#Solo#Yolo – Are Such Hashtags Changing Our Social and Personal Lives?

Most times I am not sure why I write what I write but it’s just compelling to do so and thus I indulge. Last I wrote was about the hushed facts of married life and it generated some buzz, seemed like people did really relate to it. Then just recently, I got chatting with a very senior and dear associate and in the course of the conversation she learnt that I live in a joint family with a single operating kitchen. She was quite happy to hear this. Now of course joint families aren’t such an exception in our country yet, but it’s definitely not the norm also these days.
Honestly, I have neither reason nor the wisdom to preach about if people should live together or how and why and why not. But it brings me to wonder about the hushed facts of living together as families. To my limited maturity and experience, I think it would be the art of letting go without resentments.
Interestingly, whether or not families live together, they are definitely together on the Whatsapp and there is a very popular trend of forwarding these lovely positive messages every morning on family groups, friends groups and every possible place. It’s a nice practice in a way, sharing healthy thoughts! And if we can follow it even fractionally its worthwhile, a happy moment accomplished in the day. However, as part of these forwarded quotes, I find there are ‘some’ which assuredly tell you how you need to live your life on your own terms, how what others think of you isn’t that important anymore, how you need to please yourself before trying to please everyone else and more on similar lines.
There is a lot of wisdom and truth in these ‘some’ messages and I personally do find them inspiring. But the essence of them is more subtle and nuanced, covered beneath the layer of words. For our generation and times, which is faster, savvier, more impulsive and self gratifying, these messages can be interpreted very differently. Change is inevitable, and in any generation it comes with both straight and skewed ways.  Earlier it was the social conditioning, now it’s the social media conditioning that drives us. We swear by YOLO (you only live once), FOMO (fear of missing out), SLOMO (slow movement) and constantly do things or don’t do things to conform to fads. There is no personal reflection or motivation about it, only anxiety to tick the trends.
In this race to conquer the phenomenon of media fed lives, we are becoming more and more self centric. The “live your life” message likewise got distorted. It wasn’t about self possessiveness or disregarding others feelings or suit-yourself-attitude to fulfill every whim and fancy of your mind. It was for a quiet personal mindfulness before minding others. It called for contemplation, internalization and then a follow up. But I guess we started taking them literally, at face value. And the result is a visible breakdown in our relationships across the societal spectrum be it joint families, nuclear families or partners and couples. Empathy, thoughtfulness and restraint have definitely taken a beating.
Of course the social fabric in the previous generations was no better, mostly kept stitched only out of fear, dependence, social taboos and pressures but today it is snipping out of self centeredness. Our tolerance levels are much lower, egos are pronounced and sense of individuality is paramount. But sadly this sense of individuality is pretty superficial and incomplete which only categorizes us as either liberals, or feminists, or chauvinists or misogynists or activists. When we adapt or replace certain ways or ideas to cohabitate, it doesn’t diminish anyone’s individuality. It only makes your internal identity more courageous and confident. The earlier societies, atleast in the cultural subtext, might have been prejudiced, repressive and unfair. But today’s is somehow more vain, debauched and self indulgent. Not sure which one’s better.

Just take a moment to soak up our present living ethos. And it seems only right that we argue, put forward our opinions, even fight from time to time, be hurt and cause hurt and do all sorts of human things that we do but above all if we can step outside those moments and situations and let go ourselves and the other from its burden, ready to meet afresh without building silent walls in the heart, we might be really living our very own life.