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Thursday, August 4, 2016

GETTING OLDER WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

I remember a time when even having your mobile phone on the table was considered inappropriate. Or when watching TV was enough to keep you entertained.
I even a time when waking up didn’t involve groggily grabbing for the nearest device in order to see what I’ve missed during the night. I might sound like a grumpy old person, but in reality, I’m just a grumpy 35 year old.
Contrary to all the messages we receive in a youth obsessed society, I’m actually enjoying getting older. I’ve never been afraid of age. In fact, I think I’ve spent most of my life wanting to be older. In my 20s, most of my friends were in their 30s and 40s. I had more in common with them – on a soul/intellectual level – than people my own age.
The interesting thing that happens when you start to age, is that while you may not feel the age thing yourself, you experience it in terms of distance. Distance to what’s cool and prevalent in popular culture. Distance to friendships that have ended – for one reason or another. Distance to how people perceive you, and your age, and how you feel about yourself.
When you see people get the ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ look flash across their face when they find out your age, but you feel fitter, healthier and stronger than at any other point in your life, it’s a bit confusing. But secretly, it’s also a little liberating.
You realise how stuck they are in preconceived notions that crumble when put under even the tiniest amount of scrutiny. It’s like a feminist feeling empowered by any Beyonce faux-empowerment song. Your idea of what it means to be an independent woman (in the world of Beyonce), and the reality of actually being an independent woman (in the world we actually live in), are two completely separate things.
And so it is with aging. The reality is quite a bit different to the idea of it. Which in many ways is a good thing. If you’re scared or worried about getting older, you don’t need to be. It’s won’t be as bad as you think it might be.
I guess for me, as I get older in this time and space in history, getting older blurs with all of the changes that are taking place in our lives because of social media and digital connectedness (or more accurately, perceived connectedness). Simple ways of being, manners and etiquette from even half a decade ago, have leapfrogged and morphed into things I don’t recognise – and honestly, don’t like.
It’s not just something I don’t like in others. It’s something I don’t like in myself.
I remember a time when I wouldn’t even take my mobile phone out to dinner. I remember a time when I would watch TV – with no other screens around me. And I remember a time when I would wake up and not madly dash towards a device.
Is any of this helping me, making me healthier, or happier? Is society broken and we’re all too distracted by what’s on our screens that we aren’t even noticing? Or am I just getting older?….

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