I recently started a new job. My new office is just outside of the city, but close enough that the traffic, people, and subway give it a very downtown feel. I took a walk at lunch time the other day and decided to stop by a coffee shop on my way back to work. Upon entering the shop, I couldn’t help but notice the quiet buzz in the room. The restaurant was packed with patrons, but there was no conversation in the air; just the soft tapping of fingers on screens and buttons.
Couples, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances were sitting in an intimate restaurant setting, but had seemingly lost the art of quiet conversation. There was no polite laughter, shy smiles, or awkward glances being exchanged; instead everyone had their head tilted slightly down with eyes focused on a small screen of some sort.
Upon reflecting on this, I’ve come to realize that I too am guilty of being a technology addict. Glued to my phone reading emails, text messages, or posts on one social media site or another, I’ve been asked more than once by my (ever so patient) husband to “put the phone away”. As difficult as it can be for me to do this (as running a small home business means you tend to feel the need to be connected at all times) I eventually concede, but in the back of my mind, I will be wondering “did she reply to me? I wonder if we got the date for that show. Did that bracelet sell?”
Spending time with my daughter, my phone is always on hand so that I will never miss the perfect opportunity to snap that adorable picture in the moment. But when we focus so much on capturing that moment, are we forgetting to live in it and actually appreciate it?
I think it is important for us to take the time to think about the huge impact that communications technology has on our lives on a daily basis. So many of us are now more comfortable sending someone a cold text, rather than making a warm phone call. So much of our intuitive communication ability has been lost as we have become more comfortable hiding behind the anonymity of a screen. We would prefer to replace a genuine smile with a happy face emoticon, and it’s really quite sad.
I have decided that now is the time to disconnect from technology for a period every day. To focus on my family uninterrupted. To give them all of me, without having any of my attention diverted to capturing a moment or missing a message. The messages, emails and notifications will always be there; the moments are fleeting and will pass before you know it.