A personal note on virtual blues
With another lockdown looming over Poland once more, it is somewhat nebulous to foresee what lies ahead for people like myself. In terms of job opportunities, finding ourselves, or meeting the golden standard of a partner, and seeing whether settling down is an option available to us at all. Is the advent of virtual reality irrecoverably intertwined with its physical twin finally upon us?
Virtual realities are a hot topic these days, for obvious reasons – the pandemic, accelerating mobility, Brexit, the advance of AI and Machine Learning, and so on, and so on. But in what sense is our reality physically constrained if digital and offline lives are interchangeable already and one cannot live without the other?
As a young adult, I navigated my private life in new cities by hijacking Facebook groups and becoming a part of the conversation, asking out people for movies or a proverbial coffee. With shops closed off, countries scared of not getting the vaccine on time, how is our youth supposed to play out when the pandemic refuses to be kept at bay?
Having focused all my efforts in the last few years on building myself, my career and organising my life around corporate values, it does leave a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Especially whenever I think just how many people I fell out of touch with because Messenger could not convey the other person’s tone of voice, a shrug of a shoulder. And, how many Tinder matches I never got to meet beyond initial messages as I desired to experience the chase much more than actually meet someone.
I am a big fan of dystopia, don’t get me wrong. It is a different position to speak from. However, if you are the one perpetually stuck thinking of yourself as being younger by two years, years lost beyond recognition to the pandemic. It puts many plans on hold and yet teases out hope for a future marked by greatness. A way to set up the scene for your grandkids and friends, we lived through the catastrophe which happens once every century and which was not taken seriously when first announced! It never is, we tend to react with psychological repression, and we are always somehow taken by surprise.
Will technology be taken straight from corporate boardrooms and seldom online events back in 2019 really lead us to connect come 2022 or 2023? Or will our generation be left with big gaps in emotional maturity, with clubbing, coffee dates and movies becoming dusty nice reminders of what could have been the happiest moments in our lives, elusive and ephemeral when it was so easy to sleep in and forego them to apply for the next great Grad Scheme or scholarship?
I was planning to go back to university in 2021. But I will wait to meet people live. Someday.