This Is The Way We Live Now

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The glare of the bright sun glints off the surface of the glass. It is covered in swirling fingerprints, whirlpools of identity. Thumbs drum out staccato rhythms: messages, memos, meeting reminders. Close out apps to save that precious life: click, click, swipe, click, click, swipe.

We have become entangled in the cords, entrapped by the white snakes that part ways and wrap around our throats. The beats that pulse like heartbeats in our ears are kept hidden from others, selfish and removed.

We smile for the screen rather than laughing at ourselves. Ten-second stories have replaced lifelong novels, with us drum-rolling through feeds, taptaptap, impatient to get to the end.

We build kingdoms of “happiness” – picture-perfect memories in the Clouds, ceaselessly layering brick upon brick: square snapshots of the highlights of our lives – until we’ve completely shut ourselves in. Toothy crowds, enhanced and saturated, everything is perfect here. My glitz outdoes her glamour; we compete with one another, our armies supplied by “likes” and comments. Tag, you’re it, see if you can outdo me.

Our digital footprint follows us everywhere; our skeletons dance along in front of us, parading the past to all who glance at your cyber trail. Our wireless world attaches strings to us; our electronic reputation is the ladder with which we try to climb above everyone else. Two-dimensional, idealized versions of ourselves sit high and mighty, mocking the stumbling 3D reality of the real world outside the screen.

Surely we will fall from our fabricated pedestals, for there is nothing solid on which to stand.

Real life is what exists outside the 90 degree corners of perfectly filtered images. Your morning latte, captured for your followers to see, doesn’t show the girl holding back tears in the corner of the coffee shop, heart-broken. Your friend’s video of her cooing baby doesn’t pick up the exhausted sighs of new parents or the arguments late into the night.

Frame by frame, our lives seem effortless and ideal. Anything less than shiny and clean must be hidden or edited, kept away from all prying eyes. In our effort to connect, we are losing our relatability. Put your best foot forward, but don’t forget to check back in with yourself.

The world is available at our fingertips, but in gaining the world, we have lost ourselves.

We idolize and worship a sheet of glass, stained with false standards for comparison. Our heads bow at its altar, day and night. Psalms right in our palms. We pray for acceptance to deliver us from oblivion. But in gaining followers, we’ve become blind sheep.

We are flailing moths drawn to the light of a screen. What has been sacrificed along the way for our new religion? Share a link, but don’t share a table. Our thumbs are so busy pointing up at ourselves that we forget to look around at everything else. Conversations surrounded by gray bubbles have led to a bleak understanding of those held in person; the subtext of our texts leads to subdued sympathy with the person right in front of us. Siri, how do I–?

Body language has become a foreign tongue, the translations lost in the era of robotic voices, guiding us through our days. What will it take to resurrect us, to restore us back to our factory settings?

Let your head rise up for a new chance. The blue sky looks different unfiltered. The face of your best friend is so much better in person rather than in a 2”x2” snapshot. Concerts are better viewed through your own eyes instead of the lens of a camera. Get a little messy and dare to forget to take a picture; realize it’s still stored in memory, not in your phone, but in your own mind.

Disconnect from the world in your hands and plug into the universe right in front of you. Untangle yourself from the Web and take a deep breath. Look up. TC mark

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