Witty Observations of a 27-year-old with a lot of life to live
Not so long ago, me and my friend Eve were joking around on a train to London, when our conversation got serious. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and her face twitched in that cute way it does every time she says something that she wants you to listen to.
‘Eric, do you realise you are addicted to social media?’
Now, it’s not the first time someone has said that I’m addicted to my phone. I can remember friends telling me this even before phones had social and dating apps, even before games were in colour, even before any of my friends had an actual device (and so I used mine to call my grandmother on break time).
I can’t explain my fascination with my phone. Perhaps it is a subject better left to the care of professionals – however, I remember that I always liked the idea of talking. I had an old dial phone in my room (a dumpster dive find – something that I would also continue to do in my adult life) and I called myself often, pretending I was vacationing in the south of France, pretending I had won the lottery, pretending my sister’s husband had gone missing (I blame the telenovelas me and mother used to watch).
As phones advanced, my addiction did also – becoming more specific, more polished. And since I delete all dating apps every 15 days, there is one thing and one thing only that drains the battery life of my smartphone. The new capital sin – Instagram.
Now, I love Instagram. I first got my account in 2012 when my HTC was smaller than the palm of my hand and it was still cool to post photos with frames and I have never looked back. I sometimes go through my photos as I imagine people in the 90s went through photo albums. ‘Ah, remember that trip? Remember that really cute bartender that told us where to go out in Berlin? And that Halloween outfit that to this day I have never been able to match in success? (Regina George, 2017, imagine my beard and a pink Primark skirt).
It’s not only what I have shared in photos though. It’s what others have shared too. When ‘Stories’ first became available, I remembered that I said to anyone that wanted to hear: ‘It won’t last’ (which is a good rule of thumb if you want to predict success – I have also been against DVDS, the new XBOX and the removal of the home button).
Since then, I have seen friends go from drunks to spouses, from spouses to drunks, from fun and flirty to boring and dry, I have seen coming outs, going outs, making outs and the odd fierce and unstoppable argument between best friends that go too wild at Polo. I have seen people get fired and get jobs, loose grandparents and have babies, launch businesses and announce a surprise move to Guatemala (Good luck, chick!).
And I love it all, I’m addicted to this information, to the ease it appears in my hands. I’m addicted to the friendships that were meant to last one sleepless night in Iasi and that lasted far longer than any of us expected. More than that, I’m addicted to these people that no longer mean what they did but whose lives are still full of meaning. To the people whose art I admired, whose clothes I envied, whose style I wanted to emulate.
But what I’m meant to do with all this information? What feelings am I meant to have towards all these people, some of which could not identify me in a row of suspects? What if this information is keeping me away from the lives of those, I want to be close with?
I don’t think I have the answers. But recently I have tried to practice the art of letting them go. Not with scorn for their new lives or any bad feelings (even if their new boyfriend is much cuter than me) but to let them just go to that marvellous place I often can’t find. My memory.
And however, many unfollows later, something in me feels more relaxed. It must be okay to limit the amount of energy, of goodwill and good intent to the ones that would show up at your funeral or at least would have a very good excuse. Perhaps my own self-care begins with prioritising myself, saying goodbye to Rita and putting the phone down…at least while Eve is watching.