it seems that i have become “that” person.
when people see me coming they sheepishly try to put their phones away without my noticing. they apologize for their last several status updates or explain why they were so hyper-active on twitter the day before. if they have their headset in their ear they wince, making their most sheepish “i’m caught” face.
i feel sad because, of all the people i do not want to be, it is “that” person.
so, today i want to write about why i care so much about our full fledged love for (and consumption of) all things digital in the hopes of putting forth that which i am for (instead of that which i appear to be against). i want to expose my deepest passion. the one that drives me even harder than my frustration with screens and the way they numb us out and dumb us down. my real love is this...life. relational life. intimate, raw, unknown-ahead-of-time experience and existence. full, real, and true relationships with ones’ self, ones’ God, and ones’ community. life. in capital letters. LIFE.
life, to be satisfactorily lived, requires attention. this is why i care about the lack of attention we pay to our non typing or seeing senses, why it matters to me that we sometimes cut experiences short in order to type about them, and this is why i am passionate about calling our technology habits to our conscious awareness. it’s not that i’m anti-sharing. i don’t necessarily even have issues with self promotion. i simply feel sad when i experience a stronger draw to my glowing computer screen than to my fully embodied life. when i feel a desire to do something simply so that i can tell someone i did it. basically, when the responses to my status updates become more important to me than the activity i engaged in.
many people i encounter hold back, feeling that they don’t know how to accomplish what pop psychology calls “living their best life.” experiencing defeat before they begin, they sit back and wait until the “just right” opportunity presents itself. they don’t do the small things that might not matter to anyone other than themselves. they feel paralyzed by fears of getting it wrong.
to these people i say, never mind living your best life...just live a real life. a messy life. a life filled with “i can’t believe i did that crazy/silly/mundane thing i’ve always wanted to do but never quite had the courage to do” moments. like going to a movie by yourself. like playing in a fountain. like dancing, alone, at a concert. take yourself out to dinner. or take someone else. maybe someone you hardly know. go into an asian market just to look and smell. buy horchata at a mexican grocery and try to speak in spanish. walk slowly. walk a labyrinth. write a letter. read your favorite book from high school. join a team. take a class. daydream. go ice blocking. and please, by all means, remind me to keep doing the same.
what i’m saying is this, update your status to your hearts’ content. tweet ‘til the cows come home. text away. my hope is simply that you’re doing these things on your breaks from doing the really important thing...bravely, boldly, and wildly living the real life that happens in between typing things up.