As a kid, one of my favourite things in the entire world was roasting marshmallows… a classic campfire activity that warms your heart. The task of finding that perfect stick, putting the marshmallow in the most ideal spot over the campfire to turn it that “just right golden brown”, (mine would be a charred black as they always tasted better burnt…ya, I’m a weirdo), and then placing the gooey goodness between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate. Yum!
This past weekend, I got to recreate that memory and I enjoyed every second of it. With just one bite of the warm s’more, it instantly brought back a slew of childhood memories that made me smile. It made me think of the simple things when I truly lived in the moment because I knew it no other way, but got me wondering- when was the last time I really enjoyed something for what it was worth without the pinging symphony of text messages and notifications, the instant need to want to post on Instagram, and the temptation to “just check on one thing” for “just one second” in my email or online, so heaven forbid I wasn’t missing anything at the office or in the world of social media.
The lake and camp (cottage) is my solitude. It’s a place I go often throughout the year to unwind, let go of work related stress, and reconnect with family and friends. That is, until my phone disrupted my peace and quiet. This weekend, as I watched the most breathtaking sunset over Lake Superior (and then immediately shared it on Facebook with all of you), it really hit me in regards to how much time I spend on my phone and the amount of time I give up in order to be plugged in 24/7. I wondered when I turned my life over to technology, invited my phone to camp, and made it such a priority to react to communication from people online, instead of creating and experiencing the life that was happening around me.
My phone is always by my side… I have no time to myself, it never wants me to go anywhere without it, and there are no more “girls nights out” for just me and my friends, (because it always comes with). Without even realizing it, my phone has become a controlling boyfriend that is making me miserable and I just can’t shake it.
There’s an image currently being shared on Facebook, showing a group of friends at a campsite – the caption reads:
“Anybody have plans to stare at their phones somewhere exciting this weekend?”
It’s amusing, but sadly true. Far too often we spend way too much time staring at the little screen in our hand, worried that we’ll miss out on something important if we don’t check in, when in reality perhaps we are missing out on what is happening right in front of us. This addiction is ruining our downtime and we aren’t really getting a break when we need it the most. We are letting our phones get in the way and as a result we can’t tune out and truly focus on where we are or the people we are with.
Now I am not saying to cut him or her (your phone/device) out of your life completely. You have spent a lot of time with them for the last couple of years (on average research is indicating THREE HOURS a day…and rising), so I don’t think we can go cold turkey, (AND my job kind of relies on us being on our phones), but I do think it’s time we start seeing other people. Really seeing them. Your presence—your attention—is the most precious thing you can give someone else and is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
I for one, am going to start making some changes on how much attention I give my phone, at what time of day I do give it love, will start leaving my device out of sight at certain times throughout the day and will even try to not be at its beck and call and not react to it immediately.
Life is happening right now. Live it and enjoy it. Remind yourself of what life feels like when you’re not online and plugged in. And remember, a relationship is supposed to be a well-balanced companionship.
Now go, #BayAwesome. xo