Postcard envy (n.): the desire of another person’s adventures, travels, or experiences.
In a society filled to the brim with flaunting and over-sharing, it’s easy to get caught up in comparisons. Modern day postcards – aka Instagram photos – of travel itineraries, exotic beach sunsets, or even music festivals are sure to cause at least a minor case of FOMO.
But constantly seeing the things other people are doing causes us to lose sight of the things we’re doing and why we’re doing them. A few double-taps on a “friend’s” recent romp to Cape Cod for the 4th had me questioning everything present in my life:
“Why did I move so far away?”
“Why did I sacrifice my friends and family to come here?”
“Is this really the right path for me?”
While I am all for a little self-reflection, I don’t think the source of these questions was leading me to anything productive. When I took a step back, I had no idea how I went from wondering which apartment the annoying couple was going to choose on House Hunters, to analyzing every choice I’ve made over the past year – I couldn’t believe it. Over a few Instagram photos from someone I hardly even speak to anymore – where is the sense in that?
Although this isn’t something that happens to me often, I still couldn’t believe that I was affected not only that much, but that quickly by someone else’s life. If it happened to me that drastically once, imagine how much it was affecting me on an every day basis without even knowing it.
Postcard envy is a prime example of the toxic powers of social media. It’s so important to stay present in our own lives and not let another person’s situation cause us to negatively reevaluate the choices we’ve made. By staying present and conscious in our own journey, we’ll know not to let fleeting experiences of others alter the path we’ve chosen for ourselves.
Put The Phone Down
Sometimes you just gotta do it. Put it down, go for a walk, and separate yourself from endless selfies or what your old next-door neighbor is having for dinner. We’re all guilty of getting too caught up in social media. But it’s necessary in times like these to forget about where everyone else is and most importantly, remember where we are in the current moment.
Be Happy For Others
When you do finally decide to pick up the phone again, do so with an open mind. Chances are, the people you’re connected with on social media post their photos or updates because these are things they are excited about or proud of. They probably saved for a very long time for that vacation, or worked overtime so they could go to Coachella and vomit on their shoes – be happy for them. If you can’t, then maybe this isn’t someone you should be connected with in the first place. Get rid of that negative energy. Eventually, you’ll slap a Valencia filter over your own celebratory cocktail or well-earned vacation photo, but you have to keep your eye on the prize without allowing jealousy to take the reigns.
Have Faith In The Path You’re On
There’s a reason why you are where you are. And it probably took a lot of hard work and dedication to get there… or if you’re me, trial and error. You could also still have a long way to go to reach that goal or milestone. Don’t give it all up for a fleeting desire. I hate to resort to a cliché fortune cookie quote, but hey – it works:
“Don’t lose sight of what you want most for what you want right now.”
The Grass Is Always Greener
It’s a no-brainer that every single person is different. We’re raised differently, brought up with different values, and have our own strengths and struggles. Just remember that someone on the other end could be looking in on your life with envy. Yes it’s true, that photo of a donut you just posted could very well sabotage a juice cleanse. Don’t lose sight of where you are or where you’re going because of the constant chatter of everyone else. Stay focused, stay positive, and stay you.