I have friends in real life, and friends in virtual life. Sometimes there's a crossover, often they switch places; in and out of each other's physical presences in moments only appearing retrospectively fleeting.
Back in the day, we compiled photo albums, painstakingly sifting and selecting photographs from stacks of (often surprise) raw material recently back from the developers. We'd pick the images that made the cut and consign the remainder to a box of miscellany for the rest of time.
Things are different now. The old-schoolers still make their hardcopy, physical albums, but the digital age has bestowed upon us the instantly creatable and viewable social media album, ready for the rest of the world to digest at the click of a mouse.
In the case of every person I have ever met in reality, their real life situation differs immensely from the persona, presentation and emotional clarity they exist as in the virtual world. In the same way that our photo albums were collections of pictures to memorialize special events, Instagram pages and Facebook feeds are virtual vision boards, accessible to all. We still sift and select, and now we filter. We still pick and choose, and now we also consider the gaze of a wider audience than ever before. People we don't know, people we haven't yet met; our bosses, our friend's mum, the staff at the local shop.
So, in much the same way we used to wish our life could be like that holiday album, we now dream of living in a LoFi filtered cityscape with a right hand solar flare on our faces at all times. We want to scrub out any imperfection with a handy tool and yet still refuse to acknowledge that anyone else's internet life is flawed.
Well, it is.
No matter how perfect, clean, coordinated, toned or organised someone's social media existence appears, their life is a straight up mess just like yours. They selected every photograph to impress you. They picked every angle to flatter. They said nice things about people they hate. They filtered out all the crap. And then, they told you that's their life. It simply is not. It is the edited highlights.
My point? Stop wishing away your life on someone else's bullshit. It's nice to look at, but it's not the whole picture.