I currently work as an usher in a theatre and increasingly I’ve noticed people using their phones during a show, to reply to emails, messages, Facebook etc. I find this so bizarre as these people have paid (sometimes quite a lot) to see the show and yet they can’t sit for two hours without checking their phone.
Part of this I believe is the trending habit to be on our phones at all times – when eating breakfast, watching TV, on the toilet, you name it.
I’ll admit, I too find myself using my phone when watching TV but I’ve also noticed that when watching a youtube video say, I’ll often flick the cursor to see how long I have left watching. I find this a strange habit as I chose to watch it. I have an interest in the thing I’m watching and yet I can’t wait until it’s over to get back to…what exactly?
We often have many interactions in our day. We interact with our phones, the barista at the coffee shop, the websites we visit, the emails people send us. But how often do we go that step further and connect with those things?
When we check our phones first thing, are really connecting with the content we’re receiving, or are we mindlessly hitting “Like”? When we order our morning coffee do we take that opportunity to connect with the real human barista in front of us?
Often the things that have the chance to give us the most joy in life are the momentary, the fleeting, the alive and the real. The things on our phones, Facebook, to-do list will always be there.
You aren’t connecting with your baby taking their first step if you’re checking the football score. You won’t notice the smile that barista gives you if your buried in your email. Interaction can be one-sided; connection requires you open yourself up to receiving. It’s scary and vulnerable because we don’t know what might happen if we do, but you’ll certainly miss a world of opportunities if you don’t.