Our kids just spent two weeks in Japan together, as our daughter’s flight from Melbourne to Hobart took off I reached for my ‘phone and followed it on my Flight Tracker.
We can see the airport from our place, could actually see her plane approaching and watch it land- my husband saw it land, told me it landed but the Tracker said it hadn’t- I believed the tracker! What a wake up call!
How much of reality are we missing as we choose to view our life and the lives of others via a device?
Calm water, sun shining, dogs having a ball on the near empty beach, and instead of letting the joy of it all engulf me, I am tripping over as I try to film it to show my husband.
Driving up the Far North Queensland coast as the Coral Sea comes in to view, glistening, but I miss seeing the tip of Port Douglas become visible as my husband tells me to photograph it. I look at the photo, but missed it in reality.
Travelling through Melbourne on a tram, my husband has his map app open , tracking our journey, he doesn’t see the sites around us right out the window or the characters sharing our ride.
Meeting my granddaughter for the first time, I almost forgot my phone! Grabbed it though and took photos that we will treasure but it meant that one of the first times I looked at her was through an iPhone 6s.
In this time of almost complete connectivity to each other all around the world, why is it then that I spend a fair amount of time feeling just a little bit lonely?
Watching a movie or a TV show, my husband will often be looking at his ‘phone at the same time, me too sometimes.He puts his ‘phone so close to my face to show me a meme, I’d rather his face that close to mine with the imminent possibility of a kiss!
When we sit at the bench after work, a time we’d always used to talk and debrief and share the happenings of the day, my day seems less important than that of those on Facebook. I’ve noticed too how often people are in the same room and laughing, but not sharing the laughter, each is watching something different on their ‘phone. Surely the joy of a good laugh is having it with someone else?
My daughter was meeting a friend for lunch, the friend had lost her ‘phone- my daughter wondered how she would let her know if she was running late? How long should she wait before she worried or gave up? This an added layer of anxiety that has crept in for us all as we expect to be able to get in touch immediately. I remember telling mum I’d be home on the 3:15 bus, if I missed that 4:15 and so on. I moved to Darwin for a year and sent the odd letter and called every few weeks. I went to Thailand and got home before my postcard did. She wasn’t worried yet now she expects, well demands really, that we all text her as we board a plane and when we land so ‘she doesn’t worry’.
I’m not saying I’m anti-technology and I love that we can stay in touch so easily now, I love that the world is literally in our pockets at our finger tips but I do wonder if we’re losing touch with those right next to us to stay in touch with those who we would probably never call, visit or often don’t even know.
We have stopped asking questions of those wiser than us ,preferring to quickly ‘google’ anything we want to know. What rich conversations are we missing out on as we head to Wikipedia instead of to our knowledgeable elders? Who aren’t we meeting as we use our GPS when we used to stop and ask a real person for directions?
As I ponder this I realise that I’m suffering from FOMO- not brought about my friend’s holiday snaps on Facebook and instagram, or the steaming coffee shots followed by the cocktail later in the day, or the celebrity stories of having it all. Nope, I’m fearful of missing out on my life, of missing out on contented moments with the love of my life, of truly listening to my children when they are talking to me, of meeting new people, of gaining knowledge from my friends: I’m fearful of missing out on NOW!
So I’m going to limit the device use and enter into a contract with myself to be with people not screens, perhaps I’ll call it INMO- I’m Not Missing Out!