I'd like you to cast your mind back to a gentler time, before social media existed.
A time where you could spend winter in the Antipodes, relatively ignorant of the fact there is a whole subset of people who gracefully parachute out of the southern hemisphere's driving rain straight into the glamorous warmth of the European summer.
Unfortunately ignorance is no longer bliss. Now Instagram and Facebook are here to flood your eyeballs with images of bikini-clad influencers frolicking on the back of boats in Capri, hammering home the deficiencies in your life.
As my friend put it: "Lake Como? More like Lake FOMO. Amirite?!"
The bitterness that wells up during this time is truly ugly. Any zen, selfless notion of being happy for people having a nice time overseas goes out the window on day 10 of winter when you have endured your fifteenth photo of someone drinking an Aperol spritz under a striped umbrella in the south of France.
Even celebrity babies — who would be just as happy in a suburban sand pit — are now rubbing their glorious summer time in your face.
The Instagram feed has become the 21st century holiday slide night that happens in real-time, but is no less interminable. And what would a holiday slide night be without pictures of all the food you ate? When dining on holiday, it seems the first bite is with the iPhone. Less fortunate souls back home are taken on a culinary journey from hotel buffet breakfast right through to the warm summer evening nightcap under festoon lighting.
Scrolling through photos of people eating lobster on a sunlounge in Mallorca while you're huddled in front of a bar heater eating pot noodles does not evoke feelings of joy. Oh, you're having freshly shaved truffle on pasta on the Amalfi coast are you? Good for you, I'm standing in the Melbourne cold, waiting for the number 19 tram and trying to dodge the rain-soaked puddles of Saturday night vomit.
Insta-holiday-envy peaked last month when Aussie fashion label Zimmermann threw a party to celebrate the launch of their boutique in Capri. A bevy of beautiful celebs gathered for dinner and created a deluge of glamorous content. As far as Instagram was concerned, there was nowhere to hide in the 48 hours that followed.
If you follow a number of influencers on social media you have most likely copped a barrage of bikini photos with a backdrop of emerald green water (that happens to be exactly the same hue as our envy). You can almost smell the spray tan fumes from here. These swimwear snaps are usually met with a flood of women throwing flame emojis and commenting "HOT!" — presumably in the hope that when it's their turn to post similar photos you'll return the favour. There seems to be some kind of "flames for flames" reciprocal deal going on. The ugly truth is that behind that "HOT!" comment is someone who is secretly hoping you drown in the Mediterranean.
The absolute money shot everyone is aiming for is a picture on a boat. Because as we all know, a boat means you've made it (or at very least you're rubbing shoulders with people who have made it). Every time a yacht pic is posted on Instagram with the hashtag #imonaboat or #boatlyfe, a collective groan can be heard around the world.
Perhaps from June to August it's best to delete social media from your phone. Unless it's your turn for a Euro summer vacay, in which case it's time to get your own back and litter social with smug holiday pics. Just be aware that if you don't get the number of 'likes' you were hoping for, it's because everyone is muting you.
It would be a mistake to think that the vacation spam is going to end with the onset of spring. There is no reprieve. Throughout the year you'll be drip-fed Euro summer holiday photos with the caption "take me back" — which is code for "I was just scrolling through the photos on my iPhone and I found this hot shot that I didn't post at the time".
Take me back indeed. To the time before social media existed and I wasn't crippled with unsightly jealousy every time the mercury dropped.