Turning Older In Times Of Social Media Perfection

In a world where 6-year-olds build full-fledged apps and 15-year-olds run multibillion-dollar companies and the media relentlessly pushes these marvels into my phone daily, how am I supposed to not feel lost?

I feel late. Not old, late. Late to start learning. Late to fall in love. Late to begin living.

I have been the “late kid” growing up. I missed buses, deadlines, and the beginnings of films. But they never bothered me much. Until recently.

Am I a dinosaur here?

No, it’s not just me. I have read all those posts that say life isn’t a race. But come on, really? Last week I could not fathom that the option to add a link in a story on Insta could be hiding behind an icon that looked like a smiley sticker (You can do better UI design, Zuck). And I felt a strange question washing over me. Am I obsolete? This is how my Amma must feel when I condescendingly explain for the 154th time how to attach a document in WhatsApp chat.

But then, she got to live full five decades not worrying about it.

I already feel I do not understand what my cousins just a few years younger than me talk about. I don’t relate how crushes for them don’t mean the dimples of Maddy or the cool moves of Hritik but some Korean pop stars whose names I can’t even pronounce. When I voice my apprehension about bitcoins to my brother, I sense the same sigh I threw at Appa when he used to say he does not trust online payments. “It’s the future, Chechi.” He calmly explains.

Will the future wait to include me?

In a world where 6-year-olds build full-fledged apps and 15-year-olds run multibillion-dollar companies and the media relentlessly pushes these marvels into my phone daily, how am I supposed to not feel lost? Technology has democratized access to knowledge like never before. Now it’s YouTube videos, not age that makes one wise. And unlike my parents, their go-to defence “we have seen all this, you will understand when you grow older” rings hollow to me. Because no, this world isn’t what I have seen or grown-up in.

Even the pictures I took just a few years back in college seem to have a nostalgia filter applied to it thanks to the staggering upgrade in phone camera standards. When Moore’s law (that predicted technology growth to be exponential) is being spectacularly kicked out by Neven’s law, (which says doubly- exponential growth rate) what chances do I stand?

Love in this time of social media cholera is confounding

The dating phase now is characterized by algorithmic complexity, words like casual dating, red flags, ghosting, and about a million changing rules about how long to wait before you text next. But the in-love phase is as filmy as it can get.

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Everyone in love on Instagram seems to have the perfect partner with just the perfect background music to the perfect reel of their perfect life together. After watching it with envy-induced nausea you check the chat where the double blue ticks on your last sent message snigger at you. The destination is dreamier and the road bumpier.

To fuel it my mom reminds me of just everyone who is getting married. Guess what Amma? I know! I just saw their 246th pre-wedding story. When will my mine arrive? Or was I late to that too?

But it is this Tamasha-inspired dream catcher that gets on my nerves

Whatever happened to the age-old wisdom of “work for a bit more, then you can enjoy.”? Weren’t we supposed to keep following that till we were stuck in the loop and start passing it on to our kids? How is everyone suddenly brave enough to follow their dreams? Will I be the last heir of the rich legacy of people who wait till retirement to be who they really want to be? Because seriously, the onus of being the last software developer/ wannabe writer is too heavy. And when is this dreaded fall for people who enjoyed todays without thinking about tomorrows coming?

For all I can see, they all seem to be well doing stand-up comedy or becoming influencers making 246 pre-wedding stories. While I keep surviving in a corporate job where I am very soon crossing the median age of the level, I am in. Will I ever find the courage to break free? Hmm…no breaking free is easy. I can do it tomorrow. But breaking free and not regret it? Not so sure.

Getting older must always have been hard. That’s why someone invented all that fuss about a birthday. Just as with everything nice like chocolates and summer holidays, kids must have stolen it. And with Qiwu in Chunking express, I wonder “Somehow, everything comes with an expiry date. Swordfish expires. Meat sauce expires. Even cling film expires. Is there anything in the world that does not?” I don’t know. So, for this birthday, I write. I write all I feel. Maybe this will not expire soon.

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