Saturday, May 28

Top Tips for a Happy Life #18

Hello everybody! I'm going to be honest with you guys--- I know that this week's Top Tip is by no means a 'tip'. Much like last week, I've stretched the meaning of what a 'tip' is, in order that it might also include general quotes that inspire pause for thought and interesting insights into a more mindful and happy life. Excuse accepted? Good! This week's inspiration was drawn from 'Hamilton', the musical.

The way I like to look at this quote is to think of it, in a way, as a sort of criticism of modern life (not strictly how it was intended in context). In the play, the lyric is more on the subject of preserving legacy, sung by the wife of Alexander Hamilton after his death. She asks us to remember him through her words and behooves us not to forget all he did for America.

I like to look at it and think of it more in relation to how we, as modern day people present ourselves, or tell 'our story'. What I mean by this is the way we all present the characters of ourselves online, on a blog, on instagram, on Facebook or whatever. We all knew, before Essena O'Niell went on her mission to drag away the curtain single-handedly last year, that much of the 'reality' online is constructed. Or, to be fair, if not constructed-- 'curated'. I saw an aunt recently who I hadn't seen in a long time, and one of the first things she said to me (not nastily, I should add) was, "what are you up to in your life? Besides Instagramming beautiful flowers?"

I was sort of amused by this, but I also thought it was very telling. I don't think in any way I'm 'dishonest' online, or purposefully misleading or anything like that. However, the story of my life that I present online is, to be honest, not a 'real' representation of me. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing-- I  know a few weeks ago I didn't want to instagram some pretty artisanal meringues I saw because I was conscious that my last four instagrams in a row were various cakes. As it happens, one of them was in a shop window, one was a birthday cake I didn't get round to eating, one was a collection of pastries I made with my little brother after not seeing him in a long time. I knew that I wasn't a huge glutton eating cakes 24/7, and actually the pictures were all weeks apart-- but it's things like that, the conscious decisions we make to shape or defend the perception that other people have of us that I find interesting. That same aunt bought me a beautiful rose for my birthday with the suggestion that I could instagram it. On my instagram now, I can see three photos of flowers-- one, from my aunt, one a wide open peony, and three a bunch of flowers from when I passed my driving test last week. On first glance, it does look like I'm the kind of person that is surrounded by flowers at all times. I like that idea, but the reality is it isn't true. I wrote that story, by posting those photos. I've been painting my house this last week-- I could have instagrammed paint brushes six times and then when anyone saw it, I would be constructing a reality that says, "I'm a person who paints every day" which is nearer the truth, but also not my story.

I know that I'm sort of reading a lot into this, but I do find it interesting the person we 'create' when we are left to curate our own lives. People often say, make sure your social media is up to scratch as it's the first thing an employer will see. I just find it interesting to think what someone who has never met me would think when they see 'my story'. Will they think that I'm hard working? Will they think I'm funny, or embarrassing, or honest? Or will they just think, she spends a lot of time with flowers? And how different is that version of 'me', versus how I would be described by say, my sister, or my boyfriend, or my best friend, or someone I went to school with once but don't see any more. How different am I in their story? Maybe some food for thought this bank holiday weekend.

In other news, for those who haven't heard the Hamilton soundtrack I 100% recommend it. My faves are 'Take a Break', 'Non-Stop' and 'The Election of 1800'. 

Until next time, who tells your story?

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