People both hate and love Pinterest. Some pay hundreds of dollars to learn how to use it so they can make a living pinning things for others (tempting). While some readers of this blog (hi Dad) have no idea how to even use it or why it might be helpful.
My take on it: it’s an amazing tool to scrape away cynicism. It’s all about searching for things you love, and saving them so you can return to them. (That link goes to a tap essay that has changed the way I see the internet world. It’s worth your time.)
Here’s a peak into my most-loved Pinterest boards. (I tried really hard to not make the title of this post click-bait. “Ten Pinterest Boards You Didn’t Know You Needed” just made me want to apologize to librarians* everywhere for even thinking it.)
Ultimately, we should all be less afraid to love and appreciate small wonders. It is not childish, nor is it a waste of time. It is time spent cultivating joy and empathy. So despite all it’s annoying attributes, (like the fact that I can’t post a link here to my Pinterest profile and instead have to post an image which is basically a QR code) there’s a lot of good to be had here.
1. Old people goals
There are so many adorable pictures of elderly people, it warms my heart to know that getting older can mean happiness. Whenever I look at my board for this, it helps me keep things in perspective, that I don’t have to live my entire life right now, and that there is old age to look forward to.
2. Romanticize the present
Search for pictures of writing and you’ll get tons of pictures of laptops at a beach, cute little nooks devoid of any screens with journals and fancy pens, and completely impractical flowers scattered everywhere for no reason. Writing today no longer looks like you stepped out of an anthropologie magazine. It sometimes looks a lot like carefully balancing a laptop on one knee while eating a sandwich and trying not to get crumbs on the keyboard. I started thinking about how things of the past are often romanticized and how little we romanticize technology. So I started a board that showcases what writing actually looks like today. Sometimes it does look nice. Other times it doesn’t look very romantic at all. But through curating this board, I’ve become more grateful for the tools at my fingertips and feel more like I am living an achievable ideal instead of some fairy tale impossibility. I highly encourage you to take pictures of your daily life, especially the parts that you don’t think are very glamorous, and see if you can find an angle that helps you see the good side of it. Sure, a cold, heartless monitor might not seem very romantic. But if it’s real and you appreciate the ability to have the internet, go ahead and Pinterest that. Maybe in the future when everyone has implants in their head and writing doesn’t look like anything except staring into space, people will start to get romantic about monitors and screens and resolutions the way they get about fountain pens. Who knows?
3. Things your person likes
I kind of like to think of this as my form of a mixed tape. Sometimes I try to pay attention to the kinds of things someone likes and then curate a board just for them. At the very least it’s practicing empathy by putting myself in their shoes. At the best, it will make them feel special for having someone who thinks about them. Find a friend, significant other, or dog and create a board just for them to look at that will make them smile.
4. Calming secret board
I know you probably already have a Pinterest board filled with images that are pleasing to you or calming. But is it a secret board? Because some of the things that make me feel calm I get self-conscious about if anyone else sees them. I needed a place just for me to collect the things I want to look at, not the things I want other people to think I’m looking at. It was easier to be real with myself by making it a secret board. Because there’s some things on there that just don’t seem like they belong. But I like it, and I don’t want to feel like someone’s looking over my shoulder in the middle of trying to silence my anxiety. Give yourself permission to feel basic. Give yourself permission to pin the stuff that ten million other people are pinning but you like anyway, because this is just for you. Don’t worry about standing out or making it perfect. If it makes you feel happy, pin it. (And by the way, my calming board is mostly just pictures of mugs with hot drinks in them. I’m more embarrassed by its lameness than anything else.)
5. Word definitions
The two most embarrassing moments in my life came from asking for the definition to words I had no clue about. I’m not going to go into details, but let’s just say that if you start pinning definitions to words you want to use in conversation more, they’ll probably stick with you. Keeping a handy pocket list like this on your phone can give you that feeling of mindless scrolling while increasing your intelligence at the same time.
6. RPG ideas
If you are in an RPG group or just enjoy the genre/medium of it, Pinterest is actually a great source to find homebrew material, and sometimes just downright funny stuff. I never would have thought about this until my DM began sending me pins of items my character had received in-game. You can pin anything from character specific boards to items to DM ideas and advice. I have an entire board filled with abandoned castles for inspiration just in case I’m DMing a group that decides to randomly exit the plot I’ve carefully laid out for them and go wander the countryside.
7. Recipes you have actually made
I know you probably have gobs of recipes of things you want to make, but what do you do when you already made a recipe, and want to go back and find it? Do you have to scroll through a plethora of hopeful dreams? Of things you will never make so that by the time you do find the recipe, it seems lackluster? Take the time to go back and re-pin the recipes you’ve actually made that you want to make again. It will save you so much time. And sure, Pinterest has a neat little feature where you can mark what you’ve tried and leave notes and stuff. But it requires that you take a picture and it’s not intuitive. Until they redesign the interface, it’s easier to just create a separate board.
8. Search for Bullet Journal and Dragon. You’re welcome.
Everyday for the last 24 years, NASA has posted an Astronomy Picture of the Day. This is my go-to for desktop backgrounds, but not all of them are things I want to look at constantly. There’s over 8,000 pictures after all! Every time I find a picture I like while browsing their archives, I pin it so I can find it later. And I usually try to enter something into the description from the explanation NASA gives about the picture. Anytime I need to be pulled out of my cynicism and witness something totally awe inspiring, I just pull up my APOD board.
10. Your life in pins
If you’re too busy to journal, just quickly search for an image that relates the most to how you feel or what happened that day, and pin it with the date and a short description of why that’s your pin for the day. When, during New Year’s celebrations, you get contemplative and wonder how your life’s been going lately, it’s a quick reminder of everything you’ve been through and overcome and done. Images are recalled much more easily by our brains than words are, so if you don’t feel like reading back through 365 pages of bad handwriting (I’m still working on mine), start curating this board, pinning one thing per day right before bed.
And finally, one last bonus board idea for those of us who are writers/readers: Book Covers!!! I have boards for each book idea and what I want the cover to look like, I have boards for book covers that are all wrong, boards for book covers that impress me, and even a board for book covers that use geometry for their entire design. You might find your next good read from doing this, but more importantly, you are allowed a chance to unashamedly judge books by their covers.
*Why librarians? I mean this in the broad sense of the word: Anyone who helps direct people to material or materials to people that they need or that they didn’t know they needed. In this age of technology, we are going to need librarians more than ever before. They are very important. And putting click-bait titles is just one of the many things that can really muddle up their efforts to help create a world where we can find what we need instead of what others want us to see.