In this age of immediacy, we crave constant feedback. We send a text message, then we stare at our phones, readily expecting them to vibrate, to ding, to acknowledge a response of some sort from the person we swear must be on the other end of the tenuous connection. We post a tweet, then we hold our breaths waiting for that first person to retweet it, for that spark of communication that tells us we have been accepted.
Because it really is all about acceptance, isn’t it?
When I was in elementary school, at gym time there was always this anxiety. That’s because the gym teacher would put us in a long, thin line, and pick two kids who were suddenly team captains. Then they, in turn, would pick each kid one by one that they wanted on their team. Inevitably I was last, or second to last (thank god for that kid with the inhaler), and my self-esteem would take a massive hit. Each and every time.
Just for once I wanted to be Kid A. I wanted to look up in surprise as my name was called before anyone else’s, to raise my hands in triumph. But it never happened. So I began to hate gym class. I began to get acid in the pit of my stomach when I thought about it. That was no way to live. And yet, here and now, there is a new kind of acid we get in our stomachs, and this new social revolution is to blame. Or maybe it is we who are to blame.
Because we all want to be Kid A. How many likes did our latest Facebook post get? Who else is sharing our Spotify playlists? Why haven’t our friends texted us back within five seconds? Is something wrong? Is their house on fire? Have they *gasp* left their phone behind to melt in the flames?! We finally exhale when our phones eventually vibrate, telling us everything is still right with the world. Telling us we aren’t last to be picked for a kickball team.
Patience is a thing of the past. Why can’t it happen now? Why can’t we be loved now? Now, now, now! If it doesn’t happen now then it’s irrelevant. If we can’t get instant feedback it means our lives are meaningless. Maybe it’s time we take a breath without holding it, just to feel it go through us, to feel how calm we can be when we’re not living between moments. We don’t have to be the top dog, the best in class, the one with the most likes. We can be our original selves and be okay.