We just had a long holiday weekend, and my social media has been flooded with photos of people having more fun than me. Everyone from Taylor Swift–I don’t think you should be able to have Tom Hiddleston and a waterslide–to buddies from high school were posting photos of beaches and cottages and firework displays.
Oh don’t get me wrong: I’m guilty of virtual bragging too. My Instagram feed features plenty of fireworks and beaches. What my social media feed does not show is that at the DIY fireworks display, a lit bucket of fireworks tipped over and started to fire towards children who scattered in fear. Nor do my beach photos show that I’m not frolicking in Ibiza or on the Cape, but rather in a lakeside town best known for its gathering of bikers every Friday 13th and the sale of grey market cigarettes.
I’m sure other people’s photos are similarly edited, but it sure does not seem that way when looking in from the outside.
For every online picture of a dock, I envision campfires, waterskiing and general merriment. Then I compare those to my reality of shifting our straw beach mats slightly to the left, so the fully tattooed family didn’t drop too many cigarette ashes on our things.
Holiday envy can be even worse if you’ve recently experienced a setback. The first weekend after I was separated was the Family Day long weekend. Family Day tends to fall during the same week as Valentine’s Day because, in spite of our cool Prime Minister, Canadians really are that cruel. That year, we were booked to go to the Bahamas, but I couldn’t face making the trip on my own so instead, we all sat around and cried. Good times. Thank God, these were the days before Instagram.
When we sold our cottage we’d had for two decades, it made long weekends even harder. I realize that having a second property is the very definition of luxury, but it doesn’t feel that way at times. On a long, lonely weekend in May, it feels more akin to a violation of one’s human rights.
When I’m not freaking out, I’m a deeply logical person and continually remind myself not to compare my insides to other people’s outsides and to borrow the wise words of Anne Lamott. I try to focus on being grateful for what I have: healthy kids, a great fiancé, a working car and money for ice cream and hot dogs. I try to take all that I learn in yoga and tamp down my schadenfreude-filled thoughts.
Still, there’s tiny part of me that’s immune to zen: the part of me who hopes that next year, on the first major, long weekend of summer, it rains for three days straight. All you need is a zeitgeist-y book and a good bottle of wine to fake a perfect rainy day on Instagram.