As millennials, we are privy to the strange experience of having social media be a big part of our lives, while still knowing what things were like before social media. Sure, you may hardly remember a time before you were posting Simple Plan lyrics on your AIM Buddy Profile, but I bet you can still recall the day you finally caved a got a Twitter, a Facebook, or an Instagram account. If you were like me, you probably eventually realized that getting a MySpace and joining all the cool kids — while it pained your young, alternative soul — was actually kind of fun. You uploaded a photo or posted a status, and just like that, you were hooked. And, if you weren't, social media probably became part of your world anyway. Now, we're here 10 or so years later with a dozen profiles, and it's all just kind of... well, normal. It's life.
Except for the big, fat fact that social media isn't real life. And, sure, we're all adults here — we know that. We're just trying to get more in touch with what we really want, who we really are, etc. I mean, hey, we've even considered just quitting our jobs, deleting all our accounts, and backpacking around Asia like that person we read about on Facebook. Social media is here to stay, for now at least; our kids probably won't know a world without it. But we do — we remember the good old days, before we all joined hands and stood on top of chairs photographing our $15 chia pudding. So here are 51 things that didn't matter (or just plain didn't exist) before Instagram, just in case you've temporarily stopped questioning the ridiculousness of it all.
If your to-do list doesn't look like a whimsical Martha Stewart wedding invitation, get it away from me. You can take your caveman scribbles and burn them. Try again and come back when your cursive is so absurdly detailed that I can't even read what you wrote.
2. Marble Countertops
One day I woke up and realized that the world would just look better on carrara marble. Now, I would gladly sleep upon a slab of white marble and feel satisfied and powerful. Also cold. But, if Instagram has taught us anything, it's that sometimes we suffer for our art.
3. Sitting Near The Best Light Source In A Restaurant
Because who even wants to eat a plate of poorly-lit eggs benedict? Disgusting.
4. How Often You Do Yoga
Personally, I hate yoga (or as I like to call it, "death stretching"), but the world doesn't know that. To my followers, I make an effort. I also go home and bathe in mountainside waterfall of green juice.
5. How Often You Go To SoulCycle
Because it's not a cult if you "choose" to be there.
6. Neon Signs, In General
No longer cheesy, neon signs are now an important indication that we understand what is hip and also probably have hanging plants somewhere in our apartments.
7. Neon Signs With Inspirational Phrases, Specifically
"YOU CAN DO IT" just seems to resonate more when it is searing through your retinas, IDK.
8. Taking Jumping Photos While Frozen In Mid Air
I mean, no, as a human race, we can't actually fly yet. But we can do this.
9. How Cozy You Look At Any Given Moment
What matters in life, really, isn't so much how you're contributing to the world as a human being, but more so how comfortable you look in your life at any given moment. Are you surrounded by plush blankets? Is there a mug of steaming green tea balancing on your knees as you sit criss cross in your fort of tapestries and twinkle lights? Then you're golden.
10. What You Look Like With No Makeup
But I don't mean what you actually look like without makeup. No. Too easy. I mean what you look like with no makeup, lash extensions, some Chapstick (basically nature's filter), OK — fine, a little concealer, and an expression that says, "I am so content with the fact that I took 32 versions of this photo."
11. Casual Faux Fur Throws
At some point in the last two years, social media really just became a platform for the faux fur business, and no one questioned it. Touché, faux fur people. Touché.
12. "THE GRID"
"I don't know, does it go with my color scheme? Is it on brand enough?"
Sure, avocados have always been delicious. We knew this. But Instagram has now opened all of our eyes to its real holiness. Yes, it has a weird skin that is simultaneously egg and brain-like. Yes, it is only the correct ripeness for 12 seconds, during a full moon, while you are holding it at exactly a 47 degree angle. But dammit, it is beautiful.
14. Wedding Hashtags
We now know, thanks to Instagram, that there is nothing more meaningful or intimate in this life than being able to feel like you are at the holy union of two people who you have virtually no connection to whatsoever.
15. Weddings, In General
Before Instagram, I wasn't really thinking about whether or not sequined table cloths were a real thing. Now, I have seen the light. And it is sparkly and good.
16. Mason Jars
Coffee beans. Office supplies. Makeup brushes. Very tiny children. Belly button lint. Spare ammunition. Give me a mason jar, and I will now find an organizational purpose for it.
Thanks to IG, we're all still fooling ourselves into thinking that kale is as good as chicken fingers, and that's cool, guys. It's fine. Ignorance is bliss. But it tastes like sh*t.
18. Green Juice
Like I said.
Like. I. Said.
