Love in the Digital Age
Stashed somewhere in the back of my mother’s storeroom, nestled between my grade school report cards and every doodle my brother ever drew, are a stack of letters and cards, their edges fraying. They don’t see much daylight anymore, but ever so often, my father will talk fondly of them. Of all the cards he and mom wrote to each other in their yearlong courtship. Of how they waited for the mailman to deliver those letters, and how phone calls (STD in their case) was more of a once-in-a-month affair with the entire family as audience.
I try to relate, but honestly, it’s tough. If I feel like talking to my better half, I could call, SMS, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. If you were slightly better with technology than I am, your list would be the double mine! And if one doesn’t feel like calling, a little online stalking is always an option… Facebook check-ins, Instagram posts, Twitter update.
In today’s digital age, we’re sinking in choice. While we have innumerable means of communication, we have lost the skill to communicate. Our expressions of love last as long as one’s phone battery, stolen glances are replaced by a string of emojis, and we’re so busy ‘liking’ our partner’s social media posts that we often forget to tell them we love them.
So going right back to where I started, it is tough to relate. I can’t imagine waiting days to be able to hear from the one I loved. And what if you got into a fight? By the time your smart-aleck comeback reached its recipient, the point would be kind of lost! But on the flip side, when you do get a chance to talk, meet or even write, would it not command your complete attention? A dinner date would mean food and conversation, not photographing the food and thinking of a hashtag, while the dish in question is getting cold in a corner.
It’s that time of the year when we’re all busy making and breaking resolutions. These swirling thoughts are a good starting point for me! Maybe, in 2018 I can promise myself to forgo the virtual world in favor of the real one. A phone-free dinner with my husband once a week, a postcard to my parents when I’m holidaying… I’m not quite sure. It needs some thought but my I’ve got like a zillion notifications on my last Facebook post! I wonder who all liked my post…