Offline is the new luxury (17)

Time spent on your smartphone: how could you pass it more wisely? And what exactly does it do for you? Each Friday, Irene, who together with Astrid is the founder of Flow, writes about this particular issue.

Now I that I have spent a few weeks consciously trying to spend more time offline, I’ve also been regularly appreciating just how nice online time is. And especially the time I spend on my group apps. There are of course the annoying groups, such as the kids’ football and hockey groups. Granted, they’re useful at times, but could we possibly agree upon the fact that when someone writes, ‘Who has the goalkeeper’s bag?’, we don’t need everyone who doesn’t have it, writing ‘I don’t’, or ‘Not me’. Wouldn’t it suffice that only the one who does have it writes, ‘I do’? And yes, I could also definitely do without the guilt trip when parents are being asked for the third time to volunteer for canteen duty, and I’m hiding behind my screen thinking ‘Please please please someone volunteer before I start to look really bad…’

So yes, there are some group apps that suck the life out of you (sound familiar?), but there is also one that is very dear to me. Those of my college friends (once baptized: The Bitch Club). Since finishing our studies, we have spent 25 glorious years sharing our joys and sorrows. And even though we now live in different place all over the country, from Limburg to Castricum and from Utrecht to The Hague, how nice is it that we can share our daily lives through the app. And how happy I am when I can write anything I want after an off-day and receive sweet messages back from them. Or if someone simply writes ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ on a Saturday morning, and little insights into their daily lives trickle through. It feels like a real luxury to be able to share our joys and sorrows with each other in this way.

And at this moment in time, I’m cherishing this group app more than ever. Because there are some pretty big things going on. Friend X’s father is seriously ill, friend Y kissed her date in an alley after a great night out, friend Z quit her job and has made so many beautiful new plans, and then there’s another friend whose partner is terminally ill. We share them all, these highs and lows. The laughter and the tears. And it’s so lovely that everything can so effortlessly be out there. Sometimes it feels crazy to share something joyful while someone else is feeling sad in the hospital. But at the same time, it feels so beautiful and special that we can give each other security and love in this way. #offlineisthenewluxury? You bet it is. But sometimes online is the greatest luxury!