Look Up

Desert Botanical Gardens Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens
Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Someone yesterday told me that she feels lonely even when she’s around other people.  She then told me about a video she’d seen that described exactly how she feels.  Look Up is an incredibly powerful poem/ video about how we’ve allowed technology to isolate us.

About 6 months ago, I was out to dinner with my husband.  He was doing something on his phone, and I looked around at other couples in the restaurant.  They were sitting together and on their phones.  I go out to dinner with friends, and they say they want to see me, but then spend a lot of time checking their phones or checking in on Facebook or taking pictures of their dinner.

Technology was not meant to isolate us.  At its best, it’s a tool that can make all of our lives easier.  I have information at my fingertips.  I can carry photos with me without having those plastic things in my wallet.  (Side note: do kids exchange school pictures anymore, writing notes on the back?)

We don’t experience things firsthand anymore.  We experience them through a camera.  It’s as if things aren’t real until we check in on Facebook, tweet about it, or Instagram it. Facebook has become the new journal.  Instead of writing down private thoughts, we put everything out there.  The information is there, but it becomes virtually meaningless.  There’s no filter as to what’s important and what’s not.  It all takes on a false importance that renders everything unimportant.

Maybe I won’t remember every detail of my trip if I don’t use “social” media, but maybe I’ll enjoy it more.  Feel more about it.  Relax more.  Have private jokes to share with just one person.  We don’t connect with strangers in line anymore, because we’re too busy texting or checking Facebook.  Then, if we fall, we wonder why no stranger stops to help us up.  Why should they?  They haven’t connected with us, and it’s everyone’s fault.  Yours, mine, theirs.  If you feel lonely, and you’re on your phone or other device in public, I challenge you to put it down and smile at a stranger.  They might look away.  They might glare at you.  Because we don’t do that anymore.  But change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you want to see change in the world, IT HAS TO START WITH YOU.

So, if this video touched you or anything I’ve said strikes a chord with you, please be aware of how you’re using technology.  Look up from your phone or iPad and be in the world for a minute.  Don’t check in; don’t upload pictures of your food.  Have a journal or a notebook instead of a Facebook.  Just be in the moment.  And see what happens.

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