The Staple, June 14th

From the Editor

Last weekend, my little one and I had a six-hour long playdate with dear friends at their beach club. It was such an idyllic summer day: sun, sand, the pool and beach, and burgers fresh from the grill. It was just like the many summer days I remember from my childhood. There were no distractions: no cell phones, no emails, no taking out my phone to take pictures: I brought my new film camera and took a bunch of snapshots. It was the way summer should be.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the performative nature of the internet. It’s so easy to take a picture, upload it, and bask in the endless likes. I’m certainly guilty of that, too. But lately I’ve felt this enormous pressure to take photos and upload them, trying to figure out the algorithm. It’s not fun any more, and I’ve always wanted this—my blog, my Instagram—to just be fun. I’ve thought about this as a sort of virtual cocktail party: things are lighthearted and interesting, instead of weighted with the freight of everyday life.

I’ve taken breaks from social media before, and I’m taking one again now. I’ve deleted Instagram from my phone (though I may pop on now and again); I’ve put my phone on greyscale to discourage picking it up every five seconds; I’ve put notifications on do not disturb except for things like my child’s camp and my husband. It’s oddly freeing and inspiring.

I realize the irony of writing this on a social media platform, but again, Substack is different (A/N: this essay was originally published on my Substack). It’s the way the internet was in the You’ve Got Mail days, something I wish we’d go back to! Having access to literally everything at all times is wonderful but also draining; I’m setting limits for myself this summer and trying to go back to a more balanced time. We’ll see how it goes, but right now I’m enjoying the benefits of living a real life.

This is going to be my last column on analog living—there’s only so much I can write without sounding repetitive or boastful! It’s definitely a privilege to be able to turn things off and just sit down at my computer to work from home. I’m not constantly on call for things. But making this shift is something that’s really important to me this summer to break the bad habits of the past fifteen-plus years, and I look forward to seeing how I can build a healthier way of life going forward.

More, including the summer handbag edit and Five Things, on my Substack!

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