Documenting Your Life Without Seeing it through your iPhone Lens

As Unbound and former Unbound students, we are known for being unbound from the college campus. Our lives are the non-traditional as we navigate the world around us. Sometimes, though, in the midst of being unbound from the college campus or the traditional way of doing things, we find ourselves bound to something called a phone.

I can agree that phones have their definite perks with communicating and keeping up with the lives of our friends and family, but phones can also be a distraction in our lives. Oh, it is great fun to set up the perfect setting and snap a picture of it for our Instagram or Facebook page, but does that picture really say who we truly are and how we truly feel? Are our posts on social media the truth, or what we wish was the truth? Your picture of your porch swing on a rainy day sends the impression that you are so happy and content with your life that nothing could get better, but is that what we really want others to think? Maybe so, but we should also be honest with ourselves. While honesty is important for social media, you have to be careful. Social media should not be a place where we hash out our frustrations, but maybe it is the right thing for our journals.

Do you keep a journal? Documenting Instagram or Facebook moments may be awesome for you, but what about real life? In days gone by people would keep journals and diaries of their day to day lives, but in our world today, social media and pictures have overshadowed the written word of journals and diaries, but as much fun as it is to snap a picture and write a caption, there is something still valuable in the written word. I have kept a journal since I was about ten years old. It is always a learning experience to look back and see how much I have grown. Pictures can tell a story, but the written word can express a feeling. There are times when pictures can make us look as if life is happy and everything is okay, but with a pen and paper our true feelings come out. Writing down our experiences and our feelings about life can help to get us through tough situations. Just opening a blank page in a notebook and writing can bring about a peace for the situation. In my own life, as I was struggling with what to do after high school, I journaled. Day in and day out I would mention what I had decided to do and why. Some days were exactly the same, and some days were totally different. Instead of snapping pictures of what I wanted to do and posting it, I wrote it. Now because it is in writing, I can go back and relive my younger self and reflect on what I struggled with in that time of my life. Writing may not be your thing, but I challenge you to try it.

One thing that makes journaling so special is the historical value of it. Did you realize that your journaling today could become valuable tomorrow? As a history major, I understand the importance of a journal written by an ordinary person years ago. Consider Anne Frank. Her diary became a popular piece of literature because it was ordinary. Now, the ordinary seems mundane and ho-hum, but later, it could prove to be exciting for the next generation. I say all of this about journaling and writing down your life on paper, not to discourage you from social media, but to reflect on your life. Now that you are out in the workforce or looking for a job, maybe it is time to step back and look at your life. Are you living your dream? Have you become successful? Maybe success is something that you need to reevaluate. As a speaker at APEX said, “Success is a journey and not a destination.” Life will have its ups and downs, and documenting those ups and downs can help not only you, but those who came after you. I want to challenge you to set aside the time in your busy schedule to stop and reflect. Turn off your phone and pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Let the words and feeling within you come flowing onto the paper. Start a new journey and document the truth of how you feel. Open your mind to a new way of reflecting. Don’t give up your social media life, just rethink about what you’re posting and take some time to document your life through journaling. In conclusion, here is a quote from Brad Wilcox, “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to ‘become’. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” Written by Peyton Holliday

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