I can vividly remember the trip to my first music concert and later, to my first Woodstock-style festival. I was 13, perhaps 14 years old at that time. Too early, I think now but back then, I was (in my own opinion) almost an adult! These experiences – it as a revolution of sort. To be and listen closely to the music, uniting in this way with other people. As if the line between ‘me’ and ‘them’ become blurry. As if I discovered at that time a new previously unknown world: the music and the closeness it allows you to experience. I have a feeling that back then, I understood the world to a much greater degree than I do now. At present, I think that as a teenage girl, I was able to simply ‘feel’ more intensely, to feel with the heart.
I miss being capable of feeling this way very much. Feeling that has nothing to do with reading others, their reactions, intentions. Music festivals gave me a sense of freedom in the true meaning of the word. Today, I can’t even tell anymore if I am capable of freeing myself of judging not only others but, primarily, myself. I am learning from scratch how to be a more free person – one that is more present. How to see the world with eyes of a child. A child who I used to be over ten years ago and whom I miss.
To reconnect & not to disconnect
Possibly this comes with age, but I think that this is primarily a matter of the times I (we) live in. I was born in 1994, in the time when virtually no one even suspected that in less than twenty years, everyone will own a device that allows him or her to connect with any place in the world, to watch, read, search for anything we want.
On the one hand, this is a miracle of technology, opening up to mysteries of the world that weren’t that effortlessly accessible until recently. On the other hand, there is also awareness and some nostalgy because ‘back then, things used to be different’. Different but not necessarily better.
Perhaps in one important respect things were simpler back then. We were closer to one another. Here, what I mean is celebrating the moment. Music festivals, for instance! Without smartphones, without tons of photos and video recordings of moments that should be experienced and not solely watched on a screen. It would be much better if we focused on interpersonal relationships instead of on an outfit that must be shared on Instagram. How did it happen that instead of feeling it is easier to remain a passive onlooker even when the magic is right next to us. Why do we think that if sharing more about a person’s life makes it more eventful?
There is nothing inappropriate about capturing moments but wouldn’t it be worth to stop sometimes and just feel alive? Simply feel it. Hasn’t the need to be fashionable and popular become the true pandemics of the 21st century? Isn’t FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) taking away our joy of engaging in simple things? Do we need to make one story after another to report that we are having a good time (a better time than we are having in reality, obviously) even from places where we go to feel something? Who do we want to fool?
That’s (not) hot
Isn’t the new documentary about Paris Hilton enough evidence for us, with the celebrity admitting her entire persona to be an imaginary business product, and that in truth, she struggles with overcoming traumas of her past by not sleeping, partying all the time, and, most of all, being very unhappy deep inside? Is this the purpose of it all – to sell one’s life and ‘exist’ in opposition to what we really feel? For what? For being ‘fashionable?
I love watching my parents who have no need to share their lives with the world… And I am a bit jealous of it, as I myself belong to the generation condemned to be living in FOMO. More so, a generation that is building its personal brand based on who they are on the Internet. How can we manage to not go insane, how can we find the balance? Should we take a flight to a hip holiday destination and get awesome Instagram pics, or maybe we should go to the first post-pandemic Beyonce’s concert only to make a story about how much we are enjoying ourselves, while in reality, we are standing with our smartphones reporting the concert on live to our followers? Will it makes us feel better? And is it what ‘seizing the day’ is all about?
Closer to one another
As I have mentioned, I envy my parents’ lack of awareness of this odd pressure most young people decide to be part of; and not only young ones, I must admit. Almost everyone is part of it, to a greater or lesser degree, sometimes more consciously and sometimes less. Sometimes automatically, without a thought. I wonder where it will lead us to. Perhaps, paradoxically, it will make us closer to one another. Perhaps we will miss building interpersonal relations. According to the oldest Harvard research on happiness, they are the key determinant of a good and happy life.
Many of us wonder what the post-pandemic reality will be like; whether aside from economic changes, a breakthrough will also take place within a man. The pandemic will be over one day (the sooner the better!). Will these months spent without being in close contact with other people make us put smartphones away and decide to simply be more present in reality, instead of being fashionable on the Internet? I wish this to us all.