The Issue with 'Living Your Best Life' Every Summer
Summer is a time to unwind, enjoy oneself, live life carefree. In our day and age, it is also a time to thoroughly document just how unbothered you are on social media. Our feeds are never as bombarded with people living their very best lives as they are during the summer. And, while many photos are fabulous getaways to somewhere exotic and downright jealousy inducing, envy isn’t our biggest problem.
2019 has been branded the ‘Hot Girl Summer’ - you’re either having one or wishing you were, and although that specific term wasn't branded in such a way until recently, the idea of living your best life especially during the summer months has been a driving force for ages. Getting bikini ready, buying new bikinis, keeping up with the drink of the summer, the animal shaped float of the summer, the destination of the season - living your best life takes a lot more planning than those Instagram posts would ever let on.
The pressure to live your best life every summer is noticeable, even when people don’t want to admit it. Even those of my friends who are barely ever active on social media - I am talking maybe one post a year, if it’s a good year - are snapping away on their story, framing their pretty drinks in the right lighting with the perfect amount of lush vacation-vibes background. Everyone is so busy showing how great their lives are that, at times, living it is almost secondary. Arguably that might always be the case with social media, but summer is a specific kind of epidemic.
More than just having to, or wanting to, keep up with everyone else’s best summer ever, you are competing with your own. Every year we have is different and people are in different stages of their lives every year. Expecting everything to be magically better just because it is summer isn’t just unrealistic, it’s counterproductive. At the end of a sun tanned, cocktail filled day, your problems are still there, no matter how many times that day you and your friends cheersed to ‘best summer ever’. And when the booze is wearing off and the Aloe Vera is sinking in, the exhaustion hits. Sun tires us out, that’s just the way it is. And so do unrealistic expectations.
There is nothing wrong with a summer not being memorable forever, with not every day being the best one yet. Sometimes life sucks, no matter how scorching the temperatures may be. But it’s a truth that people love to ignore because there is something so enticing and seductive about the hottest season. Everything seems possible and the thought of the days ever turning colder and reality setting back in...that's not a thought anyone wants to face.
So, maybe instead of making it the best or most exciting summer ever - and more enviable than the ones that all your social media followers are having of course - make it the season of disconnecting. Cap the time you spend scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter every day and use it to do something just for yourself. Learn a new skill, take a nap, try out a new recipe, give a friend a call or put on a face mask - use the social media detox, and the extra time it gives you, to improve your life in general, not just on your feed. Let’s feed our souls, not just our social media accounts.
The issue with living your best life every summer is that the pressure we put on ourselves takes away from us actually doing so. Not to mention, keeping up with the trends - which would certainly help make it appear on Social Media as if we are living our best lives - can be very expensive. Moreover, not everyone’s definition of the best summer or best life is the same and although living your best life is all about your best life, it often ends up being a generic version regardless. It’s as if there are only so many templates available and in order to spend the season in the best way, you need to choose one. But you know what? Some people thrive in the winter instead.