9am: I wake up and immediately delete the Instagram off my iPhone. My thumb hesitates for a moment as it hovers over little red minus sign in the corner of the app. I take a deep breath and press down, watching helplessly as both the icon and my social life vanish into obscurity.
9:30am: I wonder what all my acquaintances are doing today. There is no way of knowing.
10am: I make myself a cup of coffee. I think about how nice it would look in a square with a Valencia filter.
11am: I plant some succulents in a cute mug that I dip-painted. No one will know how crafty I am. Unless they come visit me in person.
12pm: I visit my aunt and uncle at their ranch for lunch. My cute younger cousin is playing with a newborn lamb. I wonder how many likes that kind of photo would get on Instagram. Definitely over 100. I feel #sad.
2pm: I hike with my family to the top of the mountain behind the ranch. The vista is beautiful. I take a panoramic photo and think about how if I were to post the photo on Instagram, I would have to first put it through that other app that puts white or black bars on the top and bottom of your panorama so that the photo can still be a square. And I think about how the actual content of the photo would be so small you would barely be able to see it on your phone because Instagram doesn’t let you zoom in. But I know in my heart that I still would have posted it anyway.
4pm: I get a text from my best friend asking me to like the photo she just uploaded, as she feels self-conscious about how few people have liked it so far. With a heavy heart, I reply that I cannot.
7pm: I cook dinner, a colorful summer salad with a side of quinoa and a blueberry-beet smoothie. I arrange the entire dish beautifully on my wicker placemat before I remember that no one will see this dinner tonight except for me. I regret not going to McDonald’s.
8pm: I look at the clock and notice that it is the peak time for Instagramming. I know if I posted a selfie right now, it would probably get a lot of likes. Instead, I just look in the mirror and sigh.
10pm: I settle into bed with a new book I’m reading and a glass of red wine. I don’t even like red wine, but the color contrasts better with my comforter than white wine does. Now, I wonder why it even matters. Why does anything matter?
11pm: As I turn off the fairy lights lining my ceiling and stare up at my draped canopy as I try to go to sleep, I ponder what Beyonce, and Lauren Conrad, and all the other celebrities I follow did today. It occurs to me that I have severed so many ties to my fellow man, if only for the day. I realize how tenuous and fragile and ultimately meaningless human connection really is. I realize that I am utterly alone in this world. I gaze into the dark void that is the human experience as the terror of living seizes me and overcomes me. I weep for myself, for my fellow man, for the fact that no soul can truly ever know another. As I let my consciousness slip away, praying that the clutches of sleep might deliver me from my misery, if only temporarily, I reflect on the ultimate futility of any endeavor in the face of mortality. Of what consequence is my day without Instagram, is my life, is this earth itself, when sooner or later, we all shall be cast again back into that black, black nothingness from which we came? These grim thoughts plague my slumber.
9am: I rise. With numb, uncaring fingers, I download the Instagram app back onto my phone. My heart does not leap as I open it once more. Inside, I know I am hollow. I know now that I can never be filled, only distracted from that aching emptiness that consumes me.
You’ve read my experience–now it’s your turn! Delete Instagram for 24 whole hours (yikes!) and let us know how it goes in the comments below!