Spend time on YOU because YOU are so much more than your online persona.
Have you ever tried a cleanse? Like, no ice cream for a week, or a month without soda? What about the internet?
Did you ever think that maybe – just maybe – you would be a little (or a lot) more productive/successful/attentive/generally better off without its daily influence looming over you; haunting your every thought and teasing you with its effortless connection to everything you have come to rely on, but wish that you hadn’t?
Damn technology. Such a double-edged sword – can’t live with it, can’t live without it. No I mean literally can’t. live. without. it. The same way our computers are programmed to operate under certain conditions, we have become programmed to automatically resort to the internet for any and all issues, complaints, or questions we might have. “Do not despair, for google is always there!” Best friend’s got a new boyfriend you’re not sure about? No problem, let’s bring up his Facebook/Twitter/everything he’s ever posted online. Lost the directions to your new toaster oven? EASY PEASY ONE TWO THREE, there are answers everywhere you click.
But what about those of us who are brave enough to back away from the computer? Those of us who knew from day one that we didn’t want to play this game… an endangered species, true, but a reality all the same. For me, that person is my sister. Abominably embarrassing, unapologetically proud of her not-so-polite habits (I’m talking farting here, people), but also unceasingly kind, Shannon never felt the magnetic attraction to social media the same way so many of us nowadays have, myself included. She refuses to let the moments and little joys of life pass her by because of something as ridiculous as a preoccupation with words on a tiny little screen carried around like it’s some sort of extension of ourselves.
Never one to follow the crowd, the only social media she has is Facebook, and uses that exclusively to keep in touch with friends and family. No Twitter, no Instagram, no Tumblr or Vine, to tell you the truth she doesn’t even believe in smart phones. Useless distractions, she calls them, and oh how right she is.
I’d never admit it to her but watching her go about her daily life, with little to no care for the trivial details shared on social media but with an immensely big heart when it matters, is something I will forever be envious of. Her ability to detach herself from the happenings of others is astonishing in a world where so many people feel lost when they are completely alone and left phoneless.
It’s disgusting how we can’t even put our phones down to make it through one hour classes anymore. How we snapchat people sitting at the table with us, sharing meals but not conversation. How we accept heart emojis as a symbol of someone’s love when their presence is so deliberately absent. How we worry that we’ll fall behind if we don’t get the new iPhone, “but Mom, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”
We forget that just twenty years ago, cell phones were obsolete and something the general public got along just fine without. Your parents grew up with only their MOUTHS for communication – crazy right??? Instead of texting where to meet up, they did this weird thing where they walked to someone’s door and actually had face to face conversations. IT HAPPENED. LIFE HAPPENED.
Shannon’s steadfast dedication to a life with limited technology serves as a reminder to me that it is possible to simply exist with nothing more than a dumb flip phone. Need I even mention that she is far better at communicating with others in real life or does that just go without saying? It’s true, and it’s obvious why.
I try to reassure myself with thoughts that my internet skills will someday help me get a job, and make a living, and presumably they will. But I often battle the toughest enemy of all, the what ifs… What if it isn’t worth it? What if the way I choose to make a living is preventing me from actually living?
If you are constantly looking down at your phone, checking your statuses, posts, pictures, etc. YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON WHAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Hypocritical, I know, coming from the girl using her computer keyboard to type out these words. But hey, the internet is a great way to spread ideas, and that cannot be denied.
But next time you go to pick up your phone a mere five minutes after you last checked it, think twice. Relax. Breathe. And think about people like my sister. People who are dedicated to living life the way it was meant to be lived: here and now, not then and there. People who are dedicated to life in its purest form, off the internet. Call it old-fashioned. Call it out of style, or unfathomable. But don’t call it impossible – call it beautiful.
And then, stop calling.