Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Feeling left out - and it's all social media's fault

Scotland without the rain
I'm not usually a person who feels envious of other people leading what seems to be a more glamorous life. I don't read celebrity gossip magazines and sigh over the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I hear of friends going on round-the-world-cruises or spending their holidays somewhere exotic and it's never bothered me. These things aren't my kind of scene; I'd rather be plodding through the rain and dodging the midges in Scotland.

Even so, there are places and events that I've got in the habit of visiting - Pembrokeshire or Cornwall in spring, somewhere in Scotland during August, north Norfolk in autumn, dropping in for a day or so at Hay Festival, the Book Festival or Fringe in Edinburgh - and for the last year or so I haven't been able to go, as I don't feel I can leave my elderly parents for long.
I'm a grown-up though, so I generally accept that I can't do whatever I want all the time, and I've found that social media has ways of making me feel like I'm still there. People post their holiday photos of empty beaches or quaint fishing villages that I've visited, and we'll chat online about our favourite places or things to do in the area. Events like Hay share Youtube videos of authors' talks so it's possible to sample the atmosphere even when I'm not there. In these ways it' possible to feel part of something even if not actually there ...

... BUT  last weekend I found social media wasn't helping at all -  in fact, it was making me feel more left out!

Last December I went to see a Frank Turner gig in Nottingham and blogged about it. Through Frank sharing it on Twitter I made a lot of new 'virtual' friends who are also fans ... and last weekend most of them headed off to the Lost Evenings festival in London organised by him and his record label, XtraMileRecordings.
 Frank would be playing. 
Skinny Lister would be playing. 
At the free daytime events, some musicians that I actually KNOW would be playing. 

I could still survive because I don't generally go to festivals. My teen had tickets but that didn't worry me; she's often out at gigs that I don't go to. 
But then on Friday, I started seeing status after status mentioning Lost Evenings - travelling there, meeting up for a drink beforehand, how great the gig was - and I really felt I was missing out. This is something entirely new for me. Now (at last) I know what it's like to feel that pressure to be doing what everyone else is. If someone had offered me last minute tickets and a Star Trek style transporter, I'd have been there in a flash. As things were, with no fairy godmother in sight, I decided to stay away from social media to save myself being entirely consumed by jealousy!

I now understand a little better how others feel when they decide they NEED to have or do something because their friends have it/are doing it. Maybe I'm not as mature and 'grown-up' as I thought I was!


  1. Knowing how passionate you are about these acts from your previous posts, I totally get this. I would have wanted to go the ball too if I were you #tweensteensbeyond

    1. It's exactly that 'left at home like Cinderella' feeling that got me, but without the fairy Godmother :(

  2. I think we all have those moments of "I wish I was there" and you are right social media makes that feeling more immediate and it doesn't matter how old we get that sense of missing out is just as acute. I totally get that. I love your list of places you visit. I am from North Norfolk so glad to see it is a must do for you and the Hay festival, love that too. We are looking at going to the Edinburgh fringe for the first time this year with our youngest teen - any tips please let me know. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Now I'm going to be jealous all over again because you're going to Edinburgh Fringe! Seriously though, top tips; wear comfy shoes and check the distances between venues - it can be a LOT further than you think between West End and Holyrood; check the guys handing out flyers on the Royal Mile (there's a special closed road area for it) and the Half-price hut by the National Gallery for last minute special offers. If it all gets too much, head up to Charlotte Square and the Book festival for some peace, quiet and celebrity watching :)

  3. I do have these feelings too Mary and I don't think age is a protective factor for this. I just shut down my social media if it is bothering me. This is a very important point - perhaps us midlifers need to be careful with social media as well as our teens. Thanks so much for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. I think before I've tended to assume it was something just younger folk - the tweens and teens - suffered from, but now I've been affected too, I realise how depressing it can be.