A Fate Worse Than Facebook

by Courtney Sirotin on May 8, 2013

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I’m one of those people who never uses Facebook. This is for a number of reasons:

1. I’m introverted in large social gatherings. I think Facebook qualifies as such because I experience the same anxiety when I click around it and see all the heated discussions going on as I do when I walk awkwardly/aimlessly around a lively party. I’ll just stand over here in a corner, thanks.

2. I feel weird posting little snippets of what I’m doing or saying on a regular basis. It seems like it would feel boastful or boring, depending on the day. (Don’t ask me how this is different from blogging…maybe because I can spew more words in a blog post, so no one or two sentences have the pressure to be important.)

3. Knowing at-a-glance what every single person I have ever known is doing stresses me out! I don’t think humans were designed to process this amount of social information. Facebook makes me question my own choices and compare myself to others and I don’t like the way that feels. Also, its all glorified. I think it should be called BoastBook.

4. I’m a little lazy. You have to be either all in or all out when it comes to Facebook. My family and friends know that I am never on Facebook so they aren’t offended or surprised when I miss a bunch of pictures they’ve posted, but if I were on Facebook just a little bit, I would feel awful if I missed “liking” pictures of my niece and nephews. Its easier just to never go one it, unless I have something specific to accomplish. (For the record, when I am on Facebook, I do love looking at pictures of my family!)

Anyway, last night I experienced a fate worse than Facebook. Sometimes, digital media — the kind of content that never goes away — can elicit very strong and confusing emotions. The culprit? Hotmail. Let me explain.

We are trying to increase our life insurance policies because the ones we opened ten years ago are sorely inadequate. The underwriting process for this involves providing detailed health records from the last ten years. This is a ridiculous request for someone like me because I never go to the same doctor twice. Anytime I need to see one, I just search for a new provider and pop in. Even during my pregnancy I went to three different OBGYN practices. I also switch health insurances and move constantly. Oh, and I don’t keep medical records. Basically, I’m failing as an adult. Anyway, I tried to piece together a timeline of my medical history last night but it was full of giant holes. For example, I’m sure I must have seen a doctor between the years of 2005 and 2009, but I have no clue where to find that information. I’m not even solid on where I lived during those years!

My best bet in collecting this data is to comb through my old emails. Luckily, in this way, my digital laziness sometimes pays off because I never, ever delete my email. I don’t even delete spam. For example, I have over 60,000 emails in my Gmail account right now. Every six months or so I will pick a random search term like “Obama”, one that I don’t think will be connected to any important personal emails, and delete all the messages that come up under that term. Ten thousand emails or so will disappear, but it hardly makes a dent. I guess I’m a bit of an email horder.

Anyway, I opened my Gmail account in 2006, but I need to go back even further that than to find all the medical records for this dang life insurance thing, so I was forced to break back into my long ignored, long forgotten, Hotmail account. Oh dear…tapping into that time capsule and searching through old emails from my early twenties was a major, major head trip! Maybe I was just tired, but after sledging through hundreds of emails, ranging from diary entries and task lists to angst-ridden messages going back and forth with boys, my head was spinning. I also found old pictures of myself and half-finished writing projects that dropped me right back into the drama of my life a full decade ago.

One thing I realized, looking back at what I was doing back then and the choices I was making, is how much my decisions back then ended up impacting my life and where I am now. It seemed arbitrary at the time, and people often tell young people that the angst they experience in the early years of their life isn’t worth stressing over, but sometimes the choices we make in our early twenties end up shaping every single aspect of our adult lives. Who we choose to date, where we choose to work and the personal development we choose to go through leads us on a long distance trip to where we end up in our thirties. I supposed this never ends, and what I am doing now is leading me to where I will be in my forties, but I think the choices we make in our twenties carry more weight and truly set our course, because by forty people typically have at least some major aspects of their lives figured out.

Anyway, I didn’t like looking through those old emails. Frankly, they stressed me out. There are so many unkowns when you’re in your early twenties and a desperation to figure everything out. Reading my own words from back then brought all my fears and anxieties right back to the surface. (I’m so glad I’m done dating, for one thing. That was a trip.)

I did find a few special things in my old emails. For example, I found a book I had started writing and totally forgot about. I reread it and enjoyed what I had written back then so much! The only thing I didn’t care for was this one line I wrote where I noted that a person is young until they are 37 and then they are old. I stated it very matter-of-factly, and seeing as how 37 isn’t too far off from me now, that’s a little annoying. Maybe I’ll just chalk it up to the short-sighted innocence of youth. Everyone knows you’re not old until your 47. (Just kidding!)

So here we are. My head is swimming in a pool of archived emails and I’m ready to get out of the water. I hope I can figure out where I had a physical back in 2003, but I’m not holding out much hope. Turns out I’m much better at documenting my love life than my medical history. Priorities, right!? Anyway, applying for life insurance isn’t doing anything for my mental health, but don’t ask me to prove it; I don’t keep that kind of documentation.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

DONNA CUSHING May 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I actually enjoyed. Reading this post a lot. I hope lots of prole get the chance to read it. It gave me a lot to think about!

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RUSS May 14, 2013 at 2:43 am

Bottom line, with all you guys out there and now 9 Grand kids to keep track of, it is the ONLY way to see what’s going on in the life and times of “Ya’ll”. Love You, Russ

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