One Way of Growing Up

I have decided to decide that there are various ways of growing up.

An instinctive and reasonable way of looking at ‘growing up’ is to see it as a sort of transformation. In ‘growing up’, a person is changing, becoming something else, and becoming something new and ‘other’. In conventional, connotational best-practice, a grown-up life might include the reality (or appearance) of restraint, responsibility and self-control. Such a life trajectory swings towards stability, maturity and relational stability (stability that is both relative and related to relationships). This is usually seen as a necessary and positive, even noble, thing; by embracing what I would like to call ‘serious living’, a person can open up their life to different modal avenues, experience important milestones (promotion/houses/marriage/births, etc.) and better relate to other ‘serious livers’, thus fitting into society more easily. By growing up, then, a person boldly sheds the nonsense of their past and of their childhood, creates a secure future (or the hope of one) for themselves and for those around them, and leaves skittish folly to their offspring or, perhaps, to their nostalgia. Continue reading

Advertisements

On Facebook and Sleeping Lions

One of the difficult things about Facebook is that it turns what would otherwise be a natural process of fading into mutual anonymity and ‘letting go’ into a conscious decision (the virtual severing of ties) that has to be made; a deviant pomp and ceremony.

A generation ago (I imagine!), you might stay at a hotel and strike up conversation with a couple of people in a bar. It might go well; perhaps you’d write down their address or phone number, and be in touch further down the line, or perhaps you’d forget and go your separate ways. Either way, it doesn’t really matter to either of you; the nice thing was the exchange itself; that moment of company and connection, that space to imagine the fuller details of their life (or perhaps not to) and to then move on back to focusing on the important relationships in your life, and your personal experience, even if that experience was perhaps illuminated or heightened or even forever changed by that particular interaction.

Nowadays, after a pleasant but forgettable exchange, your new hotel acquaintance might happen instead to venture to ask the casual and innocuous (though I think I’ve decided it isn’t always either) question: ‘are you on Facebook?’ Continue reading