Our lives are composed of apps we can hide behind.

Tinder swipes and Instagram filters. Snapchat stories and 140-character thoughts.

We have the ability to recreate ourselves; to completely dictate how we are perceived. We Snapchat our concerts but never our nights in. We stop on our run in the park to Instagram our shoes. #Fitness. #Healthy. We ignore our friend across the table to post #tbt’s from our backpack adventures across the world. We live our lives to show off the best parts. We walk head down, swiping through faces but not noticing the ones walking right past us. We strike up a conversation on Tinder while we sit, headphones in, next to that guy in the coffee shop.

We hide ourselves behind Brannan and and Valencia and online profiles. Our identity exists at the mercy of the delete button.

And maybe on paper, this seems a little sad. And maybe we take it too far and forget to take in the moments in between; the way the champagne bubbled and the first sip of coffee. When you caught your neighbour hiding a smile after you tripped over your shoelaces. Your favourite pair of ripped jeans and that random morning when you first woke up and looked in the mirror and felt uncontrollably beautiful.

Maybe, sometimes, we forget that likes and favourites aren’t at all what make us who we are.

But perhaps, at the same time, we aren’t always hiding. Maybe we’re simply embracing the 2015 way of letting ourselves free.

The ones who felt too insecure to smile at that stranger on the streetcar now have an avenue to put themselves out there. To have a first date. To let someone buy them a drink and make them feel beautiful.

The shy one who felt like she was never heard now has thousands of people retweeting her thoughts.

The artist whose work existed only for himself now shares it with the entire world.

When we write about our social lives–our obsession with technology and inability to put down our phones–we focus on the negative. On the need to unplug. To pay attention. We’re too distracted to appreciate that sunset. We rely on a social network to remind us of our best friends’ birthdays.

And sure–a lot of these things are problematic. But I think, ultimately, it’s about finding our own unique way to bridge the gap between our Instagram handle and our peaceful walk to work.

Your life can be filled with apps that you hide behind. But at the same time, our lives can be filled with apps which simply let us be free.