Y2K – Looking back and Forward

Almost twenty years ago at midnight clocks were waiting to strike twelve at the start of a new millennium. I remember my friend Iain’s sister asking me ‘how will we know if the world has ended’ – she like many others were caught up in the ‘millennium bug’ hype. With Iain himself saying the first words I heard of the year 2000 – ‘I can’t get my cork out’ (he meant champagne for those of you with dirty minds). The world was changing with every bang of fireworks I saw rippling across the city, and almost felt an innocence was being lost (not sure if was my own, the world or both).

Twenty years on and the world continues to change, with one step forward and two backwards as we no longer accept old ways and embraced new ones (not always for the better). I am still a free spirit that does not like being caged, and finally found the key to that freedom as rid myself of the beast in my head that let negativity to self hate make their own nests. We have never been so connected, but yet I feel more apart than ever. The 2010’s were a frustrating decade as well, but surviving the battles just make me more determined than ever to bite back with karma at my side.

As to the next twenty years, what will they bring? We don’t have the jet packs to flying cars we thought we would have, but the robots look less human yet Siri and Alexa are in many ways the things of science fiction books. We need to continue to focus on the good in life, not comparing our lives with others, and be empathetically compassionate. Fear has been allowed to suffocate us for too long, it’s time to fight back with light to conquer those that want darkness and slaves of us.

Meantime, whatever it brings we are stronger together than apart, and hope the start to the third decade of the 21st century brings us all happiness, good health (mental and physical) and all we could wish for.

© Fi S. J. Brown

A Fakebook of Friends

Facebook – whether we love it or loathe it, is still very much what we think of when discussion is about social media. We add our ‘friends’, at times with the most tedious of connections – you both play ‘candy crush soda’, that lead vocalist in a band you once bought a single of as fancied the vocalist for all of five minutes, the best friend from of thirty years ago at primary school, and our uncle’s dog Henry; giving a whole new definition to the word ‘friend’. However, isn’t the most tedious and fake friend on the entire network Facebook itself? Although Myspace gave us all one friend to begin with – Tom, we are not all automatically friends with or following Mark (Zuckerberg), but the sheer vastness and power of Facebook, has it now become the ultimate fake friend?!

It only takes a few days away from the site to realise quite what a stranglehold it can have on our lives. Although, some cannot go for more than thirty minutes without checking, a few days away may sound like a lifetime! The ‘so called’ friends we have no longer require nurturing or effort, their lives are presented for us to see at the touch of a screen or click of a mouse. If someone ‘defriends’ us it can “oh well their loss” to “why have they defriended me…what did I say/do?”

We end up comparing our lives with ‘our friends’, rightly or wrongly’, and nearly always find ourselves dwelling on the negative aspects. I’m sure some also glee when they read of misfortunes of people they secretly never really liked at high school, as perhaps karma is calling their name. This however can also has a negative impact on our mental health, as see others soar and fly, while we feel confined to a cage (without bars). As we feel we are not good enough, leading to self-isolation and self criticism of our every move and move, as see them through the eyes of this new friend that has taken away our ability to just be ourselves. We crave likes and hearts just to be accepted by others, and some create fantasy lives just to hide the misery, or to seek attention from these 100s of friends we are meant to have, with only one answering us back when we message for help.

So what can we do? The ‘easy’ answer would be delete the app, remove our account, but that is not an answer for everyone. There maybe people we have connected through Facebook that are worth having in our lives, enjoy talking to and seeing what they are up to. Instead, take back our profiles as our own. Posting things we love and hate, if not much is happening in our lives don’t feel we have to update every week or respond to every post that fires us up or makes us cry happy tears. Keep our eyes, and not those of the fake friend that is telling tales behind our back, open – not everything is real just as real life. Be yourself always, your real friends will accept that and be there for you as you would them.

© Fi S. J. Brown