Not that those things are bad. They are just thieves sometimes, stealing my attention from the richness of the moment, the weather, the journey. It's almost a form of self-medication.
I think some of us are more susceptible than others. The deeply relational (and probably somewhat narcissistic) part of me combines with the microwave tendencies of my generation, and I find myself clicking through Facebook, reading about other people's lives, commenting on things, managing, in a very loose sense, those relationships. It's a space to turn my brain off at the end of the day, or medium to laugh at another time. It's "social" media, and provides a little bit of "social" for the gaps when I'm not actually with people.
But it's not...helpful. When the first thing I think of at breakfast is how my food would make a bomb Instagram photo,
|"Look at this amazing breakfast I made all by myself!!"|
or when I can't wait to document a fun (or even a completely ordinary) experience I am having,
|"Oh, just me at work."|
I'm plucked out of that moment. I'm no longer present, enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tangibility of my environment. There's a time and a place, to be sure. But everything in my life, it seems, calls me away from the moment. This moment. I'm no longer as available to think critically, to laugh deeply, to sit quietly and enjoy something, or to just be. Because somehow in all this mess, instead of living my story, I get caught up in telling it. It still surprising to me how big this difference can be.
When I let it, my five-dimensional world is reduced to two: sight and sound - the only things that can be conveyed over internet waves.
What does this do for me? Or you, for that matter?
Can we set aside "15 Things 99% of People Don't Know They're Doing Wrong" and go on a walk with a friend? Can we unplug our earphones every once in awhile and linger over coffee with that person we've been meaning to catch up with?
I'm not condemning the internet. There are times when laughing at goats dubbed in for Taylor Swift is refreshing. But I'm proposing a little more courageous and tactile lifestyle for myself, and possibly for you too. Maybe this week (and this month, this year, etc) we can step outside our doors a little more, meet more new people, be more efficient with our time and understand what it means to be genuinely relational.
Not sure what the right boundaries are here. Got any ideas?