We’ve become a generation consumed by likes and follows. We’ve adapted to the artform of 140-character thoughts and the best angle for the perfect selfie. We critique people we don’t even know and have learned to digest information in bite-sized snippets with a minimal tolerance for anything exceeding 200 words. With our constant need to be connected, we’ve slowly been isolating ourselves. We’ve become a generation addicted to the ‘I’ and the ‘Me.’
We’ve found solace in the fact that we are never truly alone with our cell phones. We Instagram our food and tweet our workouts. We send a text from a doctor’s waiting room out of sheer discomfort of having nothing to do for fifteen minutes. We spend hours scrolling through Twitter and Facebook feeds looking at what friends and the people we follow have been up to. But what have we really gained from all of this, besides an intense longing to lead a more interesting life?
We spend twenty minutes here and fifteen minutes there deciding which filter will make our picture look perfect instead of putting the phone down to take in the moment. We sit at tables together in restaurants, but never really hear what the other is saying. Our attention is always divided. Social media has us living in the past. We’re missing out on the now. We’re missing out on the moment. We’re spending some of the best years of our life on the couch in sweats, pining after someone else’s adventures instead of creating our own.
These social networks that connect us isolate us even further. We define our worth based on a number of likes, retweets or shares. We’ve become addicted to the satisfaction of knowing that someone out there sees us, when in reality the devices we hide behind are shielding us from truly living. We believe that putting up that outfit of the day or using the hashtag #IWokeUpLikeThis will bring us closer to people and provide us the common ground we so desperately seek to build relationships off of. We are often fooled by the personas that others display online and never truly get to know one another.
We live abbreviated lives and lack the patience for anything but. We’ve been engineered by the media to do things only for the return of investment of our time. We’ve got auto-correct to fix our mistakes and character limits to help us get to the point faster. But it’s the glow of the devices that we hold so near and dear that are imprisoning us in the loneliness that they create.
Put down the phone.
Create your memories and embed them in your mind. Soak in the smells that filled you and the sounds of laughter of loved ones. Let the vibrant colors of the moment take over. Get lost in the moment. These will be the stories that live on forever. They are the ones that exercise your mind. Close your eyes and they’ll play on and endless loop and fill you with joy and happiness. You won’t need a tagged photo to remember who was there. You’ll remember their faces and the jokes that were made that had you doubled over in laughter. These will be stories you’ll share with your kids when they grow up.
Real life begins when you pocket your device. You become more approachable when the barrier between you and life is broken down. The spontaneity you desperately want comes back and is quickly followed by the joy of living. You’ll begin to see the bigger picture of life and all the wonderful things it has to offer, big and small. Bask in the fulfillment of the moments you create.
There is a whole world out there waiting for us explore it. Snapchat can wait. Facebook can wait. Twitter will not crash if you don’t send out a tweet today. Your Instagram followers will still be there tomorrow. Put down your phone and live in the moment.