Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disconnect & Feel the Connection

Before my class last night, I had a few spare moments to sit and take in the moment. Students and professors around me were rushing from one destination to another with Starbucks in one hand and cell phones in another; totally disconnected from what was happening around them. Which made me wonder how often I am that person busily distracted and disengaged from my everyday life? The answer is probably more often than I like to admit.

A few weeks ago before one of my classes started, all of us students were glued to our phones, not speaking a word to each other, and sitting in silence. Once class got started, our professor made a comment about how when he was in school the teacher had a difficult time calming the class down because they were all chit-chatting and catching up on their weekly happenings. They were socializing. Not consumed in a handheld "social device."

Last weekend a friend of mine got engaged and rather than calling his friends and family during this oh-so-joyous moment, they all found out through facebook. But if I think about it, I can't remember the last time I found out about an engagement or a pregnancy or a job promotion or even a death that wasn't first seen on my newsfeed.

But why? I can't help but wonder why this de-socialization has become the norm.

In truth, this method of "communication" and "connectivity," only leads to miscommunication and disconnectedness. It's easier to get caught up in what is on our phone than actually dealing with our everyday lives. 

Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of over-posting the blissful moments in my life as a way to somehow prove my happiness to the world. But does it actually make me feel better or more worthy? The answer is no. If I'm being completely honest, I typically get so caught up in the number of likes I receive (or don't receive) compared to everyone else I follow on social media that it creates more stress and discontentment than I started with. So I post again hoping for better results and the cycle continues. 

Recently I have considered challenging myself to a social media detox, but I doubt I'm alone when I say I would be lost without my phone for even one hour. So for now, I am challenging myself to stop at least once during my day and have a mindful moment like I did last night before class. By taking a moment to stop and disconnect from the social media world, I might begin to feel more connected to the actual world around me. 

It's a small step, but it's better than nothing. Who knows, maybe after a little practice I'll be able to disconnect for that dreaded hour... Or longer.