Social media platforms have a unique little feature called Your Story. People are invited to post snippets of their daily lives to create a story that stays active for 24 hours and then disappears from the format. Many stories I have seen are videos or sometimes music clips of favorite artists or memes pulled from the platform’s news feed but whatever it is, it can give you a glimpse into the mind and life of that person for that day. So I started wondering. What was my story?
Many ideas flowed up when I asked myself that question. After more then 6 decades on earth I had to wonder what it really was in all of those years that made me up. I had to think back to try to parse events that shaped me and brought me to this place I am today. Reflecting back on a life history can be deceiving. So much of it is colored through perspective or emotion of the experience or by the trick of memory. But like that clever little app on the social media page, I have snippets of my life I remember clearly.
Is my story my 10 year old self, walking with my father down the train station platform towards the
enormous train engine sitting on the track, my white school uniform tights smeared with grease as I climbed up into my father’s world? I was so proud to walk beside him and have him share his time with me even though I knew my mom would not be happy about the tights! Or was it the time in my late 40’s when I walked in my college graduation as I accepted my long and hard earned Bachelor’s degree, my mom, siblings, children and husband there to cheer me on. I recall that I felt so happy that day and yet so conflicted.
Maybe my story is the two times I gave birth, my body growing, expanding, nurturing another human being for nine months and then experiencing that intense, emotional, draining delivery, overwhelmed by the beautiful fruits of that labor. Or is my story the time I auditioned for a famous director, called back to read for the second, third, fourth time only to be told I wasn’t right for the part?
Is my story that I have lost so many of my beloved family members that my heart hurts or is it that I have fought so hard for the ones who are still here? Is it that my close friend died in a car accident when we were both in high school? Or is it the last time I saw my Mom, her sweet face innocent after decades of memory had been erased from her mind. Is that my story or is that hers?
There is no doubt that social media has redefined the word “friends”. There may be true friends who follow you on social media but more likely they are acquaintances or coworkers or someone you knew once. Yet we all have our stories. I might think I know what is happening with the person who has posted a video of drinks on a beach but I really don’t. And do I take the time to ask? I confess only sometimes. It can be fun to watch the 30 second glimpse
into someone’s life but true human connection is getting lost in the small screen. There is an epidemic of despair, especially among young people who hang on every “Like” and feel dismissed when it is not there. How very unfortunate that our emotional well being has become dependent on a cartoon emoji!
Today I look at my life and wonder what story will unfold this time. I can’t help but speculate how many pages are left in my book to write. No one is guaranteed any certain time on this earth and we all are aware that we must make the best of it even when times get hard. But that’s when I seek out my true friends. The ones who refuse to stay out of my business until I can see the ground in front of me. The ones who see the light at the end of the tunnel when I cannot or can share a laugh and some good red wine over the silliness of being a human in this crazy world. I think that is my story. But I can’t be sure. In 24 hours, it may be something else entirely.