Recently, I joined two friends for dinner and drinks. Just before we linked up, my phone died so I left it charging nowhere near me.
My two friends spent much of the night engrossed in their emails and facebooks and instagrams, incessantly scrolling. Not the least bit interested or engaged in the live in-person conversations I was trying to have.
Thus I spent much of the evening people watching…quietly. On the one hand I was wanting to demand we pay attention to each other and oh the other hand feeling like why bother? If I have to fight for their attention, they don’t really want to give it to me.
The most surprising thing was actually feeling free without my phone. No apps to open, no texts to respond to, no calls, no emojis, no notifications. I didn’t even want my phone back.
I rarely am without my phone and charger at any given moment. It made me realize how I make others feel when I’m disengaged and solely phone concious. I need to drop my phone in my bag sometimes and forget about it.
Of course later that night upon returning to my phone with a few more percents in battery life, I was back in the addiction. I saw no faces and heard no voices.
What can I do to be more present?
I actually wrote about this when going through a personal and professional goal setting course a few years ago. I wrote SMART goals about my life. Be Present. Huge challenge still.
Our digital lifestyles sometimes neglect our need for true human interaction. We need to disconnect to connect more.
I find myself wrapped up in my phone on my daily commute while riding the train. Some days it’s nice to limit screen time and just look out the window, read a magazine or check out the newspaper.
I certainly don’t feel guilty about accessing and using the helpful tool that is my phone. It’s wonderful but there are times when I can do more by being present in the moment with people.
How many other things in life might I be missing by not putting my phone down?
These days we are less connected with our endless connections. Remember that when you find yourself so enticed by your phone screen that the world passes you by. Some days put the phone down and be free.