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“Photographer holding a camera over her face for a photo” by Stacey Rozells on Unsplash

From Now On, I’m Documenting Everything

In today’s world, there’s a big emphasis on social media. Everyone is taking pictures of everything they’re eating, doing, seeing and it can seem like it’s all too much. There doesn’t seem to be a balance to it. Everything has to be online for others to see to keep up a facade, or at least that’s how I used to see it. In fact, for a long time, I used to look down on people who couldn’t let one good moment pass without taking out their phones. I would think that it was a shame they were living their lives through a camera rather than truly living. It made no sense to me. Sure, everyone else saw how much fun a person was having about what about the person themselves? They’re living through the lens with which they want everyone else to look through. I thought it was pretty sad.

Well, at least that’s how I thought up until recently. One day I was watching a Buzzfeed video, this video to be specific, in which a girl buys some diaries off of eBay. Throughout the course of the video, she reads them and discovers that the original writer was depressed. She would often write that she was having “a bad day” and the girl in the video kept reading with the hopes that the writer’s days would get better. Thankfully, the last diary entry did land on a good day.

It got me thinking about my own life and the ways I choose to document it. With my diary, I noticed I only ever write when I’m feeling upset or severely distraught. Rarely, if ever, do I write down if anything good has happened to me. And there are a lot of great things that have happened! On Facebook whenever I see those memories from years ago, I’ll remember that I let literal years pass without posting anything. The pictures of a younger me shock me and remind me of how terrible I am about documenting anything. I constantly forget to take pictures, write anything down, and sometimes I don’t even tell anyone about the great times I had. Happy times fade away with my memory which isn’t very good to begin with and that’s a shame.

Everything on the internet is forever and who doesn’t want to live forever? Millions of people have lived and died throughout the course of human history in complete obscurity. We don’t know what they felt, what they dreamed about, what they thought the future would be like or anything from their own mouths. But now we have the opportunity to be in control of how much of our lives we want people to see, what we want to remember and be remembered for. It’s great and for those people who want to document every part of their lives, I say thank you for the idea. I don’t know what’s going to become of me. I don’t know what I will accomplish in the future, but I do know that I matter and that I want to carve a piece of history just for me.

So how will I do it? I’m going to do it all. I’m gonna write it down. I’ll take more pictures. I’ll start a video diary. I’ll write more poetry. I’ll learn to scrapbook. I’m gonna make more memories to begin with. I don’t want my future kids, my future self, or some rando stranger to read through my diaries and feel pity for me. As hard as life can be for me right now, I’ve actually had a lot of wonderful times. I’ve gone out, had a lot of pleasant surprises, and made some really great memories I’d like to hold onto for as long as I can. Everyone I had judged before knew what they were doing and I’m just catching up.

Life lessons as they come and other things. Email me johanie.cools@gmail.com or tip me on Venmo @Jojo-MC

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