Sometimes you have to be the pot to call the kettle black.
image via You Have Got The Power
Usually we here at The Library post reads about what we observe from other people. Today, I would like to address something to which I believe we are all guilty.
There is a high probability that you are reading this on your phone. If this is the case, keep reading! But, if you’re not, put it down and then continue reading. It’s 2014 and if you do not have a smartphone, you are in a serious minority amongst your peers in this age of data overload. This means that we are more connected to one another now than we ever have been. Yet, at the same time, we are experiencing a HUGE disconnect to the people around us.
This all sounds a little paradoxical, right? Think about it: how often do you pick up your phone and idly scroll through your favorite social network’s timeline or newsfeed while supposedly having a conversation with someone right in front of you? Even when we have real live people in front of us trying to engage us and connect, we turn to the Internet to keep our minds entertained. At this point, our brains are pretty much hardwired to be easily distracted and “multi-task” at a rapid rate. We are, in a sense, so addicted to information and social media that a lot of us cannot be described as being physically social. Our connections have become established through usernames and avatars whilst the relationships with humans around us fall to the wayside.
Now, this topic has been blogged about and reported on and studied all over the place for the past several years. I bring it up again here because I think we all need a reminder now more than ever about the importance of being present. To “be present” is defined as “to exist or occur now.” As straight forward as this sounds, we have taken the very essence of presence for granted; we want to be here and there and everywhere all at once. Social networks and the Internet and all of these digital things allow us to do just that. Meanwhile, there are so many people around the world right now who are struggling just to be. People are struggling to merely exist. And you, my great explorer of the universe, have the ability to connect and be fully immersed in any moment. You have the chance to absorb as best you can the amazing experiences that life can bring you every day. The kicker here? You will never get to be present in the same moment twice. You will never be able to interact with a loved one in this exact moment. And not a single one of these moments is guaranteed.
I am challenging you all to take advantage, fully, of what life is right in front of you. If someone is talking to you, listen, don’t tweet what they’re saying. When you’re surrounded by friends, be with your friends, not a timeline of statuses. It is our connections with real people that enable our ability to empathize with humans everywhere. This empathy is what makes us realize we are all people with real emotions and real feelings and hopes and dreams and everything. And at times when we know the world is fragile and we know we need to mend, it is these real life feelings that keep us whole.
So carpe diem. Seize the day, this moment, and the next. Fully. And let’s all get back to being people.