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Essay

5 Life Lessons I Learned from Your Candid Photos #DSCandid

by Grace Bonney

Social media continues to fascinate me like the herd of cows that lives just up the road. Why do they do what they do? What makes them happy? When will they shift next and what will inspire that random move to the other side of the field? I’m always wondering about them when we drive past and I’m always wondering what makes social media change, grow and take a sharp turn (just when we’ve all started to understand it). For that reason, our community hashtag challenges are one of my favorite pastimes now, and I love watching them take on a life of their own and trying to figure out why certain concepts do — or don’t — click with everyone. This month’s challenge was and was intended as a celebration of everyday life (sans filters and styling) and resulted in some of the greatest conversations I’ve had online to date.

What it also resulted in were some major life lessons and a great big reminder that social media is one of the most interesting educational tools we have to learn more about each other and what makes us tick, what makes us engage, and what makes us shy away from sharing. Today I’m sharing the 5 life lessons I learned that made me feel closer to our community as a whole. xo, grace

 

1/11
1. Pure joy will always be a more powerful tool of engagement than perfection. Likes schmikes -- the comments and connections that came with these photos were some of the most amazing I've seen in years. I loved watching people bond over their "real" life moments and connect over shared struggles, moments and messes. Photo by @ (Baby gates are a huge part of our house, too. But for dogs.)
2/11
2. Few things are as precious as laughs with your loved ones. That super cool new throw you got? Yep, sometimes it's the perfect plaything for your pets or your kids (or both). And while it's always sad to lose something you spent $$ on, everyone's photos made it clear that the best investment was in moments like these with your family. Photo by @
3/11
3. Pets = a beautiful mess. I identified most strongly with photos of pets knocking things over, smooshing down couch cushions and generally making our homes feel more like theirs. Living with animals is an exercise in patience and valuing people (and pets) over things. But it's an exercise I'm so glad I have to do -- it will always put things in perspective. No mess is more frustrating than the joy and love that pets bring into our lives. Photo by @
4/11
4. Life is about the journey: even when it's not pretty. There's a reason why people rarely share process shots in magazines -- they're not as "beautiful" and styled as "after" shots, but they're always the photos I feel happiest to see. They remind me that even the most "perfect" room started as a project with drop cloths and spills and mess. Photo by @
5/11
5. Unmade beds are often the happiest. I love the way a neat "made" bed looks. But I also love how inviting and fun a sheet with rumpled covers and a pile of fresh laundry looks. So do our dogs, and those moments lead to the best impromptu snuggles. And I'll take snuggles over hospital corners any day. Photo by @
6/11
I wanted to share a few more moments from #DSCandid that remind us that everyone has these moments in life: broken pottery, piles of laundry, boxes that need to be broken down and recycled and splashes and messes that never made our final Instagram cut. Photo by @
7/11
I love this photo because my home office has never looked more organized than this. For me, my best work is often done among piles of things to-do, to-clean and to-put-away. Photo by @
8/11
Maybe it's because I can't seem to keep my own lunch (or craft supplies) on the table, but @ 's photo of her living room rug resonated with me.
9/11
...because before every perfect dinner photo on Instagram, comes a kitchen that has seen plenty of prepping and wiping. Photo by @
10/11
I had to include this photo because people never seem to show their exercise equipment. I totally understand, because usually it's not the "cutest" equipment, but I'm always proud that I even use it, so I love seeing it in other people's rooms. Hooray for core strength! Photo by @
11/11
Last but not least, the side of garden makeovers that you rarely see: a mountain of leftover plastic plant tubs. I'd love to see someone come up with some creative DIY projects with these. Photo by @

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