Social media and texting have become central to our daily lives. Many feel the need to check-in when they arrive somewhere, post where they’re having dinner, and much, much more.
I’m not bashing it in anyway and I’ve done the same over the years, navigating the social channels and learning about them for work, not personal, at the start. Had it not been for that, I’d still have my BlackBerry and had remained the Facebook anti-Christ. But I have to say, I love many aspects of these communication vehicles. It’s reconnected me with family and friends, introduced me to people with like interests around the globe, and serves in promoting a lot of good content – when we weed through it. On the flip side, it can also drain our bank accounts when our willpower is low, targeting us through ads that make us want what we never even knew existed. Apple pay, PayPal, Shop – click, it’s mine!
And let’s not discount how valuable social media – as well as texting, FaceTime, and the good old fashioned telephone call – was during the COVID years. It was instrumental in keeping us all connected, professionally and personally.
Yet today I was reminded of what life was like before technology took center stage. I had the pleasure of spending time with those most special to me and taking a short road trip to a locale new to us. We visited specialty shops, small businesses that thankfully survived the pandemic, filled with unique treasures that will never be found at HomeGoods or Marshalls, Target or Kohls – no chain store, ever. Handcrafted artisan delights that were not mass manufactured and were quite obviously made with talent, skill, and care.
And the people! I’d commented two shops into our afternoon how lovely those we encountered were. It is so rare to walk into a store today and be asked for help or sincerely greeted. You’re lucky if you can find someone to help at all and are forced to self checkout in a number of places. I’d felt as if I stepped back in time and was reminded of a way of life when we were fully present and interacted with others. When we were having such a good time that we forgot about our phones. We were in the moment.
When the day was done and I settled into my evening, I wondered if we truly live when we are so engrossed in taking photos and posting each minute of our life. Then I started to question our intent and purpose in doing so.
But here I sit, sharing my day with you. That’s what writers do. And maybe each person on social media is writing their own story through their comments, likes, shares and pictures. I admit that it’s darn wonderful to attend weddings, join in the honeymoons, and travel the world without ever leaving home! Thank you all for that!
I recall times when taking photos and posting actually distracted me from participating in the event itself. In some ways, my life was richer before I had that ability. My memories are acute – well, most of them. Middle-age brain does have it’s moments and can be fickle.
May we remember that there is a life to engage in – not just document, as we go on our adventures.
And some days are just good enough to make us forget about our phones completely.
I think the key is everything in moderation – including moderation. May we strike that balance, if not always, more often than not.
I hope that you will be encouraged to take a day to turn off your phone, and then tune into to your life. May you experience the same bliss I did today.