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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Texting a Life Away

The couple of times I have joined my colleagues for lunch resulted in them grabbing my phone and keeping it for the duration of the lunch.  "You're so bad with that thing," they said.  I just put it down to them giving me a hard-time, something they do somewhat often.

A visit with my son and he stated "do you think you could be more present mom?"

Still I was able to justify both my actions and their comments.  Then I met a friend for dinner, it had been a while.  I placed my phone on the table, soon we were clinking glasses, chatting and laughing.  A few pings from my phone and I broke from the conversation and quickly responded to the incoming texts.   It was the next moment where things changed for me.  A look of sadness and disappointment radiated from my friends  eyes. I made some excuse, like I always did. "Do you think we can have dinner without your phone tonight?"

My heart broke a little right then.  It broke because it was in that moment that I realized I had a problem. It broke because I could only wonder how many times I made people I cared feel less than happy. 

I don't want to be that person. 

It happened to me the other day too. I was enjoying a nice afternoon with a friend. We were canoeing on the lake on an incredibly beautiful and sunny day.  He started to get texts from friends about an event he was interested in.  Excitedly he texted them back telling me about it also. It continued.  His messages back and forth. I paddled. I paddled alone while he texted.  I enjoyed the beautiful sunny moment. Alone.  I also watched him. I felt pity.  Disappointment.  It was okay for a short while to see him share his excitement for something that was not happening here and now, but then it shifted.  I thought of how beautiful this moment was and that I was unable to share it with the person I was for all intensive purposes supposedly sharing it. 

Then I also thought of how nice it would be to share that moment with someone who might appreciate it.  I wonder, how many times did people have the same thought about me?  I don't want to allow for that opportunity again. 

Life is about the people and the moments you share with them. At least in my opinion. I know I will never for one moment regret not grabbing my phone and breaking a beautiful moment to respond to an inconsequential text. 

I fight the urge to pick up my phone sometimes.  If I were to be really honest, I would have to say that I have good days, and better days.  But I am trying.  I want to be present.  And frankly, I don't want to keep the company of someone who isn't present either.  Next time I go canoeing, or set out to enjoy a moment, I won't be sharing it with the texting friend. He was able to justify why he wanted to text. I was also in the past.  We all can.  But in the end, if we are having to justify - then it's time to take a hard look at what's happening.  I did, and it wasn't pretty.  


1 comment:

  1. Dawn, this is a monumentally important subject. This CPA. Continuous Partial Attention it's pervasive and we need to get a conversation going about it. We are missing out on real life and disconnecting from the moments that matter. Just the presence of a phone on the table reduces the quality of conversation significantly. I have vowed to no longer take my phone into restaurants or to parties. And if the urge is that bad I go to my car and "do it" in my own presence. We all know what to feels like to be in the someone's presence who gives us their undivided attention. We also know hat it feels like when someone is divided and dissipated in their attention. It's clear we need some fresh thinking on this because life is precious and short and nothing of any real significance is going to happen on our phones. Appreciate your voice. Shine on!

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