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Shadow Reel

I've been feeling kind of down lately, and the dark melancholy moodiness of this photo seems to reflect that.

That's ok! Feeling sad is a normal feeling to have, don't worry about me. This post will perhaps serve as a public service announcement. Social media is a very powerful and interesting thing to me, and I often read about the psychological effects it can have on people. People enjoy using it to show others cool stuff in their lives. Of course! It is only natural. However, there is a phenomenon that many researchers have studied that suggest that regularly using social media leads to an increased chance of depression.

When you open up your newsfeed, you often will see cute dogs, cute kids, cool vacations, overprocessed landscape photos, happy families, marathon runners, beautiful food, funny stories, great weather, new job announcements, and all kinds of good stuff - possibly from hundreds of people. Posting those things is no problem, but often times it only gives us a glimpse into someone's life, and sometimes only their "highlight reel." You don't see nearly as many posts about people losing their jobs, their dog shitting on their couch, kids being jerks, crappy commutes, coworkers being irritating, going to the doctor, being bored, and eating leftovers out of a jar while standing over the sink. I will call these the "Shadow Reel" (this is a really bad photo processing joke - the bright parts of an images are called highlights, the dark parts are called shadows - see what I did there?). This stuff happens to everybody, and it's easy to lose sight of that when you only see it in your own life but rarely anywhere else.

All in all, this is a public service announcement for awareness. I don't intend to be a downer. Do not stop sharing great parts of your lives with people, and be happy for others. Just be mindful that everybody has rough times. After all, there would be no mountains without valleys. There is more to every person out there than the best stuff you see on social media or even via pleasant small talk with them. Sometimes you just see the tip of the iceberg.

This photo was taken a couple of weekends ago just off the Military Ridge bike trail near Verona. While driving there, my bike fell off my bike rack in the middle of the beltline and I had to dart in and out of traffic to get it. No one got hurt, and there was minimal damage to the bike (although I worry I might need a new rear wheel and front fender).

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