We are living at a fascinating time. A time when the world is at our fingertips, when knowledge can be obtained within a couple of clicks and when we can organise our lives from a plethora of apps. Our spending, social lives, fitness, education, love lives…all controlled from behind a tiny glass screen. It’s making and breaking us.
I’m one of the last generation of people to remember an age without internet. Letters were written to friends over the summer holidays, hours were spent ploughing through encyclopaedias and textbooks for the answer to a single question and listening to my favourite music involved changing from disc to disc in a Walkman. Who’d have thought that I, that same girl, would a decade or so later be irritated by giveaway “last seen” notifications online or two blue ticks to show a message has been read on WhatsApp? Who could have imagined becoming disgruntled when Google doesn’t bring up the answer you need immediately but requires you to skim articles on the second page of results? Who would have envisaged that anyone would tut over a two minute ad break on Spotify interrupting an endless supply of free music?
I do it. You do it. We all do it. We whine when public wifi is too slow or when we run out of data after a month of incessant internet browsing. Have we forgotten the days of dial up internet? The days when we would have to coordinate with all family members to ensure that nobody wanted to use the phone as the painfully arduous process of connecting to the internet via a cable began. We have become so disgustingly entitled.
The fact that someone has a heart of gold or is thriving at school pales into insignificance if your latest selfie hasn’t received atleast a dozen likes. Our self worth is determined by our online presence. If we don’t have hundreds of followers, filters galore on every photo and a blog documenting our lives, do we even exist?
I love it for what it is. I love that I can lazily keep up to date with acquaintances from school and stalk that guy I fancy from work but have never had the guts to speak to. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t and shouldn’t switch off. Yet somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten how to. We are always available, always connected. Go for a run outside or meet up with friends and indulge in their company alone. Your Facebook notifications can wait. I want to live in an age where technology, social media and the internet enhance our lives. A world where it saves us time so that we can do truly amazing things with our lives not so that we can spend our additional time trawling through our Twitter feeds. Live in the moment.
Appreciate simply just breathing.
I want to live in a world where a smile to a stranger on the train doesn’t warrant an expression of confusion as they work out if they know us. I want that smile to be two strangers seeing one another and connecting for a real moment. I want to sit in a park and see people talking, walking and reading books- not glued to their phones. Yes, we are living at a fascinating time. Let’s just make sure that we are properly living and not watching our detached world unravel behind a screen.