sweater will likely be tossed in the trash after a few years. #sorrynotsorry.
Well there you have it; my simple, totally not ground-breaking list on how to lead an “exciting” or more appropriately hashtag blessed life.
The negative stigma associated with the “realness factor” of Instagram may be strong, but what if we turned it around? What if we actually set out do those things that everyone else is doing on Instagram? Instead of being envious or bitter while doing the daily “scroll”, use Instagram as an inspiration to explore more and actually experience life.
I’m telling you that what I do on the weekends absolutely does not break the bank – in fact it’s 100% cheaper than how I used to spend my weekends out wining and dining. The fact that there’s a photo of it, is just a happy afterthought.
Enjoy your life, explore new things and snap the photo!