Maybe it’s a generational thing, a millenial thing or maybe I’m just turning the corner and finally getting officially “old”.
I used to love Facebook. Like really, it was my lifeline, my entertainment, my communication tool and my teacher of things in the world from people I had never met. It was exciting and new, it was clunky and slow, and by today’s standards pretty boring.
But I loved it.
That was then…this is now. And not just the recent, pandemic, quarantine now. The now of this decade, this generation of new 30-40 somethings that are jumping back on the Facebook bandwagon now that they have young children to take a million photos of all day long, of every moment of their lives, to share with the world to prove how amazing (or horrible some days) their lives are. Realizing that they are no longer cool enough, or young enough, to continue posting to SnapChat we now get a front row seat into their grownup lives and every milestone or major decision they have along the way.
This is not the sharing community of the early Facebook days, no this is a different kind of sharing community. It’s more of a poll taking, opinion driven, frantic desire for attention.
What should I get for my eight year old for Easter/Christmas/the tooth fairy?
What are you guys doing for…(fill in this blank with just about any holiday/weekend/meal/haircut etc)?
Which shade of grey should I paint my walls?
Which dress should I wear to my husband’s office party – choice a, b, c, d, e or f? (with photos added in a labeled collage)
Seriously Becky, how do you get through your days??
And the worst part of this constant polling for life’s many “challenging” moments (like which door handles/counter tops/stain color should we use for our new cabinets?) is the amount of feedback they receive. So many clicks, votes, suggestions and gushing of “you look amazing in all of them!”
Yes, I’m over 50 but not quite a “boomer”. I’m that middle generation that nobody seems to think about or notice. And usually that’s just fine. My people were there at the start of Facebook, and played all of the games, making Zynga the giant that it is today. Yes, we posted stupid things like “I need a nail! Does anyone have a nail to spare?” “I’m raising my barn and need your help!” and other odd things game related. And it connected us in a way that made us feel neighborly, helpful, needed.
I miss those days in some ways.
But today it’s like an ongoing coffee klatch of remodeling/child rearing/fashion decisions/etc and all I can think is “don’t they know how to google??” Or better yet, pick up a phone and call a friend, like an IRL friend, and ask their opinion. How can you sort through 56 different opinions from people you basically only know through the internet?
Do you really think Lisa, from your sixth grade math class, has better taste than you?
Maybe it’s just me…it’s that independent attitude that my mother warned my past boyfriends about. And she wasn’t wrong. I have opinions of my own, that’s for sure.
And while I like to be asked for my opinion, I guess I like thinking that I’m being asked personally because the other person trusts my opinion, my taste, or my experience about the subject. Not because I’m part of some weird social experiment, along with 126 other people, some that I wouldn’t trust to suggest a toothpaste or a stick of deodorant to me much less what color to paint my home. Or what car to buy.
So…don’t ask me. Better yet, don’t ask anyone. Make a decision and trust yourself.
Live your life on your terms, with nobody else to blame – or give credit to. Choose the paint color that brings you joy, not just because Pinterest told you it was “in” or because everyone in your playgroup used the same shade of gray. Get the sunglasses that you love to see yourself in as your walk past a picture window on the street, or catch a glimpse of yourself in the rearview mirror, and smile. Take your kids to an off the beaten path playground or museum, one that none of your friends have even heard of, and just explore it together, sharing the new uninhibited experience with them without any preconceived expectations..
No expectations, be open to the experience, and form your own opinion.
And when you’ve done those things…take all of the credit!! Definitely. Celebrate your genius and creativity, post about it on Facebook and Instagram, and when asked how you picked that color or that tile or that amazing dress, tell people “I just had a feeling it would work”, or “it brought joy to my heart so I knew it was right for me!”.
Why should your 362 almost anonymous friends and acquaintances on Facebook get all of the credit for you living your wonderful life?
But you didn’t ask me for my opinion on that, now did you?