I wonder when the rules changed? I don’t think it happened overnight – but the rules, or goalposts – they definitely changed. People work further and further away from home. They leave the house by 7 in the morning, and are lucky if they are back home by 7 at night. Families don’t tend to live close to each other anymore. Children see less and less of their parents. Parents compensate by buying their children devices.
People just seem to be drifting away from each other…
People don’t talk on the phone anymore – it’s a massive nuisance to receive someone’s call now. People have conversations via WhatsApp. Instead of listening to the nuances in people’s voices, or tonal qualities that conveyed meaning – we have emojis! An emoji to convey every possible emotion under the sun. Very soon, we’ll be able to communicate whole sentences through those affable, inoffensive yellow smiley faces – words will become redundant…
We are becoming more and more insular. Communicating via devices instead of making the time to see one another, share each other’s space, actually seeing each other without distractions being present.
Today I went somewhere that I’ve never been to before. As soon as I walked in, I was struck by how peaceful and calm the place seemed. Before I was allowed to enter, I was asked to ensure that my mobile phone was switched off – not turned to silent – but actually switched off before I entered the premises. Although I found the request strange, of course, I respected the wishes of the establishment and walked in through the magnolia double doors. As I walked around, the sense of peace and well-being was palpable. No one was using devices. No one was distracted. Everyone was present. There in the moment! There was a sense of serenity and ‘being there’, that I haven’t seen in years.
Honestly, as I left the place, I felt refreshed. It made me think – how often do I actually switch my mobile phone off? How often do I allow myself the freedom to not be a slave to my emails, messages, texts or calls? When did I suddenly get to the position that I am constantly ‘on call’?
My children are young at the moment – they still live each moment in reality. I’m dreading the time, when all their friends have devices – therefore so must they. I’m dreading the time when I have to designate ‘no device’ times throughout the day so that we can share family experiences. I’m dreading the time when they will be lost in a world of virtual reality – messages, texts – that I have no idea about.
Everything is so convenient now – yet it feels that it’s come at a great expense. If I want to know what a word means, I google it; I want to know how old the Queen is, I google it; population of the Earth – google. I want to eat ice-cream at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I have none at home? No problem – there’s a 24 hour McDonald’s, only a ten minute drive away, I can have a McFlurry in half an hour! Shops are open 24/7. People are expected to work on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, nothing is sacred.
I know, today’s blog seems particularly moany and old-fashioned…but I just wonder…would you be able to manage – not even a whole day, but a whole evening without your phone? I don’t mean when you are at a party, or out – I mean sat at home – not doing anything. Could you manage? Would you be able to resist checking messages? What about when you hear the seductive, shrill chime that means that you have received a message? Could you play ‘hard to get’ and resist the temptation of opening the message? Would you be able to cope without checking your social media accounts?
If not, how do you feel about that?
I’m not judging – I’m not in a position to – I’m in this situation with you all the way. What I’m doing is questioning is – is this right? If it’s not – what do we do about it? How do we gain control of our lives, instead of letting our devices dictate how we behave?
We’re no longer bored are we? When I was little, if I ever said to my mum that I was bored – she’d tell me to find something to do – only boring people are bored. So, I was never bored. Never, never bored. Perhaps we need to go back to that state again – perhaps we need our mothers to tell us, ‘only boring people play on their phones and check their messages constantly instead of living in the real world’.
Or…perhaps I’m making it all up and there’s no problem at all. My gut tells me that there something isn’t right though….and we all know, our gut instincts are never wrong…