Last weekend my husband and I went to San Diego for a quick weekend getaway. We decided to just chill and eat at the hotel bar Friday night and, by luck, sitting next to us was a lady named Michele. A conversation struck and two and a half hours later, we felt like old friends. She had an amazing story of overcoming adversity and rising from childhood challenges. She is a new mom to adorable twin boys and it was cool to talk about parenting from totally different seasons of life. Our youngest is launching and she is just beginning the journey. She was funny as hell and our time together felt like a stolen moment.
Thank goodness my eyes were looking UP.
Two years ago I was at an airport waiting to fly to Vegas for a volleyball tournament. By chance through a silly Southwest Airlines competition at the airport, I met a wonderful lady named Betty. She was 90 years old and so much fun. We became fast friends and talked the entire flight. Her life story was so rich and interesting and I loved getting to know her. We became Facebook friends and I love keeping up with her.
Lucky me… my eyes were looking UP again.
We live in a time where everyone is always looking DOWN… into their phone. They’re texting, liking, retweeting, playing, checking, sending, spending, posting, stalking, and streaming while they walk to their cars, wait for their kids, or sit at a coffee shop. Sadly, the art of simple conversation is a dwindling skill.
What happened to the good old days where people talked to each other? Why is it normal to no longer make eye contact with those around us? Technology is a main form of communication, but also a distraction from having to be involved with our surroundings. When people are alone, they turn to their phone for comfort and connection. It’s just too easy.
But then we miss out.
Having our face in our phone means we miss moments and opportunities to meet those around us. Fascinating people. People with stories to tell. People who have led interesting lives. People who enrich our own lives just by talking about theirs. People who make the world so much more colorful and refreshing.
In this screen-age, where we are constantly glued into our laptops, our kindles, our iPhones, are we missing moments to connect with people?
My husband always laughs at me because I’m notorious for talking with our Uber drivers. I chat with them, ask about their lives, their families and where they are from. There is absolutely nothing on my phone more interesting than learning about the person I am sharing a ride with. I love my peeps on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but if I’m given the chance to meet someone new — in person — I’m all over that.
Eye contact and conversation are so powerful and yet we go through life with our eyes down. What a waste. As humans, we are meant to be seen. To be acknowledged and to belong. To connect with each other.
There is no app to replace those.
I called my boys on Saturday night. They were together so I told them to put me on speaker. I wanted them to know that you never you know who might be sitting next to you. Or in the same car as you. Or besides you at a bar. There is nothing that replaces face to face connections and I didn’t want them to miss out on core moments or memories because their eyes were locked on a screen.
In all honesty, they shook me off. It’s okay, nothing new. Sometimes as parents we just the plant the “seeds of wisdom” (how we see it!!) and wait to see if it’s blooms.
I hope my sentiments resonated and when they are out, they remember to put their phones away and talk to people around them. I hope they learn that everyone has a story and they take the time to get to know people whose paths they cross. I hope they enjoy unplanned and amazing interactions because they connected with random people around them. I hope they minimize their time scrolling and maximize their time living.
I hope they learn to look UP in life — a whole new world full of wonderful, interesting and inspiring people exists beyond that little screen.