With the endless possibilities of how an experience can be presented to us through various media outlets it’s easy to tell ourselves that we aren’t experiencing these big moments the right way which lowers our value of them – and in this post I want to talk about how I avoid letting that effect me mentally.
Two aspects of life that I believe have contrasting roles in the state of our mental health are:
1 – Our experiences
2 – Media representation.
They have the ability to have both positives and negative effects on our mental health, and I want to highlight in today’s post how the media can create a representation as to how we should be experiencing the big moments, and with that, the damaging and lasting effect they leave on our mental health.
Camp vs Cruise
A few weeks ago I was watching the latest Mission Impossible film, which, apart from being a very good film, features an awesome piece of cinema when Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill do a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump over Paris.
Watching the pair of them jump from a plane instantly takes me back to when I skydived in New Zealand back in April 2015, once the film had finished I started to look through my photos and there was an aura of expectations vs reality when I looked at the two side by side which you will see below.
Looking at those two photos who do you think looks cooler? Tom Cruise or Jordan Camp, I’d like for the answer to be Jordan Camp, but i’m going to say it’s Tom Cruise.
The fact that Tom Cruise or the millions of other people that have Skydived around the world probably look cooler than I do in that photo doesn’t have any impact on my gratuity for that April day in New Zealand, one that I have described in the past as one of the best of my life so far.
This Is Why You Should Stop Comparing Your Experiences To People Who Have Been There And Done It Before You!
With every single thing that I do in my life whether that be a trip to the Grand Canyon or watching West Ham win a game against one of the top six, someone would have seen it better than I did. Sir David Attenborough and his Planet Earth Crew at the Grand Canyon or the Sky Sports team at a West Ham game, of course they would have seen it better than I did, but they didn’t see it the way that I did.
It’s the way that I experience these moments that makes it what it is for me, a priceless memory to last a lifetime. It wasn’t the Skydive that made that day in New Zealand so special, it wasn’t the story behind why my friends and I all did the skydive barefoot (As you’ll see in the photo below) it wasn’t the Bungy Jump that immediately followed that made that day so special, nor was it the Thai dinner or fun night out (And it certainly wasn’t the hangover the next day)
What made that day so special was the combination of all of those things (Although I really could have done without the hangover) and of course, the people I spent it with, and if you gave me the choice of the way that day unfolded for me or to have some photos where I look like Tom Cruise in a well edited Hollywood blockbuster, well i’m going to have to go with the former, no offence Tom.
The Comparison Debate
The truth is, when it comes to how we portray our life experiences on social media, people love to show off, and i’m no different. It’s a very rare occurrence that I will post a picture on Instagram having been to watch West Ham lose a game, whereas if we beat one of the top six the picture is uploaded before you can say Premier League.
One of the many tourist clichés that has become a big deal in recent years is the infamous ‘Instagram boyfriend’, which for those of you that don’t know is when a group of people, sometimes couples, sometimes a bigger group will create a photo shoot vibe in front of a famous landmark in a mission to get the perfect shot for the social media platform, trust me, I see it every day in Central London.
When photos like these are uploaded to social media it creates the expectation of what these places and experiences are really like. One way to look at the reality of this is that the memories those people will hold of those experiences, in some circumstances it may well be the only time they have those experiences, will be of being the ‘Instagram boyfriend’. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have the cliché money shot my photo albums, but I put the camera to auto mode, get it and carry on being in the moment.
With all of that in mind, if you were to offer me the chance to have the perfect photo of me skydiving in New Zealand or over a 100 from the GoPro on my instructors wrist which was on a timer to go with the experience, I will go with the latter 100% of the time, because that’s the reality of what it was like.
The expression may say ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ but you would need well over a thousand pictures to create the reality of what the most amazing experiences are like, which makes them the best kind.