I think it made #1 in my list of Top Ten Most Annoying Technological Advances… the Cell Phone. I cringe every time it rings or I get a text for fear that I’m getting called into work… But most of all it has fundamentally changed how we interact with each other and not for the better.
This past weekend we went to Andrea’s sister’s house. It’s about a 2 hour drive to get there. At one point in the evening we are lounging around in the living room the TV is on and I’m vaguely paying attention what is on… when I stop and realize that nobody is talking. There we sat, Andrea, her sister and her niece… all on their phones. We’d traveled all the way down to see each other… and none of them were even looking at each other. Sure they were aware of each others’ presence… but each in their own little bubble. I was as alone in that room as if I were literally alone…
Now, I’m sure I’m guilty of it at times too… so I don’t want to say I’m holier than thou… in fact, I partake in it with all the mundane crap I post on Twitter. But I think there’s definitely a huge issue when we’re missing what’s really happening right in front of us, because we have our noses buried in an LCD screens.
Since that moment, this is another thing that I’ve grown to appreciate about Luke. He is EVERYTHING about what’s happening right now in the real world. And if there isn’t anything happening… he whips up something in his imagination… or just screams to let you know he wants to go play and DO something.
We should all be screaming though. I can’t believe we allow ourselves to be pacified by these short little bursts of “intestingness”. Yeah, I made that word up. But really, you check to see if there’s anything new… What’s interesting? A quick smash and grab emotional fix. But the gratification burns out as quickly as it was consumed. So you come back for more quick hits, again and again.
What are the long term consequences of this behavior? At best, we’ve just wasted hours and days of our lives on something that has absolutely no lasting value. How many things can you remember that you read on Facebook today? Yesterday? A week ago? A year ago? How much time have you spent using social media in those same time frames? At worst I think we are robbing ourselves of true life experiences. The kind of experiences that shape us as a person, give us our personality, and make a richer and more meaningful existence.
Maybe I’m just being over dramatic. But I struggle daily with trying to find the time to not only be a responsible adult, parent, husband, co-worker and friend… but also to do the things I truly want to do. I place a high value on my own time. To think of that time gone, lost forever, never to have back… bothers me a bit. The fact that others have such disregard for what their own time is worth… frightens me. I don’t want to be 85 and wish that I’d taken the time to write a story, or build a project car, or whatever it is you’ve always thought about doing. Because someday for you… for me… for every one of us… it WILL be too late.
Please don’t settle for being pacified. Be amazing. Be awesome. Be happy, justified by your own measure and expectations, and not by what others have “pinned’ or how many “likes” you’ve received. Start something today. Because if you don’t, you’ll blink and wish you had a decade ago.