I realised over Christmas that I have turned into Victor Meldrew.
You may remember he was the character in the BBC comedy ‘One Foot in the Grave’. The programme charted his daily battles with the irritations of life.
I watched quite a few episodes over the festive period and although I was laughing as much as I did when the series first appeared 30 years ago, it also dawned on me that over the intervening years I am increasingly using Victor’s immortal phrase: “I don’t believe it!”
I think, as we get older, this probably happens to many of us.
Some things in life that we used to simply accept or ignore gradually become more irritating.
I’d like to think that overall I am pretty tolerant and quite a lot of things that I see other people getting really angry or annoyed about generally don’t bother me.
But there are other things that leave me muttering: “I don’t believe it!” Or words to that effect that I won’t repeat on these pages!
One thing that has increasingly baffled me recently, and this is definitely going to make me sound like Victor Meldrew, is the growing need to over share everything.
This is a product of social media of course. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid user of social media and, yes, I am guilty of sharing some pictures that perhaps very few other people would find interesting.
But most of the time I only post stuff that celebrates the beauty of the Cornish scenery or a picture of our cat or dog looking cute.
Mainly I try to limit my posts to something I hope will bring a bit of cheer to others as they scroll through their feeds.
I don’t assume for one minute that the world will be interested in what I had for breakfast or whether I am feeling under the weather.
Yet as I scroll through social media each day, I am amazed at how much people are willing to share about their lives.
It’s often trivial stuff such as: “I am on my third coffee and it’s only 9am!” Or: “I have a sore throat, I think I must be coming down with something”.
At other times people seem willing to lay bare their inner most thoughts and feelings.
It can be heart-breaking struggles with grief, including the final moments holding the hand of a loved one before they pass away.
It can be detailed accounts of on-going disputes with neighbours. Others go to great lengths to share their mental health struggles.
I realise for some people this is a form of therapy and getting instant reaction to whatever personal experience is being discussed can help. But I am often astounded by the details being made public.
One of the biggest examples recently has been the release of Prince Harry’s memoirs, or as I have dubbed it: “The Only Way is Sussex”.
Like millions of others around the world, I have been drawn into this Royal drama as ever more salacious details have emerged.
I watched the Netflix documentary series, although I almost gave up at one point. It was hard to hear two people with huge amounts of money and influence talk about how terrible their lives are when so many people are struggling to afford food and heating.
I thought he came across as articulate and focused, but is clearly and understandably, deeply affected by the loss of his mother and the circumstances of her death.
I don’t think any of us will ever fully understand what that intense scrutiny from the press is like and I would in no way wish to dismiss the effect it has had on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Some of the abuse and criticism was truly horrific. Prince Harry has every right to call out some of the treatment he and his family have suffered at the hands of the media.
But I was increasingly uncomfortable about the intimate details he revealed about his relationship with his father, stepmother, brother and sister-in-law.
Every family has breakdowns, bust-ups and rocky patches. But this is of course no ordinary family.
Was it right for Prince Harry to go into so much detail about the alleged behaviour of his nearest and dearest? Especially knowing that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to reply or defend themselves.
As a journalist I was pleased that Harry was asked about this in the ITV interview.
The fact that on one hand he is fighting against the invasion of his privacy, yet on the other hand could be seen to be invading the privacy of his father and brother. He should have been pushed a bit further on this point.
Perhaps for The Duke and Duchess this sharing, or “over-sharing” has been cathartic. It’s certainly been lucrative.
The book is one of the best selling of all time, so there is clearly an appetite for the juicy, innermost thoughts of the rich and famous.
That’s the trouble. The more we lap it up, the more will be shared. And as I have already mentioned, it’s not just celebrities.
Every day millions of people all over the world are sharing their once private thoughts and actions with everyone else.
You may not see that as a bad thing and in some cases it is good to talk and to share.
But I am not sure I need to know quite so much about complete strangers who post their most personal thoughts, actions and feelings on social media.
One thing is certain; I am going be uttering Victor Meldrew’s famous phrase more often than ever.
Bye for now.