I'm falling behind. I think maybe this is a common feeling in the age of popular social media, the sense that your friends and followers are having weightier and more meaningful experiences than you are. Maybe it's my own strain of garden variety FOMO. Or maybe it's that I haven't written a blog post in close of five months. Or both. Some combination of unexpressed thoughts — I have no mouth yet I must scream — and humility at seeing what everyone else is up to these days. People I know and love are getting married, laying in firewood, having family reunions, running for congress, wearing outrageously classy outfits, playing in symphonies, and more.
It's trite to list up all these things, but part of my sense of frisson is that a "like" button doesn't do nearly enough to express how happy I am at these events. It's not FOMO in the sense of keeping up with the Joneses, but in the sense that I really wish I could time-hop between all these difference scenes and contribute something, or at least applaud. It makes me feel sad and weirdly guilty for having my own little private (lovely awesome) weekend getaway, and not being able to share in all this other goodness that's going on.
But again, this is hardly a unique sensation. Actually, feels a lot like this blog post I wrote five years ago about how I felt I was losing my edge, but just a little more mature. Well-aged you might say:
There was a time — circa 2001 - '03 — when I was all swagger, taking personal pride in being an authentic edge-pusher among the edge-pushers. I sneered at hipsters for lack of creativity in the burbling North Brooklyn scene. I scoffed at freaks for their lack of participation out at Burning Man. I hassled any and all established and/or successful people ("success" based on whatever metric you like) for their transparent hypocrisies and lack of forward momentum, things that I now realize come part and parcel with making something of yourself.
Gradually, perhaps predictably, those positions have become transposed. Now it is I who am transparently hypocritical, conservative, cautious, mindful of all I've got and not just what all could be.
Man I always take myself seriously, don't I? Wrote that before I got married, settled down, had a kid. Now what am I supposed to do?
Like in the conclusion to the other blog post, the answer is pretty straightforward. I'm supposed to be creative, and when I'm not I get a little stir crazy. I have a meaning in me I want to write out into the world, but my everyday routine isn't getting me there, and if I'm gonna be honest in addition to pent up I feel hella rusty when it comes to self-expression. My words come slow. My muscles lack flex. I struggle to articulate and compel. It's the day-to-day adding up to month-to-month and year-to-year. I'm out of practice. That's what rusty means, after all.
Much as I'd like to in my mind, I can't actually write everyone a multi-page letter about how much I really loved the last photo they shared. It'd be too much work and also a little creepy. And ultimately what I'm feeling isn't about balancing specific acts against one another. No worries whether someone's going to be sad I didn't "fave" their post or anything; we're all grown-ups here. It's about where I'm at on the cosmic ledger of consumption and production, which is something that is within my power to remedy in time. It'll just take a little practice.