In the moment
This is, oddly, not a post about politics. I was sitting here at home procrastinating, (one of my favorite activities actually) when I stumbled across a buzzfeed article posted to facebook about how society is doomed. The photos in the post were all people staring into their smartphones, instead of watching and interacting with the life happening around them. Now I am, as many of my followers will no doubt be aware of, a social media fiend. I love facebooking, tweeting, blogging and surfing the web. On my smartphone I have apps and games and news and more news and more apps and more games.
I realized looking at these photos, that I am the one they’re talking about. Sure, technology has brought the world closer together. It has opened the doors of knowledge, made information more accessible. It has challenged governments, held capitalists to account, captured riots, protests and revolutions. However, maybe we stick our heads a little too deeply into the new technological rabbit hole. Around us there are sunrises, sunsets, babies, dogs. children, laughter, music, and we miss so much when we have our heads stuck in our precious electronic devices.
Now, I am not admonishing anyone here but myself really. Not that I’m the only one who does this, but I am submitting a bit of a self-criticism here. When I was a kid (oh god, now I’m going to sound old) we didn’t have the internet, at least not in my house. We didn’t make youtube videos, we went outside and played. We didn’t watch youtube videos, we watched Saturday morning cartoons. Photos were kept in boxes, memories filed away, until the time they would be taken out, and gingerly flipped over, one by one to recall love, birthdays, future dreams now past, family, memories. Maybe with all this technology we’ve forgotten a little bit what the important things are.
Eating, riding the train and sitting at home with my family, I more often than not find myself buried in my phone. Tweeting, reading, posting, playing. Right beside me my children are growing up, the sun is shining, the wind blowing and I’m missing it.
The other day I was riding the train, and like I normally do, I was tweeting and listening to music. I stopped for a moment, and took out my ear buds. I looked up and saw the city rolling by, the green fields of Saitama, Japan, the narrow twisting neighborhood roads leading off into the horizon, children hula-hooping, dogs running, people going off to work. I heard the sounds of life happening around me, saw the vitality that is humanity. I’m not saying tweeting, facebooking or using your smartphone is bad, but maybe, once in a while, we should try just a little bit more, to live in the moment.