I love Pinterest. It's a beautiful haven full of perfectly curated images - the perfect inspiration for living a perfect life. I have hundreds of images pinned to my many boards - predominantly photos of gorgeous puppies with big, beautiful eyes, but plenty of recipes find their way in too and my 'Home Sweet Home' board is fit to burst with 'someday' photos of exquisitely decorated homes. You can spend hours immersing yourself in these images - planning out every detail of the house, the holiday, the wardrobe that you'll own when you win the lottery and have the time and money to spend.
At the same time, it's easy to feel incredibly inadequate as you become overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos, all of which look more glamorous than your own life. It's an assault on your self esteem and sense of style, and the natural consequence of the proliferation of surrounding yourself with social media, magazines and lifestyle blogs. All of those beautiful things feel just out of reach when we're sat in our pyjamas perusing Pinterest.
The thing is though, I don't think I want my life to look like that, not really. When I'm staring at those pictures, it's easy to look around and see everything I don't have. But when I step away and appreciate the things I do have? It all just seems so much better than feature walls and 'arm parties' and food that's gone probably gone cold. When I get past that gut reaction that what I have and am is not 'good enough' - I am content. Apart from the lack of puppies, of course. I say this not to make myself out as someone who is above the social pressure, because lord knows I am definitely not. I say it more as a reminder to myself that whilst I may yearn over everything I see pinned, that's not what actually makes me happy. I'm sure it would be wonderful to live in that world - but it's not attainable, certainly not for me.
My happiest moments over the past few weeks have looked nothing like the world of Pinterest. Big, greasy buckets of KFC shared in front of the new episode of 'Game of Thrones'. A fancy dress birthday party where no one was looking Pinterest-worth (but everyone had a good time, and made a sterling effort with costumes). A walk in the park, a meal at a local restaurant (nothing fancy, just delicious Thai food), a night in at a friend's house where everyone drank a bit too much wine. Experiences which are a little bit grubby, which make better anecdotes than they do photographs, and which feel authentic, real and life-affirming.
Positioning these experiences as 'more authentic' is problematic, of course - there's nothing to say that a night in the Brudenell Social Club drinking a G&T out of a plastic cup is any more authentic or objectively 'better' than a fancy dinner party with hand-stitched tea bags. Each to their own, and all that. I just have a bit of an inkling that it *feels* better. It feels better when you can breathe in your clothes and take off all your jewellery and dance barefoot. It feels better to eat a big pile of gooey chocolate pudding that looks boring on the plate but is anything but boring when you take a bite. It feels better to snort when you laugh, to hiccup after a few drinks and have tears streaming down you face and smudging your make up than it does to look photo-ready at all times.
I need to remember that. I need to stop worrying that my 70s box flat doesn't look like a Yorkshire farmhouse filled with fairy lights and vintage finds, that I will always be the wrong shape to wear clothes 'effortlessly' and that try as I might - that bowl of pasta still just looks like a bog-standard bowl of pasta, not a Michelin star dish. It tastes bloody fantastic though. The search for beauty and joy should not just be the search for things which look beautiful and joyful standing still in photographs - but for real, tangible things. So whilst I'll still be happily pinning away, I'm going to try and remember that I don't want my life to look like Pinterest - at least not to the detriment of all the other, messy, fantastic parts.