When I was younger, I was keenly aware of three kinds of adults: those who were ultra-hip and tried very hard to blend in with the cutting-edge tenth graders; those who were drastically behind the times and still stuck in circa 1970 attire; and those who were somewhere in between.
I have no aspiration to return to high school. I’m happy to be my age and don’t need the affirmation of the “cool kids” to know I’m a great woman. However, as I’ve grown older, I’m increasingly aware of how easy it could be to slip into Sally Seventies’ shoes: lose track of what’s shaping our trends or dismiss those trends entirely and you could lose touch with the modern times.
Increasingly, the ability to stay on top of “what’s hot” is not just about knowing your fashion, your hairstyles and your tastes in music; technology has taken center stage in defining the times.
A few years ago, my brother David and I were hanging out and he opened up his laptop to check something on Facebook. At the time, I was not on Facebook and didn’t even know what it was. I fired questions left and right about the site, its usefulness and asked questions, such as:
* Why would you want to post updates on what you’re doing? Don’t your friends know, and who else really cares?
* Do you want everyone else to know all of these tidbits about you?
* Aren’t you afraid that those pictures are going to fall into the wrong hands?
However, a year later I found myself logging on to Facebook and setting up an account. At first, I was confused. And then, slowly, it started to make sense. I began to enjoy it. I had fun reading up on the lives of friends whom I had lost touch with or seeing pictures from the party I wasn’t able to attend.
Flash forward a couple of years and the world is buzzing about a new communication trend. As with Facebook, I really didn’t understand Twitter and tweeting. Yet I signed up…and still I was stumped. In fact, I agreed very much with a colleague of mine that it felt as if you were at a very cool cocktail party with very cool people who were talking about interesting topics, but you’re the nerdy wallflower in the corner making conversation with the guacamole – increasingly questioning what’s so “cool” about these folks after all.
And then one day, it all came together. I figured out which people I want to follow and started having more people follow me. I started to realize that Twitter is becoming a revolutionary way to share information and connect with like-minded individuals.
For so many reasons, I’m glad for my perseverance in these trends. Without them, I would have never known what happened to Becky Gordon – a childhood friend, or I wouldn’t have been able to track down my favorite college professors. I also wouldn’t have been one of the first to read today’s TIME 100 or been given coupons for free wine and cupcakes!
But even more important than that, I’m staying abreast of the way the world is turning. I’m not giving in to the tendency to find comfort in the familiar and discomfort (and therefore avoidance) in the new.
Quite honestly, I have no real desire to “be cool” anymore – I left those days behind at Rock Island High School. But I admittedly love getting to know about the trends and giving them a shot. Without doing so, I’d never be writing this blog. I would be able to email my friends. Heck, I’d probably still be trying to call all of you using two soup cans connected by string after sending a note to you on a stone-chiseled tablet!
Today’s Juicy Olive tip of the day: give the new a chance. You don’t have to embrace it. You don’t have to love it. But like those peas and spinach you just KNEW you’d never like, just try a few bites. You never know, it may change the way you view modernity. And if not, then when you’re knocking it, you’ll be doing so having been there and done that.
Want to follow me on Twitter? Please do! I’m @HarkerGirl and would love to tweet you!