I’ve always written some sort of New Year message for my blog, usually a retrospective of the year with a nod to the new one. This time though, I want to share something a bit different with you.
I want to tell you a story of a woman – let’s call her Sue. She lives in a nice enough home with her reasonably handsome husband and healthily opinionated children. She has had a fulfilling career, enjoys her sociable metropolitan life and – for the most part – looks and feels pretty damn good.
But Sue’s biggest issue is that she grew up with the promise that this world we live in was her oyster. Her parents and teachers applauded her, opened doors for her and generally made her feel that almost anything she wanted to achieve was possible. And this really is THE issue. Always looking for that next mountain to climb or that sea to sail, she ignored any of those complexities inside her head. Questions of existence, getting to know her true self and understanding the power of thought, feeling and how they connect to our experiences were all left unanswered.
And because today – more than ever – the digital landscape is placing so much emphasis on promoting the notion of each of us individuals as brands, this spells trouble. It’s so obvious (plus extremely concerning) that social media has fundamentally changed the way we are all growing, especially for those who have economic resources. This focus on individualism – making it, selling it, being the best, having the best – quite frankly, life has become one big performance. And the irony in all this is that I keep hearing just how empty it is making others feel.
On the surface, Sue feels just fine. Deep down, she and most of us digital natives have a danger of feeling empty.
So while I wish you all, my readers, Happy New Year, I just wanted to say – enjoy your time online but do make sure it isn’t consuming you. In contrast, by consuming something altogether different, you might just find that pearl.