Living for the moment

October 13, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Today’s technology is heavily ingrained in our society. Ever heard of the phrase “We’ve never been so connected but disconnected at the same time”? Society has been at that point for quite some time now.

From live-streamed television, the wonders of the Internet, smartphones, to tablets and everything else in between, we have a plethora of instant communication and interactive technology right at our fingertips.

Don’t get me wrong, I think technology is great, and I do use it. There are positive aspects to it. From Facebook to Skype, allowing for instant communication with people across the world, people you probably wouldn’t interact with if not for that technology, as well as with those family members you’d probably never see, keeping them constantly updated on events in your life. The Internet gives us an infinite amount of information. And cellphones allow for mobile communication.

But really, has all this technology really benefited us? Really connected us in a personal, emotional way?

Sure, you may have 200 friends on Facebook, but 100 of them are family. How many of those other 100 “friends” are ones you actually see? Only 10, and the rest are friends of friends? Or people you no longer interact with?

If you think about it, you’ll find that you are connected, but disconnected from something at the same time. Let’s call it “being on autopilot.”

When texting a friend, the response isn’t always instant. Some conversations (from experience) go throughout the day, sometimes even longer. In between those conversations, you could be watching television, playing video games, at work, or even texting other friends. What you get is a fragmented conversation that really doesn’t resonate with you. If you actually call or see your friend face-to-face, that conversation might only last a couple hours, but you’re actually there, listening and engaging with that person.

Ask yourself this: are you more excited about the new iPhone than seeing your family or friends? What does the iPhone have to offer that people in your lives don’t? A new iPhone is released almost every year, and not much changes.

What really irritates and frustrates me is when I’m watching television with my family, and one of them is on the laptop and asks me what they just missed. I don’t know how many times I tell them to just watch and get off the laptop, because I don’t like to explain what happened and then miss out on a part of the show/movie.

Or when family comes over, and one of my cousins just sits down on their phone or tablet and plays games and texts friends. My cousin would rather be on her phone than play a game with the family. Sure, they are physically in my house, but are on autopilot. They don’t interact with the family gathering, catching up with each other’s lives, and just being with everyone.

When I went to a concert at the Air Canada Centre a couple years ago, I brought a friend. But throughout the entire time (and I mean entire time) my friend recorded the whole show. The entire time he was there, he viewed the concert through his iPad, through autopilot. He was so focused on recording the show he missed it when he and I appeared on the big screen on the stage. (I didn’t miss it.) Sure, I did take some photos and a few videos, but I still saw the concert, took it in, and still remember it. When I bring it up to my friend, he needs the video he recorded to remember it.

What I never understand is taking pictures of your food. It bothers me seeing it, I don’t care what you’re eating for dinner, how delicious it is; that information is useless the second I see it.

Ever see that Zantac commercial, where a couple is eating out, and the wife is taking photos of her dinner plate, and by the time she’s done, her husband has finished? Okay, the commercial is about Zantac and stopping heartburn, but read between the lines. The underlying message is to just eat your food, instead of photographing it.

When traveling, are you always connected back home, or taking hundreds upon hundreds of photos? Sure, you don’t want to forget, but by never being in the moment, taking in the scenery and culture of your trip, have you already forgotten? There’s nothing wrong with taking photos; I love it. But maybe in certain moments, just being there is best, instead of autopilot and going through the motions.

Just because you have so many photos, do you truly have memories? Do you really remember, or does it take that photo to jog your memory, to rely on it instead of your mind?

As Ron Swanson from the television series Parks and Recreation once said, “Food is for eating, places are for being.”

Sometimes, it’s best we don’t need to have technology, to be on our phones, online all the time. Technology is a valuable tool, if it’s used properly and for its intended purpose. One needs to simply find that right balance. Do you really want to know someone through texts and Skype, instead of a deeper, emotional, personal connection?

Put down your phone, stay off-line for a bit, turn off your autopilot, and enjoy the moment, live in it; who knows what you might see. There’s no better time than the present.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.