As of 20 mins. from now, I will be exactly eleven days away from my 23rd birthday. That’s right, in case my love of all things 90’s didn’t tip you off, I’m a child of the Hammer-pant-wearing, Ghostwriter-watching, TLC-listening era when walkmens were king and Math Blasters was considered the height of computer gaming.
Which puts me smack dab in the middle of my roaring twenties right about…now. So, what does a 20-something girl raised on a steady diet of Sex & The City do on a typical Friday night in this day and age? Well, she tweets. And she eats Mexican food. And she watches reruns of “What Not To Wear.” Okay, so it’s not cosmos and clubbing, beer and bar-hopping or even Ghiradelli and girl talk. It doesn’t require any fancier footwear than the post-work pedicure I treated myself to today. And, it’s not exactly going to make for the most scintillating brunch dish with my girlfriends.
But, it works for me. Or at least, it works for me after this work week. Not that I don’t feel the slightest twinge of twenty-something guilt at not spending tonight making the kinds of memories that I would probably forget were it not for the facebook photos, but the guilt still isn’t a big enough motivating factor to get my ass off the couch, into heels and out on the dance floor.
So, for tonight, I’m staying in. I’m watching reruns. I’m eating Mexican food. I’m gazing mindlessly at my pretty purple toenail polish. In short, I’m vegging out. But, just because I’m vegging out, doesn’t mean I want to spend the night out of touch. I’m not one of those people who likes to hole up, turn off my cell phone and avoid human contact when I’m relaxing. I just want to feel connected to other people, without having to actually deal with them in person. Typing, texting, tweeting are all a more than welcome diversion from the hundredth Wal-Mart commercial I’ve seen on TLC tonight.
That’s why I love social media. It allows me to stay permanently plugged-in, meaning I can unwind without unplugging. Now, I know there are lots of people (yes, I’m talking to you mom) who would argue that you can’t really veg out while you’re plugged in. But, those people probably weren’t spending their teen years staying up late to sneak instant message sessions with their friends after their parents went to sleep. Or going at it on the Gameboy during trips to Grandma’s.
As a matter of fact, my downtime has pretty much been characterized by the glow of a computer screen since I was about six — that’s when my dad brought home our first beige Mac, the site of many a Mavis Beacon lesson and Oregon Trail trek. Now that I’m playing Oregon Trail on my iPhone (the best $4.99 I’ve ever spent, by the way), not much has changed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to read, paint, make jewelery, swim, hike, and lots of other hobbies that would make me sound much less tech-addicted were I to recount them all Dating-Game-style. But, I have to admit, nary a night goes by that I don’t check some sort of screen multiple times, even when I’m out and about.
Some people might see that as cause for concern. Or at least as cause for some sort of special report about how technology is ruining us twenty-somethings. But, I prefer to see it through more #d6466e-tinted glasses. Rather than lament the fact that my Friday night ended up being less Sex & The City and more text and the tweety, I’d rather see it as a good thing. Thanks to the wonders of wireless internet, I was able to veg out on my couch and hang out with my friends. Not that avatars are a perfect substitute for actual humans, but when you just can’t get up the energy to get off the couch and get on the heels, they’re better than nothing. This way, we all get to float lazily on the social stream, without having to get out of the water entirely just to take a little break. And really, isn’t being connected to the world from the comfort of your couch exactly what social networking is all about?
So not every 20-something night has to be all about decadent drinks and crowded clubs. Sometimes it’s okay to socialize in your shorts and slippers. After all, Sex & The City is on TV, and between my friends on Twitter and the beer in my fridge, I think I’ll be fine spending this Friday bar-hopping on my butt.