I’m sure it’s within the collective memory of people of a similar age to me, and who used the internet in the same ways during social media’s toddler years, to remember that status updates used to consist mostly of declaring that you’d had sausages and mash for your tea and cryptically posting song lyrics.
Amongst the deluge was the phenomenon of what I guess you can call “status games”; challenges or questions in an update. One I remember in particular was done by messaging the person in question who had posted the status. You’d message with a number, and then they’d post up a small paragraph about you, but only with the number as reference. Apart from that, you’d be entirely anonymous.
I’m a bit of a self-confessed resistor when it comes to things like this; fads aren’t really my thing. I’ve an on-and-off relationship with social media and mostly consider it to be a distraction that takes my attention away from things I’d rather be doing (see: eating too many beetroot based foods, telling myself for the twelfth time to not buy that scarf because you’ve already got seven, and otherwise using my time in the pursuit of knowledge that isn’t even remotely useful at pub quizzes). You may enjoy it, but I sincerely don’t believe humankind spent 10,000 years running away from predators and inventing the wheel so that we can all sit around in our pants on Sunday afternoons idly scrolling. You can, of course, argue that this is exactly the perfect culmination of our technological progress. I’m not going to stop you, do what you want. It is pretty fun to slap a filter over your face so that you can breathe fire (personally it makes me feel like an unstoppable flamethrower of cleansing death and destruction, but for some reason I’m also just not that into it).
Side rants about what social media is doing to our brains and how I’d rather sit down with you and have some Real Human Interaction that doesn’t involve the next step of our evolution into becoming cyborgs (aka the smartphone), what I’m trying to say with that there thinly veiled short opinion piece is that you don’t get where you are now without relying on others to some extent. The people around us shape a lot of what we do and who we are.
A few years ago I listened to a speech by a 90-something man. He gave his advice for younger generations based on his life of experiences and regrets. One thing that stood out to me and has stuck to me ever since like a sticky thing, is that relationships are probably one of the only things we are left with when we reach a ripe old age. Your health and memory can deteriorate to the point you don’t remember who you are or even who they are. But they turn up, because a lot of what you did wasn’t just for you, it was for other people.
With that said, this isn’t for any one person in particular to read; in fact, I have to say it isn’t really for anyone to read. But I thought perhaps I’ll be saying something of value to someone with this project. There are a lot of other writing projects I could put my time into that would directly benefit people, but sometimes you read something, and perhaps you only read it idly on a train because you’re on a long journey, but then it sticks with you. My Mosaic Project of 2020 is 365 letters, from me to 365 different people who have shaped me in some way; some experience, some shared memory, some lesson that I might’ve learned. I might know them, I might know their music, or their books.
I’m not jumping on the decade challenge, because reasons (I’m not that fussed on what the outside of you is like, but yes outward self expression and glitter and glow-ups are fun, also see above where I refer to myself as a fad resistor). But 2020 is a special year, not only because it’s the beginning of a new decade, but when things are 2020 they’re said to be perfect. We won’t see repeated digits like this for a lot of years. Like, a damn lot. The last decade was, if nothing else, ten years of learning and taking steps and forming something that I’m not sure what shape it is yet. Continuing to learn is part of the process of being who we are, as well as reflecting on who we have been. If you recognise a glimmer of yourself here, this is as much for you as it is for me, and I’ve produced something of value, and we can all smile and talk about it.
There’s a lot more happening under the surface of who we are and who we want to be, I’ll be my usual self, some part of my brain still langouring ten years behind and thinking about times gone by. I’ll take my decade challenge from the status game with the numbers, and recollect the all the tiny pieces from 365 people who have helped form the mosaic of me.