A powerful reminder of the reason why we should all put down our phones and look up.
Last weekend, Steve and I drove home to Buffalo, NY, and I regretfully admit I spent the first five hours of the ride looking down at my phone. No conversation with the beautiful man sitting next to me that had to deal with hours of traffic. No breaks. I was glued. Emails. Facebook. Insta. Google+. Twitter. Back to emails. You get my drift. It was gross.
Until finally, something knocked me to my senses.
It was this video.
As I was watching this, I got chills, I felt emotional, kinda wanted to cry. Once it was over, I shut off my phone and threw it out of my sight. I was disgusted with myself. During those five hours, I never looked around to just enjoy the scenery – the beautiful fall foliage. I never looked up to ask if Steve was okay dealing with the traffic (he wasn’t). I was glued. To a screen. Thinking I was doing well by “connecting” with others. But in reality I wasn’t connecting with myself or my surroundings. I was being the opposite of mindful.
It’s scary to me to think that we’ll spend four years of our lives staring at our phones. Four freaking years. Think about all that you could do in four years. All that you could accomplish. Experience. Feel. See.
And I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if our attention spans are getting shorter by all the stimulus we have right at our fingertips now. I notice this in myself more and more lately – I get distracted more easily or I forget things faster.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve been putting more time and effort into my blog, I’ve been spending more and more time on my phone, on social media, and using technology. And I love social media and I love technology, but you know what, sometimes I kinda hate it too. Yup, I said it. Because I have this sneaking suspicion that deep down we all feel the same way sometimes.
I think it’s imperative that we don’t let technology and social media make us lose sight of what’s really important in our lives. What really matters. Our family. Our friends. Our significant others. Being outside. Feeling. Seeing. Experiencing.
We MUST strive to find a balance. We must take the time to look up.
You know when you’re at a restaurant or a bar and you see that couple or that family sitting down to eat and everyone is just on their phone? Hell, maybe you’ve even been that person or been with that person. I’ve definitely caught Steve and I doing it before. But until you see it in front of you, you don’t realize how strange and sad it looks. Steve and I try to implement a “no phone zone” at home during dinner and when eating out. Our quality time together is precious. We don’t get that many hours together during the week. So when we do, we make that time count.
It’s such a double-edged sword when you think about it. On one hand, social media was essentially created to help us connect. And I’ve made so many amazing connections and made friends IRL from relationships that started via social media. So it can do a LOT of good. I’m not saying it can’t. But it can also make us disconnected with what’s around us.
For me, I’ve noticed I pick up my phone out of boredom, to fill the time. Rather than it be an intentional action, I now just pick it up as if I’m on auto-pilot, without even realizing what I’m doing.
So my challenge to myself this week and I hope you’ll join me is to put down your phone. When you’re with someone. When you’re bored. When you’re walking. When you’re driving (hopefully in the passenger seat), put down your phone. And look up.
Be present. Be with the person you’re with. And if you’re not with anyone, then be with yourself. And maybe that’s an uncomfortable thing for you. Be uncomfortable. Embrace it.
There’s so much beauty that surrounds us. And all we have to do is.