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Disconnecting

April 29, 2019

     The other day, I took a day off - from all social media, from phone calls and texts, from being social of any sort - and this seemed to upset someone I had been talking to lately, because this person thought I was "ignoring them." I calmly explained that I wasn't, that I just needed a day to disconnect and be alone (something I often do), but this didn't seem to sway this person's opinion of the matter and they proceeded to tell me, twice during the phone conversation, that I needed to see a psychiatrist, I clearly needed help.

     This frustrated me a bit and I expect that frustration leaked out into my tone of voice as I explained that taking a day off should be a normal thing, that most people should do it and would be better off if they did, but this person suddenly hung up on me.

    This caused me to realize two things: 1 - any person that is going to hang up on me instead of engaging in an adult conversation is not worth keeping in my life; 2 - This idea that we all need to be instantly accessible through our cell phones and social media is distorting our realities and putting unnecessary pressure on people to remain engaged at all times. The notion that we can't be reached for hours at a time, or for an entire day, seems to be unthinkable to "the addicted", the people who can't put their phones down for five minutes, let alone long enough to have a meal or watch a movie.

      I see this all the time in restaurants – whole families out together, gathered around a table, shoveling food in their mouths while gazing intently into their smartphones, completely oblivious to their loved ones around them.

     These are the people that need the help. It should be the simplest thing in the world to put down your phone and be in the moment, to disengage from technology and enjoy the world around you, to experience the joys of basic human interaction. It seems to me that we are traveling down a road where technology is swiftly superseding humanity and while yes, this technology does help us to connect to people who live far away or keep us in the loop about events much easier than before, it should not be the crutch is has so effortlessly become.

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