On Monday I posted a photo that I actually took last year. In hindsight it made me think about all those Instagram and Facebook posts that might make people jealous. The ones where everybody seems to visit far more distant countries, get the more expensive cars or in total seem to live a better life. Monday I closed my software shop for an afternoon to go surfing. Lucky me.
Sometimes we forget that these photos are only a snapshot of our lives. One does not see the struggle it might have taken to create them, one does not see what’s behind the camera and more importantly what happened in all the snapshots before that one – or the ones after. All these photos are just a moment in time, mostly without any broader context.
I decided to take a break from work. In all my "snapshots" before, I was frustrated. I did not find a proper solution for the work problems that I was facing. It got worse when I started to procrastinate. I felt of the trail and ended looking for the size of the waves. Not that they where any good that day, but it was more promising then all previous weeks. To make things worse, the weekend will be flat again and that shifted my priorities more. I made a decision. Stop being frustrated, stop being blocked by the pressure I put on myself and to allow myself some room to breath.
The photo seems to tell the story that I am a lucky one that can stop working any time, not caring about anything, and do the things I like. What one does not see on the snapshot of my life is that I did have to continue to look into the problems later that day – when everyone else enjoys their time off. Work has to be finished, no matter what kind of break we take.
Did I feel bad about leaving my work undone? Definitely not while I was in the ocean, but later that evening when I was working late I had to remember myself that I did not magically gain some free surf time. I just moved my schedule around to make it more pleasant. In the end I finished my work and I was able to do something I like. Something I otherwise put off because I have to work.
It's all about arranging ourselves to make the best out of the time we have.
While sitting in the bus back from the coast I saw people scrolling through their Instagram timelines. Looking at the pictures, maybe not at all thinking about the moment before of after that particular photo. I wonder what the broader context to some of those photos is…