Today, I let my mind wander to days before electronics joined us everywhere. Days when phone calls came only in our homes and making contact with others was via door knocks, landlines, handwritten messages, and even occasionally - two soups cans tied by string. Cell phones and digital cameras never accompanied when you went for a walk, because they didn't exist. You were present. So much more present.
While technology advancement has gifted us many opportunities, it can also hinder us when it comes to having true sensory experiences, living in the moment.
Lately, I've caught myself 'behind the lens' and not enjoying moments for their intended purpose. On a beautiful afternoon trip through the prairie this week, I caught myself wanting to stop and take video to share with 'everyone'. I had to resist (more than once). Would sharing have been so bad? Not at all! Here's the thing, though: where beautiful moments in our lives used to be something special, something intimate, now they're moments that we have the option of sharing with random Jane or Joe (and more often than not, do). Since it doesn't appear as though cell phones and social media are going anywhere anytime soon, it's up to each of us to decide which moments are appropriate to share and which moments we should keep for ourselves. I'm not here to tell you which moments those are (because they'll be different for every one of us), but I do want to remind you think about it a bit more.
If you're out for an afternoon stroll because you know the autumn leaves have just changed colors and your goal is to take photos - then by all means, share away with the whole dang world. We love beautiful leaves, too! On the other hand, if you're out for a walk at dusk because you had a long day and you need to unwind and recharge, think about letting yourself do that to the fullest. Feel and smell the fresh air around you, brush your hands against grasses blowing in the breeze, gaze at the depth and changing shapes in the sky. BE in those moments. If you must bring your phone, mute it and keep it tucked away. It's okay to pretend it doesn't exist, because not so long ago, it didn't.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that it's a rare week if I post everyday (#100dayproject aside). I don't subscribe to notifications, and I typically see other's posts hours after they've been made. Some days, not at all. It doesn't mean I care about what's going on in your lives any less, it just means I'm trying harder to seek out meaningful things, and I'm trying harder to live my life in a way that is healthiest for me. Please don't misunderstand - I truly value and am so incredibly appreciative of those who follow along with me on social media, but I also wholeheartedly believe that routine old-fashioned sensory experience is one of the most important things in living a well-lived life.
How do you feel about unplugging? When and why do you do it? Is it important to you?
p.s. If you read the whole thing, you deserve a special treat (as my nephew would say)! I'm really good at getting all wordy when I'm passionate.