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viewpoint

Moments we miss

| Monday, March 21, 2016

Have you ever tried going without your phone for a day or two? It’s actually rather freeing. Everyday the urge to check for notifications buzzes at the back of our minds until we finally give in. We take our phones everywhere and check them constantly to the point where we forget that we are surrounded by other people we can actually open our mouth and talk to. Look up people. My parents have all these stories about random people they met while in a grocery store line, sitting in the doctor’s office or even standing in line at Disneyland, people that they have learned great lessons from and remember all these years later. If we always have our noses in our phones whenever we are in an awkward place, we miss out on the stories we might happen upon from those around us.

Now, understand that I’m not trying to be self-righteous. You see, if I had not lost my cell phone going on eight weeks ago now I would be right there with the rest of you. For the past two years around March I have lost my phone, and the experience always makes me look up and realize how much time I waste and how much I miss when I do have a phone. No, I have not turned into a hermit. I can still iMessage people on my computer, but yes I have felt more removed and maybe that’s really good thing.

Over Spring Break, I spent a week doing an Appalachia seminar through the Center for Social Concerns, and there my group of ten built relationships with each other and the people of the region and developed an appreciation of the simplicity of their lifestyle. Rarely was anyone’s phone out, instead we read books, played games, sang, laughed and loved a lot. It’s so much easier to strengthen relationships with people right in front of our faces when we aren’t constantly checking for a text or watching videos of how much fun someone else might be happening.

I’m not knocking cell phones altogether and obviously I recognize what an asset they can be to retaining our relationships across distances and making plans, but when they hinder new relationships from strengthening, or starting altogether, we do have a problem.

So try it. Leave your phone in your dorm for a day. Or, if that is too extreme, stand in line waiting for food, sit in your desk waiting for class to start or go from one whole class to another without pulling your phone out once. Focus on what you are doing and focus on what you can get out of life from those around you by looking up and not down.

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