No, I haven’t suddenly stopped my 30-day challenge, I haven’t suddenly given up and I haven’t forgotten to write in my blog. The reason why I haven’t written anything for four days is because I have been completely disconnected from computer screens, phones and Internet. I have been surrounded by forest, beach, ocean, birds, kangaroos and good friends. I’ve basically spent a long weekend away in paradise.
The best feeling ever is to be totally immersed in nature and totally present. That’s what happens when I disconnect from from technology – I connect to the people and the environment around me. I notice more, for example: the way the kangaroo uses the tail like a third leg (which made me curious enough to look it up on the Internet when I got back to civilisation); I notice falling stars in the sky; I notice how I don’t get upset after stepping in a pile of kangaroo poo, something that I would normally get quite upset about. I believe that when we put all our computers away, we connect more to the more important things in life.
Today we do spend so much time in front of computers. We are dependent on them when we pay our bills; we use them when we go shopping, as we don’t really need to go out anymore to buy our groceries. We ask Google for help instead of our friends; we don’t ask people for directions anymore because we use Google maps; we play computer games instead of boardgames; we are part of so many online social groups that the phone is constantly beeping from new messages popping up every day…maybe every hour, or half hour..maybe every five minutes…maybe every minute. We forget to connect with the people who are physically close to us; we forget to talk to the person next to us because it’s more important to reply to a message on Whatsapp; we forget to ask our neighbours for help when we need it, instead we try to find the solutions to our problems online. We try to avoid communicating to random people at the bus stop by hiding our faces behind the computer screen; we don’t want to look lonely so we hide our faces behind the computer screen; we want to look busy so we hide our faces behind the computer screen. We are too scared to call people these days, it’s much easier to send a message; we misunderstand each other a lot more these days because we try to express everything that we want to say through a simple SMS; we get upset with each other because we are not present with each other and we don’t truly listen to what the other person has to say, as we are too distracted by the beeping phone that we unsuccessfully tried to hide in the room next door. We used to go to work, now work has come to us and entered our homes; there is less conversation at the dinner table because some of us are busy checking our phones; we try to feel less lonely by connecting with our virtual friends on Facebook.
The thing is that I believe you can have thousands of friends on Facebook, but what is much more important is the one friend sitting next to you – don’t’ take them for granted.