If you look at the picture below, you'd think "aww...such a happy couple and they're going out on a date." What you don't realize is that this date was planned at least a month in advance because let's face it, babysitter fees are not cheap.
I follow quite a few pages on social media. Specifically, Instagram and Facebook. Over the last few months, I have found myself comparing what I see to my real life. Humans are very visual by nature. When it comes to believing something, people would rather see than hear about it.
Social media has grown tremendously in the last few years and a lot of people (myself included) have taken advantage of it in helping to reach more people. I have used it as a way to connect with other like minded people and also as a way to document life in general.
However, in the last few months, I have caught myself comparing different aspects of my life to what I have seen on Social media. Some of the sites I follow have featured elaborate weddings that have me wondering just how these people are able to afford such a big wedding when J and I had to budget and save up for 16-months to have a debt free wedding.
I have also seen young people post pictures of their very nice expensive cars. I don't drive a hooptie. Not by a long shot but seeing young people drive expensive often foreign cars makes me wonder just how they were able to afford so much at a young age while I am still trying to live debt free.
Let's not forget the lavish and frequent travels and the awesome and endless posts about just how in love their are with their lives, husband/significant other. Those posts make me wonder "geez, J and I often have one good argument at least once a week so perhaps we're not all that in love?" or "wow...3rd vacation this year huh? Would love to..."
A while back when I was in college and during my first year of graduate school, I racked up a TON of credit card debt. As in to the tune of almost $10,000. Mind you, my parents paid for college and I had both a scholarship and assistantship to fund 75% of my graduate education so there was absolutely NO NEED to have that much in credit card debt outside of using the cards to purchase things I had no business buying on credit.
It took me moving back home with my parents to save on rent (thanks mom and dad!), paying $500 a month towards my debt, bagging my lunch EVERYDAY. Using a "need it versus want it" approach for all purchases to pay off the debt in about 3-years.
After that ordeal, I promised myself I would NEVER again live on credit. If I can't purchase it on with my own cash in the bank, then I certainly don't need it. Thankfully, it has been 16-years and I have been able to stick to that promise. This also means that J and I have to spend wisely and budget for everything. Our yearly vacations are planned well in advance, we are always looking for groupon deals for online purchases and/or using eBates. I do a lot of comparison online shopping as well.
Don't get me wrong. I hold nothing against someone who has and uses a credit card wisely. I give people the side eye though when they use their credit card to "keep up with the Jones"
The truth is we all put our best foot forward when interacting with our peers. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll quickly learn that not all that glitters is gold.
I am writing this post not to point fingers at others but as a reminder to myself and certainly to others that you shouldn't let social media influence you to the extent that you can't distinguish between reality and perception. We may think we know what's going on with others but the truth is, the only reality we can absolutely 100% know about is the one we are living.
I am learning each day to work on ME and not focus on what others are doing. My life isn't all peaches but it is my life and I am thankful to God for it everyday.
I'd love to hear from you. What are some of the things you've seen on social media that's made you question your own life? Was it a positive or negative influence?