Dear Technology: You Are Kinda Ruining My Life.
Listen guys, I’m a little sad. It’s a strange kind of sad, almost like mourning. It’s like when you drop your favorite coffee mug, and it cracks. You may be able to glue it back together, but the truth is, despite your best efforts, you know it will never be the same.
I have that exact feeling, when I think about the world, more specifically, our society. It has changed drastically in a short amount of time, and I know deep down in my heart, it will never be the same. I’m talking about technology. I know this subject has been talked about countless times on social media (ironically), but I’m gonna go ahead and add to what has already been said; technology is awesome, but it also really sucks.
The other day, Aubrey and Kaiden were reading a book, the kind where you press a button and an animal makes a noise to correlate with a picture. Kaiden was mimicking the animal noises and the two of them proceeded to laugh hysterically, then eagerly smash the next button. Guess what? I. Missed. All. Of. It…..
Why? Because I was more interested in reading about why Sarah – the girl who sat 2 seats behind me in class in middle school, whom I had spoken maybe 2 sentences to in my entire lifetime – wasn’t going to be shopping at Walmart anymore because they refused to give her the merchandise at the price it was listed for in the aisle….
What the hell is wrong with me? Why would I rather read about “The Top 5 Reasons Squirrels Would Make Great Pets”, rather than shift my eyes 2 feet to the right, and take in the glorious sight of the little human beings I created dancing to the Macarena? It baffles me, yet I find myself continuing to do it every single day, and I’m confident that I’m not alone.
I take my kids to the park, and I am not savoring the moments, I am busy attempting to take the perfect picture. “Guys, stop what your doing and look at Mommy! Say Cheese! No, Aubrey honey, your eyes were shut, again ready? Say cheese! Ok, nope, no, get closer to your brother, yeah put your arm around him. Yes that’s perfect! Good, Ok now lets get one of you guys going down the slide……”
My memories are constantly being interrupted, due to my incessant need to capture them. Experiences aren’t even experiences anymore, they are photo ops.
When I was younger, I specifically remember being so curious what my friends were up to at any given moment. I would call their house phone, and if they didn’t answer, all I knew was that they had left their house, destination: unknown. Now all I have to do is click a couple buttons and I can tell you where they are, who they are with, where they were two hours ago, what they had for breakfast, what show they watched last week, what time they wiped their a** and what brand of detergent they are going to wash their clothes with tonight. The mysteries of life, aren’t really mysteries anymore.
A family goes out to dinner to eat, and their children are playing games on a tablet, like, when I was little, I was lucky if I got to draw on the back of the paper menu with a pen from my moms purse. Nowadays kids can update their status, talk to someone in China, and play a full round of Mario Kart before the appetizer even arrives.
I feel like hundreds of years from now, evolution is going to run it’s course, and the humans of the future are all going to be hunchbacks with elongated necks. Because 90% of our lives are spent looking downward at some kind of electronic. I mean, the minute a commercial comes on the T.V. I’m reaching for my phone so that I can aimlessly scroll through opinions, memes & videos of goats singing. Why is that my go to? Why can’t I just be still, be present, be free? It’s simple, because that’s not what we do anymore. We need constant stimulation.
Imagine sitting in a room, and instead of holding a cell phone, you are holding a piece of cardboard. Just a small, plain piece of cardboard. Imagine your children calling your name over and over as you ignore them to stare at this piece of cardboard. Your alarm goes off in the morning and you immediately reach for your cardboard, and you lay in bed staring at it for the first 15 minutes of your day. Picture sitting in class and instead of paying attention, you are randomly sneaking glances at your cardboard. Out to dinner with friends, while you wait for your food to arrive, everyone just whips out their cardboard and stares at it, like zombies. Really picture it for a second. It sounds crazy right? Like a weird cult of brainwashed cardboard people. ………Just blankly staring, occasionally letting out a chuckle…for hours and hours…….When you replace the cardboard with a phone, and you replace those zombie with you, and I, and our children; it’s suddenly not so crazy right? But it is crazy. When you actually stop for a second, and realize what we are doing….it is.
