Last week I spent my day off catching up on some laundry, looking into my next travel assignment and, of course, spending some quality time on the beach. I do, like most of you, enjoy people watching every once in a while – and the beach is particularly entertaining to people watch. As I lounge on the beach, I realize how many people around me are actually looking at their smart phones rather than this gorgeous ocean. Of course I expect to see the texting and phone addiction sitting at a restaurant or while in traffic (I could fill volumes on texting and driving alone), but not on this beautiful beach day. Which has brought me to this technologically advanced socially challenged conclusion.
I know this is not a new topic, and it has been covered by the masses and we all know we are headed down a dangerous road – but, not many of us (myself included), seem to make a real effort to unplug from the technology that dominates our daily lives.
As I sat there, I saw two perfect examples of technology’s grip on us.
I see a charming older couple sitting in their beach chairs slightly shaded by their umbrella. One has a book in hand while the other just glances off into the distant ocean with her thoughts. Occasionally one turns to the other and converses about whatever comes to mind. Then they both rise from their planted beach chairs and go hand in hand along the coast of the ocean with their toes in the sand.
Now, I look to my right and I see a younger couple, let’s say late 20’s, sat on their beach blanket texting, scrolling, selfie taking – essentially everything but actually enjoying where they were or who they were with. Neither are conversing with each other. Neither are taking in this gorgeous beach scenery and amazing weather this day has to offer. In fact, both of these individuals are completely engulfed in not the sea but their cellular devices – they seem to want to be anywhere but where they are.
This was such a powerful visual to me that I was immediately inspired to put my thoughts on to paper (digital paper). This particular scene made me think of myself and my own technology getting in the way of life. It seems that, by always having our phones out and in contact texting with others who are not with us, we are never really engaging in any of our daily activities or experiences. The recent popularity of zombie themed TV and movies is no coincidence – that is literally what we are. Floating through life always with one side of our brain elsewhere via text is causing us all to miss each other – and we’re all becoming lonely souls.
Technology is here to stay, and I enjoy the convenience it provides – but my goal is to avoid letting it ruin my social interactions with the ones I love and the things I love doing.
I decided to challenge myself to take an entire day and not use my cellular device other than making calls. It took a little getting used to – fighting the urge to keep looking at that little screen, unlock it and flip around Facebook while I wait in line at the post office or grocery store. I found myself, in just one day, enjoying conversations with strangers I normally would miss by burying my face in my phone. Breaking the proverbial cord puts the cell phone down the priority list where it belongs – because, lets face it, an iPhone is still just a thing that can’t enjoy dancing in the rain or a swim in the salty ocean.
I remember when I first was introduced to the smart phone. I was against it from the very beginning. I didn’t quite understand why I needed internet at my fingertips constantly. I was happy with using my computer if I needed to use the internet I would take time out of my day to utilize the internet while at home then go about my day afterwards. Now that we can have instant access to internet we try to accomplish tasks while sitting next to our loved ones so it has taken away from social interaction and our ability to connect with the person next to you.
I highly recommend disconnecting and finding a balance between reality and digital life. Live in moments for yourself and not your Instagram followers. Putting my phone down and being present with my loved ones allows time to connect on more than just current news feeds.
In my opinion, our world has become obsessed with social media, texting, sending pictures, and updating statuses. I strive to live a life of balance – filled with more laughing with a friend and less LOL through text while not even cracking a smile. Life should be lived in the moment not obsessing over making sure you have the best picture so you can post it on social media for all your “friends” to see and “like”. Enjoy your day without the technology of your smart phone and see how it changes your view in life. Maybe your neck and thumbs will even feel some relief!
Stop back and leave me some feedback on how it goes.