unplug
photo by jill banach

photo by jill banach

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote about a WWOOFing trip to Dunbarton, NH my friend Jill and I went on during our spring break. We stayed with a couple who had grandchildren, so clearly there was an age gap. But despite this fact, Jill and I both shared a similar sense of awe at how meaningful our relationship with Susan and Ken had become in only a few short days. And it all came down to one simple factor.

We realized that we were able to develop such a deep connection with them so quickly because of the quality time we spent together. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were staples in their house. We never skipped a meal, and we never skimped on meals either. Each meal we enjoyed a thought-out dish and we sat for no less than an hour (usually more) and we talked. The first night we spent sitting by the fire pulling the old root systems out of Gladioli and the last night we played a game of Bananagrams. Susan and Ken also implemented a “TV-Free Zone” in their house so rather than rely on a television to entertain us, so instead we got the privilege of engaging in thought-provoking and inspiring conversation. There are people I’ve known for years that I can’t say I truly know. But I feel like I’ve known Susan and Ken forever. Many relationships are surface-level and I attribute that partly to the fact that there are so many distractions in our world.

Jill and I kept our phones off and upstairs the whole day. I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing this felt. It made me realize how dependent our society is on technology. I have found that having the ability to be in constant communication with people is certainly a source of stress because I feel an obligation to people at any given time. But I’ve realized that no one owes anything to anybody else. It’s important to maintain your relationships  and keep your commitments, but by the same token, don’t feel bound to your phone all day everyday just in case someone wants to get in contact with you.

I see so much mindless time spent on our phones, especially with people in the high-school and college age. Yesterday I was so discouraged when two people in front of me at a yoga class took their phones to their mat to scroll through social media sites with the extra three minutes we had before class. Through the whole class, it sat next to them on the mat. And when the class was over, you can guess the very first thing they did. I understand that our society is changing and technology is ubiquitous, but it’s scary when we don’t recognize how obsessive and addicted we are becoming. The whole belief system behind yoga is to connect to yourself and be aware of how you are feeling, and this is just the opposite of what the two girls in my yoga class were demonstrating.

Again, it’s incredible how many opportunities technology has given us in a multitude of fields and how it has connected us with the world. Additionally, social media sites can be a source of inspiration and creativity and allow us to spread information quickly. But I am observing that it has become excessive in my generation and much of the time we spend using it is time that can be used in much more productive ways. I see a lot of social media being used for superficial reasons. I can’t reiterate enough that in moderation, I don’t see a problem with it. And if it’s a source of enjoyment, obviously go for it! I just think we need to be aware of what we are doing (mindful, if you will). I think we need to pay attention to our actions before we all become disconnected entirely and can’t see what the consequences of our actions are.

Upon returning from Susan and Ken’s farmhouse, I was much more aware of how technology has disrupted social interactions. When sitting down at restaurants, often times the first thing people do is take out their phones. I see this as a growing concern.

As individuals with the power to be in control of our lives, we need to be aware of these trends and try to break these habits before they become an issue. The beauty of this worry is that we don’t need to accept that this is how life is. We can be the change we wish to see!

A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.