Have you ever stopped to consider how strange it is that we are simultaneously connected and yet disconnected?
We hear about times gone by- the lack of technology; the complete absence of something that epitomises our generation. This “foreign experience” is one we are so quick to judge. How did they do it? Stay occupied, have social lives? Sucks to be you, right?
Well, they’re here today, aren’t they? Thriving too. The older generations might not be up to date on the latest, but they’ve navigated completely different worlds. Believe me, there is such a divide. The technological before and after.
Technology is marketed as such a game changer… and it really is. Ironically, in both a good and bad sense.
As some of you would know, for the first few months of this year, I had a thriving social life. Then, that kind of fell away and I resumed my usual struggle for connection. About a week ago, I spent some time with a good friend. He told me he secretly hated his phone and if he didn’t need it, he would’ve gladly smashed it right then and there. The people are fake. This online world.. it’s an illusion. We’re no more connected than before, less in fact.
This was something I could really relate to. Off late, I’ve developed this pervasive sense of loneliness that I just can’t shake off. It creeps up on me in a busy food court, while I’m with family. When I’m online though, I feel it the most. I think often about people’s online habits and the strange things it’s become acceptable to do. Reading messages but failing to reply, taking hours to respond, leaving in the middle of a conversation.. I could go on. It’s become more apparent to me that people have both an online and offline persona. They can be complete opposites. Many times I marvel at this.. half the people online, judging purely by the way they conduct themselves, don’t even seem worth knowing. I have real life friends like this. Many, in fact. I don’t like their online selves and much prefer to spend face to face time with them. Maybe then I’ll have a fair shot at some real connection.
We are innately social creatures- we thrive off healthy connection. It’s a basic need and can be very healing. The most documented human fear is that of loneliness and abandonment. Studies have shown that babies, when not given sufficient love and attention, will stop growing and eventually die. Even as we get older, disconnection remains a big problem.
I’ve come to the conclusion that even a few small fixes could make a big difference. I saw a quote on Pinterest today- “We don’t have wifi. Talk to each other. Pretend it’s 1995.” This was the saying on a chalkboard in a cafe. Not only should we be spending less time on our devices, but we should aim to be more present and mindful, respecting our company and that of those who we are with. After all, our phones, our laptops.. they can’t be here for us and quite frankly, when it comes down to it, they are tools. When not used for self progression or improvement or other positive pursuits, they lose value and become hindrances.
Take charge of your life. It’ll feel much better that way.