The Doors That Never Close: Connecting Generations.
I've made a new friend! A new lovely human being I have connected with.
I must clarify, and not in a defensive way, that I am not starved of friends.Far from it. Like many people, I sometimes wonder if I have over-connected. There are not enough dates in the diary to give all the energy I would like to the connections I have already made.
So why am I excited about this new connection?
Because...she is the sliding door version of me! The parallel version of what I may have become. If I had opened a different door.
It's too early to ask her if can use her name in this post. So, let's call her Parallel.
So far I know that Parallel was born a few weeks after me, she grew up in the same area as I did, and like me, went on to study law at university in the boom time of 1997-2000.
This time period is relevant.
It means that we are now both approaching a milestone birthday! This makes it an ideal new connection. Why? Because it is both comforting and fun to reminisce about the early period of our lives, growing up as teenagers in the nineties; a magical hybrid time, when the internet was only just about taking off. When the digital age was still an exciting promise. When our innocence blinded us to the looming dangers it had waiting for us in the not-so-distant future: the opportunity and intrusion of social media.
We could still go out without the fear of being snapped or papped. We could party, learn and experiment, all in the blissful space of freedom!
However, from 2000, our parallels stop:
Parallel went on to work in the field of Law.
I went set up a photography business.
Parallel got a cat. She now has five.
I got a dog. Never to be replaced.
Parallel fell in love, had her heart broken, and then fell in love again. And the heart breaker - the guy - the one that got away, still lingers. Because he can. And far too easily.
I fell in love in 2001 and got married in 2003. I still am married, and to the same guy too!
And it is the last part of our sliding door story that most interests me. Because, after a couple of hours of sharing post 2000 stories - and a couple of bottles of wine - I realised that Parallel, like so many people my age, had gone on to experience the challenges of dating in the digital world, in a way that I never did.
My only experience with dating text messages has been with my husband, when we were first dating. Before that it really was a case of after-shave soaked love letters and the occasional email whilst travelling. Oh and don't forget the mix tapes too!
My first love experiences all went away, quite easily. The shared history will always exist, but it isn't a digital one.
Parallels love experiences are much harder to break. They have an exhaustive digital history.
I told Parallel how much I have chanelled this idea into my writing before even meeting her. How I was very aware that my love experiences would have been very different if I had opened a different door, like she had. Or, if we had both been born into the next generation: the millennials.
Parallel agreed. It's not easy trusting your heart to someone. It's even harder when that connection is broken, but the channel of energy between you is so easy to keep open.
Thank you digital age. You have opened so many doors. But you have also left too many open!
Read on to hear how I have incorporated this into a key story line in Book one . Where a mother and a daughter - two different generations connect through the time lines.
Brief introduction: Erin:
Erin is 15 and feeling very neglected from her parents whilst they tend to the needs of her sick brother. She finds her mother's diary from 1995 and is shocked by how naive her mum was back then. And also how much easy it was for her mum to experiment in a much freer age. She finds an empty journal and writes back to the teenage version of her mum in a bid to find a way to connect with her again:
How would you have coped being fifteen in 2018 I wonder? You CAN’T avoid anyone in my timeline anymore. It’s almost impossible to move on from anyone or any interaction (however innocent) because they never really go away! Once you have made a connection with them, once they know your name and can track you down on one of your profiles, that’s it! You are forever in the periphery of their thoughts and you in theirs. Trust me – it’s exhausting!
Can I even describe it to you, the way we live now, in a world where we get up and operate like little robots obsessed and controlled by our little machines. Devices that we stupidly fill with crazy apps that rule our lives and connect us to all these networks we unwittingly form with people we can’t even remember meeting or wish we never had! If you had met that older guy in 2018 Stefomum… he would be following you on twitter, facebook, snapchat and instagram and you wouldn’t even know about it! You wouldn’t have the luxury of saying “it wasn’t going anywhere” because you wouldn’t be in control of it. That ONE KISS you shared with some older married guy (divorced or not) would have been caught on a phone, saved, shared and stored as ammunition against you without you EVEN realizing it. You would have been literally tongue-tied with him forever by the power of the internet! Take that 1995!
Indeed - Take That 1995!
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And yes I am connected in this digital age too :)
Twitter : @tandro_trilogy