By Mana Williams 20 Minutes
I visited Auckland this weekend, headed to the Coromandel Peninsula for a quick getaway and a catch up with some friends. The whole occasion though was mostly spent offline. Which for most people of my generation is completely taboo, which I feel is stupid. So this chat is in discussion with some of the psychological ties created by our media devices at a social level and looks for some answers that people might be able to try.
Imagine you’re going on holiday. Spending time with people you’ve never met before on a beach in the top of the North Island of New Zealand. A nice holiday home with large open rooms and modern decor. Food and drink of all kinds available to you and you are comfortable with the people around.
But there’s one catch. There’s no Internet or cell phone coverage!
This happened last weekend. Within two hours there were a few lost lambs holding their devices up like the Liberty Statue in New York holding her torch into the sky trying to get reception. It’s almost like they expected to get data in the middle of nowhere. I remember one time when I was biking on the top of a hill in Christchurch, New Zealand, looking for a decent photo when it hit me that my entire life was basically a photo book. Wasting around looking for reasons to consume my time on social media like Snapchat or Facebook.
It’s sad that we acclimatize ourselves to become used to natural beauty or adapt our way of living to find pessimism in our own climate that it’s honestly disturbing! We have access to unlimited natural beauty yet we moan and complain about ICloud updates and Facebook posts about Donald Trump that too often we miss what is really important. New or existing connections with friends and the love of our family are the most significant things we will ever have.
So why do we care so much about communicating with the outside world?
I can’t speak for other people because someone might have something important going on, but I can suggest a few things that might shed some coverage on the phony addiction. Reading from a scientific point of view, when we receive text messages or a little red notification number on Facebook, our brain receives a shockwave that releases a chemical dopamine in our body. Yeah, dopamine, one of the many drugs Lance Armstrong used to win the Tour De France seven times. To put it bluntly, it’s a drug which induces addiction. The same kind of chemical reaction that is caused by drinking alcohol and smoking Marijuana.
But by all means, take that call in the middle of our conversation. By all means, sit outside a neighboring house with WiFi. I should rephrase by all means into by any means. Because by any means necessary we look for reasons to sit on our phones. Dinner tables, Funerals, Graduations, in the hospital, mid-conversation on our date, it’s shocking.
So what can we do to change?
Not much is accomplished without a lot of effort. As time ticks over we look at ways to make our lives easier by letting go of stress and self-anxiety. Like watching TV, cell phones offer us some lazy time. But you’re on holiday, spending time with new people who are actually interested in your business, so get off your phone, stop looking for reception, and live a bit better. We are all so consumed by social media, the aspect to socializing and a need for politics and information or communication erodes our time spent with others. It’s corrosive attributes bleed out when other people want our attention. When your little sister is wanting to talk with you or when a parent is trying to spend some quality time with you, when your lover is trying to gaze into your eyes. We are all catalyzed by our lust for social mediums that it’s noticeable when we are addicted.
Why the fuss?
Wouldn’t it be great if airports were not a warehouse full of anxious people and overpriced Powerade’s? I was sitting in an airport last night next to a power outlet charging my phone, and I was looking around the airport terminal thinking about all of the people with their cell phones out and how nobody was talking to each other. It was like we all had this predisposition that we were all traumatized by the idea of missing out or the idea of being late for something, even if that something wasn’t really that important. This made up fear like a whip forces us to converge into this way of living and keeps us in a state of anxiety. It shocked me that so many people were in one room and you could literally hear a coin hit the floor. Almost like sheep in a slaughter house waiting for the chop.
What would be a reasonable change?
Sitting in church last weekend was one of the first churches where all of the new students had arrived. Looking around I could see a lot of faces old and new. I was triggered to go and socialize. After chewing a guys ear off, I got an overlay on the significance of properly socializing. Going out of my way to make a new connection with a guy who I had a ridiculous amount in common with showed me how important it is to open your eyes and get out of your comfort zone. Or should I say cell phone zone? Anything to disconnect. Being able to get off the grid helps you find moments of randomness where you learn something new.
So what does it all look like?
If you were on holiday, your cell phone was disconnected, sat in an airport hangar sitting next to your family, what would you talk about? You would gain some rich connections that’s for sure. Precious moments where you might talk about the good old days with your mum or something stupid you did on your first day of high school. These little moments is what it really looks like. I’m not saying you’ll get cheaper Powerade’s at airports but you’d certainly feel less anxious if everyone was talking about something.
This is today’s blog for you guys, I hope it wasn’t too long as I had a long time to put this one down into words. Tonight I will be writing up my monthly talk to check in and see how I’m feeling and see how I’m doing. Would like to say again how thankful I am that you are still here, and as always…
Thanks for checking in.