So what do we do about it? Do we all gather together and start a revolution, throwing our cell phones, laptops and tablets into a raging fire while chanting “No More Technology! We Want Freedom!” in protest?
Naw, that’s never going to happen……Ever. Sadly, it’s too late. We have become too reliant on our phones, if they went away, we would all kind of be sitting around anxiously wondering what the hell to do with ourselves. We’d be eating at crappy restaurants because we were unable to check Yelp for reviews, we would have to attempt to work an AM/FM radio to listen to music, but would just end up twisting all the big knobby button things to no avail, giving up and sitting in silence. We would pick up the house phone to call our grandma and wish her a happy birthday, only to realize we didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell her number was because house phones don’t have a “contact list”, and we would all be driving around town lost and hanging out the window asking for directions, because none of us owns a map.
However, fear not….All hope is not lost. There are a few things we can do, starting today, to create better habits for ourselves and our family. I believe if we start making a conscious effort to do these things, as hard as it may be at first, our lives will improve drastically.
*Start small. Monday through Friday, create a “phone free zone”. So from, let’s say, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, every family member is required to turn their phone OFF. (But what if there’s an emergency, what if my boy crush Billy Baxter calls…blah blah blah,) No. There was a time when phones didn’t exist, and people used lanterns to light up the house, you’ll be fine. You should turn the T.V. off too. You will all be awkwardly sitting around at first, realizing you have no idea really, how to function or what to do without a phone, but as time goes on it will get easier, and you will think of creative ways to fill that time as a family. You might learn things about one another you never knew, and even crazier, you may just end up having fun *gasp!*
*If you go out to dinner with your friends, you will be there an hour, 2 hours max. Put everyone’s phones in a bag under the table. The first person to touch their phone, has to pay the bill for the person to their left. You can snap a photo of yourselves in the parking lot at the end of the night if you must.
*If you are playing with your baby/kids, really play with them. Don’t try to momentarily stimulate them to get a cute picture of them laughing. Throw your phone at least 2 feet away, and spend some time just genuinely enjoying your babies. They will only be that age for that moment, they are growing older every second, of everyday.
*Your mom didn’t give birth to a phone. She didn’t spend hours rocking a phone to sleep, changing it’s diapers, taking it to soccer practice, wiping it’s tears away, and paying for it’s college; that was you, she did that for you. Don’t just send her a “Hey Mom, I miss you” text. Pick up the damn phone and call that woman. Give her the pleasure of hearing your voice, your laugh, your personality. Better yet, pay her a real life visit, if it’s possible. She won’t always be there, trust me.
*Leave your phone at home every now and then. I know this sounds completely unimaginable to some of you, but it’s possible. I do it all the time. You would be amazed how much more of the world you are able to take in, when you don’t have your leash with you. It’s actually quite freeing.
Can you imagine if every memory you have of your parents, consisted of them staring down at a phone? The smallest changes can make the biggest impact on our children and I truly believe, this technology addiction has severely affected some aspects of our quality of life. Don’t get me wrong. I admire the technological advances we have made, I have found it to be incredibly useful. I just feel that there is a fine line between convenience and reliance, and we have to be careful.
SO, having said all this, I am going to practice what I preach. Starting today (Monday) I will be implementing a “No Phone Zone” rule in my house, (shhhh, I haven’t told my husband yet.) I am very much looking forward to the extra memories I create this week, and will be reporting back soon to let you know how the week went. If you are crazy enough to try this with me, I would really love to hear about how it went for you. Was it harder than you thought? Easier than you thought? Did you do anything amazing that you might have otherwise missed? I really want to know.
I meant what I said earlier, our children are getting older by the second, as are we. Life is fleeting, and temporary, it can be over in an instant. Let’s try and make sure we are looking up, when that time comes…….