Technology has become a good thing…and a bad thing.
I went out to dinner last night with friends and had a terrific time. We went to a fun Mexican restaurant that had a live guitar player who went from table to table, singing and getting the patrons to engage and sing along with him. Loads of laughs. And the one thing I noticed while I was there was just how many people spent their time taking videos or pictures of what was going on around them, then sending them to other folks via text messages or on social media, and I thought: Hold the phone (pun intended!). Something’s wrong here. These people aren’t engaging with the folks they’re out with. They’re not looking at each other and, more to the point, they’re not talking to each other!
Technology has become so easy to use in our lives that I think we may be missing out on the lives we’re supposed to be living. Oh, smart phones are a great tool…you can keep instant tabs on folks, get instant news updates, obtain instant weather alerts, receive instant email, blah blah blah. But we’ve got our heads so buried in those little devices that we’re missing out on so much more, in particular sharing our lives with the people who are most special to us. In my mind, yes, the photos and videos are wonderful, but if you’re paying more attention to capturing the pics or updating social media about what you’re doing than you are taking the time to savor the memory and the moments with those around you, then I think we’ve just short-changed ourselves out of something very important in our life.
I saw a “mindful interrupter” a while back that said something like this: if you catch yourself reading or typing on your cell phone, put it down and take five minutes to enjoy the activity around you instead.
So as I look ahead to 2014, with some manageable and obtainable goals I’ve set for myself, I think I’ll add one more–spend less time gluing myself to my cell phone to provide updates on what I’m doing and more time actually living the moments in my life. And, in doing so, I may just reinvigorate the lost art of conversation and be more present with the people I love.
How about you?
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I do love my iPhone, but when I’m with friends or family I keep that sucker in my handbag. And I’m not shy about telling people I’m with that while the view of the top of their head while they’re bent over their phone is scintillating, I’d much prefer them to interact with me or I can go home, put on yoga pants and watch Netflix. We also have a rule when we go out to eat that all cell phones, tablets, etc. go into a pile at one end of the table, and the first person to check their device has to pay for everyone’s meal. Now we all have actual conversations. Very nice!
So true! My daughter and s-I-l will come sit 4 feet apart and text each other! I use my phone too much now that I can get online (sales rankings and waiting to hear if an editor contacts me) but won’t do that during school–the students deserve me to pay attention to them. But actually living instead of just reporting on life is probably a good idea!
Illinois has just enacted an only hands-free phones in the car law for 2014, so that will cut down on some of that for me. I once went to a concert with a group girls and one of the girls was sitting down texting almost the whole time. I thought, how much did you spend on your ticket to listen to this band? And if you’re not into the band, then surely you came to hang with your girlfriends, but you’re not doing that either. I’m the only one at work without a smart phone and the rest of the girls will sometimes all be checking their messages or FBing and I’m just sitting there.
Great topic, Terri. The greatest gift you can give to someone is to be totally present when they are in front of you.
I have to take time out of my moments to use social media so that I *can* share them with the ones I love. 😉
to converse is natural
but to do it well
is an art 🙂