Why I Don't Do "My Year In Review" Posts for New Years
It seems like, without fail, the end of the year is always accompanied by an onslaught of posts on social media summarizing the last 365 days of everyone's lives. And with this New Years marking the end of a decade, the posts have extended beyond just the year to include the last 10 years as well.
This year I told myself that I wouldn't look through everyone's posts with their carefully-curated photos and memories of the past year. But as I sat on my coach, bored and looking for something mindless to fill my time, I found myself scrolling through countless "My Year in Review" posts. And the longer I scrolled, the worse I felt. Because while the goal of social media (in theory) is to connect people, often it does just the opposite.
As someone who has trouble with social comparison, scrolling through another's highlight reel of the past year doesn't make me feel closer to the person, it often makes me wonder why I didn't do as many "cool" and "meaningful" things with my year. And this makes total sense. It's easy to feel like your year was boring in comparison to someone else's when you have all the details of the ups and downs of your own but only see the biggest highlights of another's.
Life is so much more complex than social media allows it to appear. There are not enough characters in a tweet or room in the comments to fully explain what is going on in someone's life at any given moment, so instead of the whole truth, we get a fraction of it. Social media allows people to carefully curate what aspects of their lives are on display, and often this means hiding the uncomfortable moments, the failures, the sadness, or whatever it may be.
And "My Year in Review" posts are the biggest culprits of this reality.
So, I choose not to participate in this annual social media tradition. It's impossible to include everything important that happened in the year in a single post. I don't want people to get the wrong idea about my life -- it isn't all sunshine and rainbows with a disclaimer of "there were definitely challenges and struggles this year, but . . .". I try to be as authentic as possible in all areas of my life, but it can be hard with social media. As humans, we want to be liked and validated, so posting more than just your highlight reel can be scary.
Learning to validate my own experiences without the outside help of Likes and Retweets is an ongoing practice in my life. I've found that the more I can find the approval inside of myself, the happier I am. And resisting the urge to join the crowd and post highlights about my past year (or 10 for that matter), is one more way I can practice this self-validation.
And if someone in my life would like to hear about my past year, I'd be happy to tell them -- in person, over coffee or a meal, with a solid chunk of time dedicated to the conversation. Because if you really want to know about how I've been, the truth includes more than just the highlights. It includes the tough times and the average times as well.