Thursday, August 8, 2013

Being Human

Sometimes the most difficult thing in the world, is to just be present in what it is that you're doing. Multi-tasking has become not only a social norm but an expectation. If you aren't checking your email, while you're paying your phone bill all during your trip to the grocery, then you're a slacker.

I call bullshit.

It's makes us sloppy and disconnected. We miss things that matter for things that we'll forget next week. Our memories are being clotted with alpha numeric passwords and deadlines and we're overlooking the changing of the seasons, the laughter filled nights with friends, the plethora of experiences that helped create our "offline profile."

Earlier today, I was at the grocery store during my lunch to pick up some tea (it's kind of a crisis when I run out of decaf tea during a busy morning working from home). While in the line at the store, a young mother (I'll call her Cyber Momma for the sake of this blog) and her absolutely adorable kiddo starting checking out in front of me. Seriously, this kid was Shirley Temple cute and was putting on a full scale production from that buggy. We're talking singing, dancing and jazz hands emphasized with the leafy green lettuce she was holding. It was a hoot and something that I'm pretty sure would have been committed to Cyber Momma's memory had she not been staring at her phone the entire time she was scanning items. I watched the enthusiasm fade from that little girl and she sat down and asked for her IPad, which her mother pulled out of her gargantuan bag and stuffed in her tiny, previously marvelous, hands. In that moment I wondered how many other memories she had sacrificed in order to be "connected." I thought of how fast life would turn that adorable little kid, filled with vitality and enthusiasm, into another user staring at a screen.

Yes, I had a philosophical moment in a Kroger checkout.

When you're present, "moments" can happen anywhere and with anyone. I looked around and I would dare say about 70% of the people in my line of vision were on their cell phones in some capacity. I've been in that number many times, sacrificing making eye contact with someone who might reject me and instead checking a Facebook status update. To be human is to be exposed and raw and the influx of technology at our disposal is making that feeling optional. We face a conundrum because as human beings, we crave social interaction. We need to be around others, even if only sporadically but we're terrified of it. We've been taught to tear one another apart for appearance, financial and political status, and even geographical location (Oh, the teasing about Kentucky Fried Chicken and being barefoot, will it never end!?) So, we plug in, upload a perfect version of ourselves, and connect on the most superficial of levels.

Technology is a necessity in the professional world, I'll give you that. However, who says we have to make it a focus in our personal life? If you're reading this thinking "This is isn't about me" then I have a challenge for you. Turn off your phone from 6p.m. until it's time to get up in the morning for one week. Your computer is not to be used either (unless you're only streaming music, that is forgivable.) No excuses about how someone could call you in the event of an emergency. You not being available for a night, when you should be connecting with your friends and family, creating something, going for a walk, looking up at the sky, maintaining your home, will be okay. Now, pay attention to the urge to pick it up. Process why it is that you feel a sense of loss for not having it in your hand. Why does it make your anxious? Why do you care if that little device is on or off? You have formed an attachment to a machine, my dears. You have developed a relationship with an inanimate object.

Ultimately, remember that you have warm and beating heart that longs to be used. It can withstand being put at risk when you seek out relationships with others. Stop making easy choices. Unplug and be human.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Questions? Comments? Piercing Critical Insights? Have a million bucks you wanna' pass my way? This is where you let me know all that.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin