“Aye! I wish I had that Caribbean view right now.”
“Oh! To be barefoot feeling the silky sand between my toes, while I’m sipping my morning coffee and working on my laptop on that beautiful white sand beach.”
“That picture in Bali looks amazing! I wish I could be there practicing yoga.”
“Paris! I’ve never been to Paris; I would love to visit the Louvre.”
I am thinking about all of this while flipping through Instagram this morning.
My friends are traveling, and I am…well, actually, I am also traveling, just not to the beach or Paris. I am in the vibrant New York City, and I am complaining about not being somewhere else.
When I become aware of this, I am a little confused, because I do not feel embarrassed—the jealousy is real—but obviously, I am not proud of it either.
I would love to be at the beach right now, in the same way I was dreaming of visiting New York when I was living in Los Angeles.
I also miss the rustic life in South Carolina when I see pictures of the country, in the same way I wish I could have joined my friends for the Valle Guadalupe wine festivities last August.
I even feel envy when I see pictures of my beloved cousin every time she takes a ski trip to Whistler, British Columbia.
However, this doesn’t mean that I’m not also excited for those who are posting the pictures.
I love to see my friends reunited. I love to see my family having a great time, and I am excited that my friend is visiting the Caribbean beaches for the first time.
Some of my issue comes from attachment—and, as we know, attachment brings suffering—and some of it comes from going through my newsfeed, unaware of where I am and not being present.
This “connected life” we have is becoming more successful at disconnecting us from our lives and increasing our levels of stress, because we are unhappy with what we have.
We spend more time on our phones and laptops—checking our social media and scrolling through other people’s lives—than we do simply looking up and enjoying the view.
Life seems dull; our hometowns, families, and friends seem old—just more of the same—and we want to travel and see the world, so we become bitter and frustrated, because we think we are stuck.
We’re unable to look up, take a breath, and see the magic that does exist in our everyday life. We’re unable to put the phone down and take a walk around our city or town.
Are there any tourists? Why have they decided to visit this place?
When the drug cartel violence spread like wildfire through Mexico, and the tourism decreased and endangered that particular economic entry to the country, the states launched a campaign called, “Se turista en tu estado,” which translates to, “Be a tourist in your state.”
It was a call for the locals to revisit their towns as tourists—and not only save money on flights, but also save their states.
I was living in Tijuana at the time, and I saw how the locals started visiting the restaurants—this quickly escalated into Tijuana becoming a culinary scene, and this also happened in Ensenada and Valle Guadalupe.
Today there are gastronomic tours and wine tastings every season of the year, and this brought a resurgence of the arts as well. The tourism slowly came back, and it was the locals who were responsible for not letting their cities die.
We can repeat this story everywhere.
Our cities, towns, and villages—new or old—have a history. How did they become what they are? What do locals enjoy?
Is there any nature we can explore?
Is there an art scene?
Are there pyramids or ruins?
Maybe if we stop looking at our phones so much, and maybe if we stop scrolling through other people’s lives, maybe we will stop envying the “grass on the other side of the fence,” because we will find the magic in our own lives.
We are only humans, and it’s a process—a slow process in which the first step is simply becoming aware.
We might still feel jealousy about other people’s lives, but the moment we notice those feelings crawling under our skin, let’s stop, put the phone down, go look outside, take a deep breath, and maybe go for a walk.
Take yourself, your dog, your child, your friend (or your friend’s dog and child) to a park—or to get coffee or ice cream.
Break the cycle.
Cut down on your habitual patterns, over and over again, until you create a new habit, in which you look at other people’s pictures and smile—because you know that you also have a magic scene happening right in front of you, and you have decided to enjoy it today.
Author: Montse Leon
Image: Instagram @waylonlewis
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron