It’s official: I’m old. I have found myself saying back in my day… to my kids & their friends. Remember when we thought our parents’ stories were so boring, like them whining about not having VCRs or Microwaves back in their day? The thing is, I am somewhat grateful I didn’t have some of the things kids have access to these days. All the technology is fantastic for me at this time in my life; I love my iPhone, MacBook, DVR, facebook, etc… But remember way back when we were kids and wanted to talk to someone? We had to pick up a phone, with a long, typically tangled cord attached to it. If we were lucky enough to have a phone in our bedroom, we risked the typical interruption from our parents, who usually started dialing instead of checking to see if someone else was already using the phone. I’m on the phone, Mom. *beep* *bop* *beep* *boop* MOM! I’M ON. THE. PHONE! Good times. Remember pen-pals? I had a pen-pal who resided in France — we hand-wrote letters once/month back & forth. We were essentially strangers and never really talked about much, but hey, we were 9. I also wrote letters to my 3rd cousin who lived in Las Vegas, and we enjoyed being pen pals as well. Although I lost touch with my French pen-pal at some point, I am happy I’ve been able to reconnect with many of my childhood friends and can keep up with most of my extended family via facebook these days. During good times and bad over the last few years, I have learned who my real friends are… some of these reconnections have been incredible, and may not have flourished without facebook. Other negative fools have suffered the wrath of my unfriending. Muwah-haha!
But what if our generation had facebook in high school?! I shutter at the thought of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love facebook today, but it was nice to have a decade off after I graduated high school… it gave my generation a chance to grow up, to learn, to live! I moved to a completely different state 3 years after I graduated, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Although we did have some lonely moments, it was nice to have that separation, so I could fully discover the person I was meant to be with my partner, without interference. Back then, we were able to email, but not everyone checked their email several times daily, like many of us do today.
It’s so fun to run into people I’ve missed (or, let’s be honest here, forgotten!) on facebook; to see where they live today, what adventures they have experienced since we parted ways. I appreciate many of these reconnections… most of us are parents now, so we don’t have time for the petty bullshit anymore. We find facebook to be a generally positive experience. I feel that this new generation who will never experience life without computers or facebook may miss out on that appreciation factor. I can’t imagine living my young life out-loud; the relationship-statuses, the adolescent fighting, awkward photos, status-updates & check-ins… all of that basically published for your accepted friends to witness, judge, comment on, laugh at… what have you. I’m biting my nails, breaking out into an anxiety-induced flop sweat just thinking about it all. High school was hard enough without facebook! Hell, I still face the random friend request from an ex or old friend that sends me through a spiral of awkward memories. And I’ve definitely felt my own heart sink when I’ve been unfriended, or discover the friend who doesn’t accept my friend request. Why? It’s so silly! If someone really feels the need to hold a grudge for something that happened over 15 years ago, that’s their problem. I get over things like that fairly fast though. Like I said, I don’t waste my time with petty BS! But I can’t imagine the magnitude of going through all of this during your teens & early 20s.
So what do my own children have to look forward to? Oy. Well, I’m hoping to keep them off facebook for as long as possible, but I also don’t want them left behind either. It’s such a fine-line! I certainly don’t want them to feel as sheltered as I felt growing up with my strict mother. I want them to be social, and with today’s technology, that will mean facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. It’s a little scary to think about, I want to protect them, and I don’t want to turn into that Mom. Ya know, the one who tries to be their cool friend instead of their parent? Sure, I want my kids to like me, but I can’t deny my responsibilities or my instincts… even though I can’t protect them from everything. And everything is a lot, especially when the world is at their Googling fingertips. At some point, we need to trust that we did a good job raising our kids, trust the wings we give them to fly will be strong enough to withstand any obstacle they will encounter in this crazy world.