I’ve heard so many people talk about how the new generation of cell phones and social media has really changed our interactions with other human-beings and our perception of life. I’ve always agreed, but never really put much thought into it. More so, I’ve never thought I was one of those people who relied so heavily on technology. But…..
Yesterday I worked alllllll day. I was literally gone for more than 12-hours. I’m usually really good about having my phone charger on me, but my son recently lost my charger (or at least we thought it was lost. Come to find out, it had been on our couch for the past 2 days). Typically I would be able to plug my phone in while at work and have that extra boost for the second half of my day. However, that was not the case yesterday. With 3 hours left to go in my work day, my cell was on 1% of battery life. I was holding on to that 1% by a thread! I dimmed the brightness of my phone, I put it on battery save mode, at one point I had it on airplane mode. I just simply did not want it to die. If it died that would mean I’d be excluded from the digital world. No social media, no group chats, no text messages, no web browsing…..nothing. So, because I wanted to save my phone’s battery life, I stayed off my phone. What a difference it made to actually not focus on my phone and be a part of the WORLD! Because I wasn’t on my phone as I usually would be, I was super productive at work. I was doing things I typically wouldn’t be doing because my phone would be glued to my hand. Instead of my neck being sore from looking down at my phone for 75% of my day, I was getting shit done! At the end of my work day, I felt accomplished! I felt that I earned my pay for that day. And you know what, my interaction with my clients was so genuine. I was so friendly and in such a good mood because I didn’t have the distractions of what I would find on my phone; whether it be a text that upset me or something that rubbed me the wrong way on Facebook. I was actually living and it felt amazing!
As my night was coming to an end, I remembered that I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner. Shit. How was I going to do that with a phone that was pretty much on it’s last leg? I hadn’t heard from her all day, so I wasn’t sure if our plans were actually going to go through. But with a few seconds left in my phones battery life, I happened to take a glance down to see a text from her. My phone died shortly after. It was like my phone was holding out to hear from her! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen that text until hours later when I got home to put my phone on the charging dock and our plans would have gone to shit. I called her from my work phone and let her know that I was still planning on meeting her. I told her my phone died, so we had to figure things out 90’s style and set a meeting place, since I wouldn’t be able to call her when I arrived to see where she was; ya know, kinda how we do in this day and age. But, we figured things out. I called her when I was leaving work, we set a time to meet and I headed to the restaurant.
When I got to the restaurant, I was expecting her to be there before me, because I arrived a few minutes after the time we planned to meet. I didn’t see her anywhere in the restaurant. I grabbed a table and just sat there. Minutes passed and I couldn’t help but think that something happened, and I would never know because I couldn’t contact her. Had she changed her mind? Did her plans change? I had no clue. Then I thought- How did we do this back in the day? My anxiety was getting the best of me. I was starting to realize what it felt like to be stood up! I felt like I was in a scene from an 80’s romantic-comedy where I was in the restaurant just waiting and waiting, only to be disappointed when no one showed up. But as soon as that thought entered my brain, I saw her walking through the door. I felt relief. I didn’t want to eat alone! We exchanged hugs, ordered our drinks and food and then the unthinkable happened…….we actually had a conversation! And I mean a REAL conversation! One that was not interrupted by phone calls and text messages. It was amazing. I found myself actually looking her in the face as she spoke. I was truly engaged in the conversation. And I will honestly admit, this was the first time in a long time that I naturally PAID ATTENTION. I heard every detail. I asked questions. I was intrigued. And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to say, “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” because I was on my phone instead of LISTENING.
I got home and I felt like that dinner went well. Not that I expected it to be anything less than great, but I felt like I was actually being a friend because I was IN the moment. And then I had an “A-HA” moment. How would life be lived everyday if we were genuinely engaged? It felt great to go back to my adolescence where I didn’t have a cell phone, when text messages didn’t exist and you had to literally make plans to go out with friends instead of just relying on technology. It was very nostalgic and it has prompted me to rethink how I want to live life in 2016. Do I want to actually LIVE or just live vicariously through my iPhone? I think I’d like to live in the moment and be present in the memories to be made.
Now, if I could only work on that with my son and instill that same ideology in him……
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