20. Photographing Things From Above
Maybe, one day, we will evolve to all be 12-feet tall and have the correct vantage point to photograph our food from above, naturally. A girl can dream. Until then, there are chairs.
21. Looking Candid In Completely Staged Moments
Today, we know that nothing looks quite as good as the joy that completely inauthentic moments bring.
22. The Overall Appearance Of Food
Nothing tastes as good as brightly-lit and gorgeous feels, am I right? Wait.
23. Ugly Pets
Before Instagram, Grumpy Cat just would have been a kind of funny/weird looking cat. Now? Grumpy Cat is a celebrity. A phenomenon. A legend. And clearly we have caught on to something important.
24. Putting Animals In Tiny Clothes
OK, I lied. This has always mattered. This will always matter.
25. Holding Beverages In The Air For No Reason
Thanks to IG, we know now that toasting really isn't as important as suspending a drink in mid-air specifically because it looks good with the background.
But do you even garden, bro?
27. What You Wear To The Airport
Before IG: Sweatpants. Now: Fancy sweatpants.
28. What You Wear To The Gym
Before IG: Leggings. Now: Fancy leggings.
29. What You Wear To Bed
Before IG: A T-Shirt you got at an elementary school field day. Now: Something matching and whimsical. Hem with frills optional.
30. What You Wear In Basically Any Mundane Occasion Of Life, Ever
I mean, were we even living before the first time we changed our shirt just for an Instagram selfie and secretly weren't even wearing pants? I think not.
31. How The Contents Of Your Purse Look Spread Out On A Flat Surface
Except not including that snotty tissue, gift card that expired four years ago, crumbs from 300 BC, 92 crumbled Starbucks straws wrappers. Not that stuff.
32. What Your Hands Look Like In Photos
If it weren't for Instagram, I wouldn't be quite so aware of the fact that my hands apparently look slightly similar to pale, ghostly claw fists in most photos I'm in. And thank God for that.
33. How Your Coffee Looks In Juxtaposition To Your Feet/Legs/Bed
Latte with a side of knee-high socks and Nashville filter, please.
34. What Books You Read
The cool thing about Instagram is that we know now that what's important isn't so much that you're reading the book itself, but that people think you are.
35. Your Planner
Being organized is an art now, which is cool because suddenly all my slightly obsessive cleaning tendencies are hip. Take that, middle school popular kids.
OK, who are we kidding, this has always been a cornerstone of life.
37. Being As Motivated As Possible In Every Second Of Life
Now we all know that we have as many hours in a day as Beyonce. We all know that "nothing works unless we do." We have motivational phrases printed on our folders, our T-shirts, our computer wallpapers. We are being motivated from all angles. And it's just grand.
42. Latte Art
Freaking latte art, guys. What have we even become?
43. Having Giant Number Balloons For Your Birthday
I mean, yes, there is Facebook to tell everyone it's your birthday, but that doesn't really drive the point home quite like an Instagram photo of you jumping in the middle of the street holding number balloons. You are in your early-to-mid twenties. You are alive. You are holding balloons the size of two seven-year-olds. And it feels damn good.
44. How Donuts Look From Above
Don't you miss the old days? The ancient time of our ancestors when the most beautiful thing about donuts was the fact that they were freaking donuts and not how they looked in that aerial shot? Ohhh, you put cereal on top of your donuts? OK, well that's different.
45. Smoothie Bowls With Perfectly Parallel Lines Of Healthy Toppings
Yes, we all know that eventually it'll all be mixed up in there. That's not the point.
46. Your French Bulldog
Sorry not sorry.
47. Having Sweater Sleeves That Are Slightly Too Long For You
Does this one go back to #9? I say yes
49. The Concept Of Models As Real Humans
If not for Instagram, then I would never known that Gigi Hadid is actually a real-life human. I would have gone on living in my fake bubble of world where models are aliens with unattainable faces and bodies that only look like that because of Photoshop. So thank you, Instagram! Feels great to be alive!!
50. Standing While Looking At Some View Looking Like You're About To Embrace The World
You are never more attractive than when standing on a precipice, staring out into the abyss, giving the world a giant hug. You may eventually lose all 10 toenails because you hiked up that mountain with zero experience, but it was worth it for the 'gram. Life lessons.
51. Trying Really Hard To Make It Seem Like You're Not Trying At All
Except, it did matter before Instagram. It'll always matter. Long after Instagram is gone, people will still want other people to think they are happier, healthier, and "cooler" than they really are.
Yes, Instagram is a bit absurd. And so are all of us, with our avocado toast and marble countertops. But it's OK, because once you start viewing everything on Instagram through that lens, it all starts to matter a little less. So go 'gram your latte art and ignore the haters — they probably use the Kelvin filter, anyway.