Ludovica sank onto her cozy dorm bed, her phone illuminating her face with the glare of social media. As she scrolled, she saw pictures of her friends living their lives, partying, and having fun without her. A twinge of envy crept inside her, clawing into her heart like a thorny vine.
But then, in class earlier that day, she read a passage that struck her:
In the quiet moments of our lives, when we bask in the glow of the setting sun, or feel the cool breeze on our skin, we experience a sense of raw authenticity. We exist in a world that is uniquely ours, where our thoughts and emotions are free to roam without judgment or scrutiny.
But when we choose to share these experiences, to capture them in pixels and share them with the world, something changes. Suddenly, the focus shifts from our own internal sensations to the reaction of others. We find ourselves anxiously checking for likes and comments, seeking validation and approval from strangers in a digital world.
It's as if the very act of sharing is a defense mechanism, a shield against the fact that we can only truly enjoy an experience if we know that others envy us for it. We yearn for the attention and admiration of others, and in doing so, we lose something precious and real in the moment. We trade the warmth of a sunset on our face for the cold glow of a screen, a simulacrum of connection that can never truly replace the raw authenticity of a private experience.
Ludovica thought about how much time she spent scrolling through social media, comparing her life to others. But what was the point? The highlight reel of someone's life on social media was not the same as their private, authentic experiences.
And so, Ludovica decided to run an experiment: to delete social media from her phone for a weekend and to revel in the beauty of her own private experience.
She grabbed her sketchbook and headed to the campus quad, where the leaves were turning a beautiful shade of orange. As she hit the delete button, Ludovica whispered, "Goodbye, Instagram," freeing herself from the digital world's chains. She stepped out of her dorm room into the crisp autumn air. Leaves were falling around her, carpeting the ground in a colorful tapestry.
As a modern person, Ludovica had always felt the urge to capture every moment with a photo, to hold onto every detail. But she realized that by doing so, she was losing something essential. By taking a picture, she was killing the moment, freezing it in time, and reducing it to a static image. She was participating in the moment's mortality, vulnerability, and mutability.
So she put down her phone and picked up her sketchbook. She sat down on the grass and allowed herself to get lost in the moment, letting her pencil glide across the paper as she captured the details of the leaves and the texture of the bark on the trees. As she drew, she connected to the world around her. She wasn't just an observer anymore; she was a participant. She was living in the moment, fully present and engaged.
With a sudden burst of inspiration and a renewed sense of clarity, Ludovica turned the page and penned this poem with lightning speed:
Amidst the world of screens and likes, Our private moments fade from sight, For in the rush to share our lives, We lose the essence of our might. The beauty of a fleeting scene, The magic of a whispered dream, Are lost in digital routine, Reduced to pixels on a screen. Yet we crave the envy of our peers, A validation that brings us cheer, So we share and overshare our fears, Forgetting what we hold most dear. For in our rush to show and tell, We forget the magic of the spell, And lose the very thing we seek, Our private moments, pure and sleek. So cherish every private thought, Every feeling that can't be bought, For they are yours, and yours alone, And in their truth, your soul is shown.
Ludovica didn't need to share this moment with anyone else. It was hers to enjoy, to savor. She felt a sense of peace and contentment, knowing that she was experiencing something truly authentic.
As Ludovica put away her sketchbook and walked back to her dorm, she felt like she was walking in a dream. The sun had set, and the sky was painted with a mix of red, orange, and purple. The air was cool and crisp, and she could smell the faint scent of autumn leaves.
She had never noticed how beautiful the campus was at sunset before. It was as if the world had been waiting for her to take a break from social media to show her its true colors.
As she walked, Ludovica realized she didn't need a picture to remember this moment. She would always carry it with her, the colors and the scents etched in her memory. And she realized that she had been missing out on so much by constantly trying to capture the perfect picture.
She had been so focused on preserving the moment that she had forgotten to live in it. But now, as she walked, she felt truly alive, present in the moment, and grateful for the opportunity to experience it without distraction.
As she reached her dorm room, Ludovica smiled to herself, feeling a sense of peace and contentment that she hadn't felt in a long time. She knew this was just the beginning of her journey to rediscover the beauty of private experiences. She felt refreshed and rejuvenated, grateful for the reminder that private experiences were just as important, if not more so, than shared ones.
From that day on, Ludovica made an effort to prioritize her private experiences, whether taking a solo hike or simply enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in a cozy café. She made an effort to experience it fully without the need to capture it. Ludovica realized that the moments she kept to herself were often the ones she treasured the most and that true happiness came from within.
She felt as if society wanted her to believe that being private is a weakness and that she should always strive to be constantly public and connected. But, after a moment of inner clarity, she realized being private is a source of strength and authenticity in a world that wants her to forget the intrinsic essence of true love - the kind that is not showy or performative, but a deeply rooted feeling that transcends understanding and defies reason. This kind of love is nourished in private moments of connection and intimacy.
If Loduvica were to share the depths of her joy and pain, she fears others may try to tell her how to feel again, robbing her of the pure fulfillment that came with them. In a world of constant chatter and display, private people are often the ones who truly sway.
Ludovica understood the danger of sharing her innermost thoughts and experiences, so she kept her dreams, regrets, happiness, and pain in a dark and quiet place where they could flourish and take root without a trace of outside influence or judgment. They stay pure and true, just like the feelings born anew.
Now Ludovica knows the secret to true satisfaction, which lies not in chasing external reactions but in finding inner action.
What to read next? My personal reflection after writing this story.
If you’re into interesting ideas (like the one you just read), join my Weekly Memos, and I’ll send you new essays right when they come out.