The other day I left my smartphone at home by accident. That meant no calls, no texts, and certainly no Internet, which I had become accustomed to browsing during agonizingly long lectures. My phone had become my companion. We surfed the web together, watched silly cat videos and made it all the way to World 20 of that stupid bird game. It was also the way I communicated with my 67 Facebook friends.
Forgetting my phone was probably the best thing that I’ve ever done.
Without the Internet I was forced to look at my surroundings, instead of at a shiny phone screen. I couldn’t hear music, read emails, or worse, update my Facebook status. As I sat there, staring into space as
I felt boredom closing in, I began to hear things. Not voices (though I suspectedthestrengthofmysanity), but life. Without distraction I heard the birds chirping, the wind whispering silent poetry through the trees… Even the joyful laughter of those nearby didn’t bother me anymore. I simply listened. What I realized that day was that reality doesn’t lie within the confines of a screen. It’s everywhere.
I would love to tell you that when I got home I banished my phone to the realm-of-no-return, but I didn’t. I checked my emails, responded to the few texts I missed. My phone had forgiven me for leaving it behind. All was back to normal.
But every now and then I will turn off my music, close the browser, and just sit back and listen, letting life entertain me. I’ll look at the sky and let my mind wander, feel the warm sun on my skin. It didn’t matter that my 67 Facebook friends (five people tried reaching me while I was gone) didn’t know what I was eating for dinner. What does matter is the fact thatIhavebeenabletoopenmyeyes to all the experiences and sensations that life has to offer. What is the point of living if we cannot live it to the fullest?
We have become so accustomed to this limited interaction, that we seem to have forgotten what it was like to be human, to not be tethered to technology in a way that we find it impossible to live without. Don’t get me wrong—I am not wishing we still lived in the Stone Age. Technology does improve our lives. It’s great to have access to information at our fingertips. But as a wise old man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility” (though I don’t recall Spider-Man needing a Twitter account to follow the Green Goblin’s whereabouts).
If you take anything from this little rant, let it be this: don’t let yourself be distracted. It is important to stay connected to the things that drive your life, but don’t let them rule it. Don’t just be aware of your surroundings, but be attentive and observative. Strive to learn something new every day. Trysomethingdifferent. I guarantee that if you do something small each day, you will feel much more fulfilled. And isn’t that the point of life?