Creation & Curation 2022
Happy New Year! And even more happily, it led us into a weekend, hopefully offering a gentle transition into the year before we all begin to head back to work.
I’ve been fairly stubborn most year’s about choosing how I want to slide from 12/31 to 1/1 in my own mind – mostly because I find it to be so stressful to see all the posts and emails about how to do it “right” which sends me into paroxysms of anxiety since that would imply there are ways to do it wrong. I know I’m not alone when I say that this has been a very emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually challenging year, despite all there was to be grateful for. And by the end, I found myself extremely burnt out…and finding it somewhat uncharacteristically difficult to see the good around me.
So I took some time away from emails and work to be in a quiet place with family to clear my head…as we all need to do from time to time.
New Year’s Eve morning, after walking along the beach when the sliver moon gradually moved over in the sky and made way for the sun to rise, I pulled out my phone and instinctively went to Instagram to do the newly common end-of-year practice of checking your “Top nine”. But again, that sense of competition with myself led me to an uneasy feeling, and instead, I began scrolling through my own feed, my own pictures, to look back at the year. What DID happen this year? What did I do? Where did I go? And…why can’t I remember all of the good moments as much as the struggles?
Yes, as the saying goes, everyone’s social media pages are their own highlights reel, and we should never compare ourselves thinking that those posts are the whole story of someone else’s life. But what struck me I scrolled through my pictures, was that looking through this page was a lesson in curating my own life, almost like a vision board but now in the past. I’ve said for many years that if I’m going to post, it’s going to be something positive, supporting and encouraging others, sharing how amazing my friends and loved ones are, or posting cute animal videos or humor, because I want to use social media for good, at the very least to brighten someone’s day. But I too fall prey to looking at other people’s posts and seeing where I am not, what I am not doing, and leading to a sense of lack.
Looking back at my own intentionally created page through 2021 with a sense of curiosity I realized this is another tool we all have at our disposal to empower ourselves to see the beauty in our own lives. Although I was having trouble remembering it by myself, I could see through those pictures and videos and shares and stories that although any given day I might have had a rough moment, or event, or I might have been feeling low or stressed or burnt out, there was proof that I was happy too, or that an adorable dog was snuggling by my side, or that I had love around me in the form of friends, family, and community. It didn’t matter about likes or comments or any metrics, it only mattered that I could put myself back into the experience of that day or that moment and remember how it had felt.
So this “curation” of our lives on social media…much like almost anything… it can be used for the powers of evil or the powers of good in our own heads and hearts. And you and I ARE the curators of our own lives. We are the writers of our own story, the screenwriters of our own movie. Which story do you choose? And which one do you want to share with others to continue to make their lives fuller, richer, better, brighter, and to let people know they aren’t alone?
While it definitely can be a source of stress or sadness or FOMO or many other challenging things, I’m now looking back at this year in pictures and being reminding of so much wonder and beauty and contentment and joy (and yes, the struggles as well) that it is a great reminder to me that we can choose what to focus on in any given moment. And we can choose to either see others’ joys as signs of what joy is possible, not what we don’t have.
Looking back on my page I saw moments or joy and love and, yes, vulnerability and sadness. Moments of triumph, moments of struggle. Moments that led to other moments, and that as I chose what to post each day, told and authentic story of a full life. It was essentially a journal of the life I wanted to create and the joy and connection I wanted to share with others. And all the many many MANY stressful, sad, annoyed, frustrated, self-flagellating, negative moments of those days didn’t feel relevant anymore because I was seeing and celebrating the good and focusing energy on THAT.
◉ Seeing that of all the posts of the year, the one that pops up with the most reach is the one where I got a room full of hundreds of people at Dragon Con to sing Happy Birthday to my nephew fills me with joy and pride, knowing that that love was shared over and over again.
◉ Seeing posts about friends and their brilliance and their triumphs and celebrating the love they give and the good they share in the world filled me with gratitude for the company I keep, and more importantly, that honors me by keeping me.
◉ Remembering the joyful creative projects that surfaced throughout the year – whether the big ones or the small ones – reminded me that despite the existential stress we all face these days, there was art being created that touched people, made them laugh, and helped them through tough times…
◉ And yes, seeing my own face in states of happiness reminded me that no matter what happens, that is a part of me. I’m sure at some point on those days, I had a “moment” if not many moments of not so great something. But the picture captured what I wanted to feel, create, and be.
So tonight, tomorrow, this year, this lifetime…you do you. Go ahead and curate your highlights reel, your vision board, or whatever you want to call it in your own mind and life to be able to focus YOURSELF and your positive vibes on what you DO want to create. Be authentically you even if it’s future you, the you you aspire to be. Share your best self with the world not because you are hiding the worst, but because you’re letting that part of you fade away because you stop giving it energy. (And needless to say – this ultimately has ZERO to do with social media. This is something you can do for yourself, anywhere, any time of day or night. Journals, sketchpads, personal albums…whatever you choose.
You are free to choose your own new year at ANY moment. And to either look through social media or magazines or just other people in general and see what you don’t have, or find andcreate a unique expression of yourself and what you DO have, what you ARE creating, where you DO want to focus your energy.
You do you, my friends. And I’m here cheering you – and me – on as the calendar flips over, and every day after that. Be free – today, tonight, tomorrow, and on and on. This is your story…always.