This is the final note I posted on Facebook, archived for myself, I guess.
Most of our parents came of age in the 1970s, or "me decade." This phrase (coined by novelist Tom Wolfe) means (to quote all-knowing Wikipedia, which is iron-clad truth) that the 70s brought a "general new attitude of Americans towards self-awareness and away from history, community, and human reciprocity awareness." For some reason "finding oneself" has gone from generally not existing to apparently the most important activity one can partake in. Want to graduate college, get a job, settle down, find a place of residence, get married, and have children? That sounds like a plan...BUT WAIT!!! Have you found yourself yet? If not, I suggest you move back in with your parents. milk that as long as you can, and figure things out, dude. But this isn't really information I need to get out there. The 20s have transformed from a time of action and progress in one's life to a stagnant wasteland one wanders through until hopefully the miracle of the 30s happens. A lot of times, though, people do not want this for their life, but our society has changed so much that many have been forced into this position. I realize how fortunate I am to be where I am now, but I also spent a full year of unemployment after college hunkered down in my parents' house, clueless of what to do with myself. I also realize that I could lose everything and end up back in the bedroom with the Indiana Jones poster on the wall.
It's not that everyone even wants to have to "find themself", but even those of us who want to progress, even those of us who do not feel obligated to play X-Box Live in our childhood bedroom all day are forced into a stalemate by life. And let me add a quick note here: I do not think getting married and having children is the end all be all. It's not what everyone wants, it is not what everyone should want, and it CERTAINLY does not make anyone better than anyone else. Any idiot can get married and procreate. I am simply using this as an example of life progress because it is where I am right now and I am awesome and so worthy of your praise and attention, but I think the true goal is simply a sort of mental self-sufficiency where one thinks of one's self as an adult and does not feel like the world owes one more time to pedal one's bike with the kickstand down--finding one's self.
The only way you can actually find yourself is by the process of living. Feeling like you need 30 years to become an adult is not the way to do it. This is the world we live in now.
We live in the world of Facebook, where it is important to state your mind and who you are, to form an identity out of the things you can squeeze out of your keyboard as you sit alone in the dark. Or light. Dark just sounds more dramatic. Everything is about identity now, and Facebook is simply an outgrowth of that. In case you haven't caught on to what I am attempting to acheive in this clumsy segue, I am saying that Facebook is only an outgrowth of our society's continued trek inward--a trek away from community, but toward spending years locked inside ourselves in a desperate flailing solo waltz of self-expression. Yes, that was a dance metaphor. I could have said tango or samba, but for some reason waltz sounds sadder and more hopelessly isolating.
Instead of actual community, living one's life for others, we live our lives to satisfy the growth of ourselves. Facebook is a perfect tool for this lifestyle because no community is actually neccessary. Though we think of Facebook as a community, it is nothing but a digital mirror of ourselves, our wants and desires, a carefully sculpted view of how we want others to see, perceive, and understand us. Instead of dealing with the uncomfortable act of holding a conversation, we can say that we "talked" to someone when what we really mean is, someone commented on one of our pictures and said our shirt looked cool, and we said "thank you." This is not a real conversation. No one is looking into our eyes, no one is seeing the subtle motions of our mouth and faces, no one is reading our body language. There is no art to it.
The same society that has produced a generation of self-reflecting wanderers has also produced a system of communication in which it is never neccessary to step out of your own head.
As the age of growing up is pushed to the point where our bodies are obviously already degenerating by the time we feel we have reached it, Facebook and other social networking websites only further our inabilities by encouraging us to stay in a place where we don't have to. We don't have to build an actual support system or lay a foundation beneath it because we can just construct one from electronic, wi-fi fables.
Maybe it is time to return to a place of closeness and reality with one another where we can lift each other up, support each other, raise organic vegetables in self-sustaining gardens, feed the children, save the babies, drive cars that use love as fuel, end war, dance around a hill holding hands and spinning in a circle as flowers fall from the sky and Julie Andrews serenades us from the top of a mountain, and live in a pineapple under the sea, absorbent and yellow and porous. It is time to be human again.