As I was waiting underground for the East-bound train to arrive, I was watching riders filter down below making their way to various spots along the subway platform. Idling around, everyone biding the time in their own particular and individual way, I started paying attention to their actions. And almost all of us were fidgeting on our smart phones.
A couple of days ago I watched a quick TED talk in which a woman well entrenched behind the Media industry’s front lines spoke about our collective fear of being alone yet ironically grasping for intimacy. We as a society now fill in those moments alone with ones full of tweets, instant messages, emails, and status updates. We live inside of our technologies, ignoring our outside world..and I can easily say I do this as well.
Can we challenge ourselves to be comfortable being alone. Can we challenge ourselves to enjoy our alone time and actually crave it? Must we always stay connected?
A young women next to me calmly waited for the train. She boarded the same car as I, even sitting in front of me. She stayed composed and to herself the entire time. These 10-stop trips for me usually contain reading headlines on social news applications, random thoughts projected on my twitter feed, and scrolling through my emails trying to remember which ones I needed to respond to once I got home. It’s easy to tune-out, plug-in, and close out those and everything else around you. But this trip was different.
I made an effort to stay off my phone, and it sounds pathetic now that I’ve actually written that statement out. Made an effort. Why couldn’t I just relax? Simply sit back and enjoy the fact that I’m not in control of the vehicle, watch mothers interact with their children, adults on their way to work, travelers going from point A to point B. Who honestly gives a fuck about what I want to share on whichever social media platform?
Let’s not ditch the technology, that’s not what I’m saying at all. But, let’s try to retain precious and sacred moments. Let’s live in the moment in a conscious and communal environment, acknowledge our surroundings, and learn to be alone. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time.
You never know what you’re going to miss.
Right-click and enjoy.