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Put That Phone Away!

From taking selfies to posting every single second of our lives, we feel an inherent need to document (on our phones) what we’re doing and then wait with anticipation for people to comment/like, etc, so we can connect. We obsessively follow what others are doing; it’s become a pastime for many of us. But are we truly connecting, and what are we missing out on while we stay glued to our screens? Our phones, like any other vice, can be an addiction. Go out sometime and see how many people can’t seem to put their phone away for fear of missing out. Eyes are on the screen while life passes them by, they stay focused on what is happening in social media land. 

Me? You could take mine away from me for a week and I’d survive. Now take away caffeine from me and I’m a beast.

I recently treated myself to a delicious breakfast at my favorite haunt in town (Tandem Creperie). Going out to eat alone can be a thrilling experience; alone time is good for the soul. Thanks to suffering from many food allergies, dining out for me can be a serious chore/challenge and finding places that don’t make me react or get sick are few and far between. So, when I discover a place that doesn’t cause me to have a reaction, I’m a follower for life. Anyway, enough about this, I brought this topic up because when I was devouring my blueberry GF crepe and sipping on an iced vanilla latte while eavesdropping on private conversations (writers do this), I heard a group of people fretting about their number of followers on Instagram. No joke. They were comparing numbers and upset that So-And-So had more followers than they did. And, I’m willing to bet you, this isn’t a rare occurrence. What is most alarming about this being a major concern to someone is that they are placing their own merit on something that in the big picture doesn’t really matter. Think about it, when you’re on your death bed, will you or anyone else really care how many followers you had on Instagram? No one is going to write So-And-So had one thousand followers on Instagram in an obituary. I least I hope not.

I probably sound old; and compared to some, I am. Guess what? I’m totally fine with that. As my grandfather used to say, “If you don’t get old, you die.”

I’ve been wondering how things will progress in the future. Will keeping up with what everyone else is doing continue to be a priority? Will comparing ourselves to others be the basis of our own happiness? And, if that is the case, how can anyone possibly be happy if they’re constantly looking at what everyone else is doing? Like President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

What is a rich life? I don’t have the answer to this question. If I did, I’d write a book on the topic. I can tell you that spending less time on my phone makes me happier. I can tell you that being mindful of the present and appreciating what I have gives me more joy. I can tell you that being with those who I love and care about makes me feel fulfilled. But, happiness is determined by each of us. We form our own path. We are our own navigators and explorers. We are the artist of our life’s canvas.

I’m not trying to sound preachy. I’m just saying, next time you pick up your phone, put it back in your pocket and look at what’s going on around you. If you’re outside, close your eyes and let the sun kiss your face. If you’re at home, listen to some great music instead. If you’re out with a friend, enjoy the time you have with them.