I don't really know when it happened. You set up your first email account with your mom for the family computer, something cheesy, never thinking about having it 10 years from now. Maybe you get a cell phone next, and another email account or two, for high school and college applications.
Going to college means you add the exclusive ~.edu~ college email account. Somewhere in the mix, you threw in two or three Google accounts as well, as people asked you to look at Google Docs or fill out an Excel spreadsheet on your phone.
Suddenly you wake up with six email accounts to check (for the record: that is too many), and notifications coming at you from everywhere. We were never taught how to close accounts: each one has a specific purpose. The first one is part nostalgia, part spam part subscriptions you sign up for and never actually look at. Then there are the practical ones, one 'adult' account for anything professional (including bills, unfortunately). The student account is always the best one, but fleeting. Four years of discounts and deals, maybe five if you time the subscription renewals correctly.
It hit me one night while trying to enjoy dinner with my friends among constant phone beeping: we will almost never be disconnected from our phones again. Online, our professional lives and our personal lives have become indistinguishable, especially thanks to applications like Slack and GroupMe.
Applications like these have fostered a professional culture where everyone is constantly available, and not having near-instant response times can be seen as unprofessional.
Like always, I have no solutions. I have heard Do Not Disturb, healthy boundaries and maybe a second phone number are all great ways to separate the two; I have tried none of these.
Growing up has great perks and some not-so-great responsibilities. Unfortunately, one of the most important responsibilities is checking (and responding, just a reminder) to all your emails.