February Day 25


Our World is obsessed by appearance. Maintaining a veneer of chic and cool reigns supreme, and the downside to this is that many worthy things get jettisoned and cast aside.
Take the word cliche. Even the word is so, well, cliche. Common. Trite. Corny.
The Oxford dictionary even describes it as: ‘a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.’ Ouch.
But sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes we look high and low for a shred of originality, when all the time, a cliche was sitting there, waiting to be of use. Take today, for example. Today was a tough one, mentally, for me. It’s the anniversary of my Grandmother’s death. It’s been 11 years since cancer stormed into her life and stole her away, and I miss her. I miss her laugh. I miss her support. I miss her swearing. Because if you think I drop the ‘f’ bomb with alarming regularity, you should have heard my Nan on a roll.
But there was a cliche that fit my mood when I woke up. A platitude to remedy my woes. “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Yes, it’s tired cliche. But you know what, it’s true. So instead of moping, I called my Mum. I knew as bad as I felt, she would be feeling even worse. But rather than telephoning and using the chat to wallow in grief, I got the three boisterous beings to make the call. Just listening to them laugh and chat to my Mum, lifted my own spirits. I knew how happy she would be to chat to her beloved grand kids, and that in turn, made me feel better too.
And instead of moping around the house when they went to school, I met my two best friends for coffee. We chatted, we laughed. We laughed some more. By the time I left the coffee shop, my spirits were infinitely better.
Human contact…It nourishes our souls. And that’s not just me being all new-agey and spouting bollocks. It’s actually true. A study from Brigham Young University in the U.S, found that meaningful friendships and social relationships improve our odds of survival by 50 per cent. In fact, their study said that being lonely, or having limited social contact, was the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being an alcoholic, more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity. Bloody hell. Those are some scarey stats. I reckon it’s even more alarming when you look at how the fabric of society is shifting. Cos’ in our technology-driven world, we’re having less and less real contact with each other. Nowadays, people are more likely to alert the world that they’re are having a shit day, by updating a status on Facebook or twitter, instead of chatting one-on-one with someone they love and trust.
An article published today by the CBC,(http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/social-media-affecting-teens-concepts-of-friendship-intimacy-1.2543158) says that social media is already affecting teenagers and their views on intimacy. It says teens view their social media friends, (some of whom they haven’t met in real-life) as their social support. The article also says teens view ‘likes’ and feedback on their postings as personal support. According to the research, this causes a loss of real intimate relationships…No shit Sherlock! What the fuck!?
My boisterous beings are no where even near teenage-ville, but the thought petrifies me. Back in the day, pre-net, being an adolescent was murky waters to navigate, but at least you could count on your mates to be there. Not some fake friends you’d never even met.
I get social media, I do. And it can give you a life line to the outside world. I know back when the three boisterous beings were all four-years-old and under, Facebook did feel like a link to the outside world. Especially on those days when a grown-up conversation, getting out of the house, and even having a shower were out of the question. But here’s the thing: social media interaction Vs. human interaction is like comparing a cold McDonald’s happy meal with a gourmet feast at El Celler (Catalan restaurant, voted best in the world 2013). Cos’ when a ‘like’ replaces the belly laugh of a friend, or confiding one-on-one gets swapped for ‘sharing’ with an entire network, then I think it’s time to abandon ship – and I don’t talk in cliches.

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