Technological Contradictions

Have you ever wondered if technology really helps us develop better relationships?

I’m not saying I’d prefer to go back to the stone ages, but I like to think of modern advancements as supplements to a better life, not something that consumes our lives. Think about how many people you know who spend countless hours on Facebook or any other “socializing” interfaces. You see them posting how many points they scored in a game all day long and constantly nag you with notifications to join them. Sure, it’s a great way to “interact” with old high school friends, but too often I wonder if more fruitful relationships could be had with the core people in our lives if that same time was dedicated in visiting and really talking to the people who mean something.

As with everything, there are pros to using technology in relationships too. I Skype with my mom since we are thousands of miles apart. I get to see pictures of my nieces and nephews playing sports and read their highlights that their parents may not have figured important enough to call about. It really is a personal preference and I won’t judge anyone on how they chose to communicate, but I do fear for generations to come. Then again will they even know what they are missing? I got a birthday email from my grandmom this year instead of a card for the first time in my life. Will my children ever receive a card if her generation has already conformed to modern times?

One of my favorite things at antique shops are the old postcards. At first I felt like I was invading someone’s privacy by reading cute vacation messages from 1934, but then I started to romanticize the people who wrote and received these notes. I love that they are tangible. So much of what we write today is digital, lacks the penmanship and nuances that personal correspondence had. Who doesn’t love getting a written letter or non-digital birthday card? I realize postcards can be thrown out as quickly as text messages can be deleted, but to me it’s not the same; but who am I to judge as I write you from an iPad instead of handwriting you a letter. It’s a world of contradictions in my mind.

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Busy Hands Generation. Are You One of Them?

My Dad brought up a good point recently. He said, “When you go to a bar, what do you see? A drink and a cellphone in front of every person at the bar.” We’ve sat at various pubs since and noticed that he was right. And if a little LED blinks? Forget it. It’s like a gravitational pull that the phone owner cannot avoid. The world might deconstruct if the blinking light is not appeased.

“Must touch phone. Red light needs my fumbling hands. Please note, I’m no longer listening.  The pull is too strong and I am too weak.”

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Dance like Nobody’s Watching, Even Though They Are?

Even models trip. And then an entire article about it gets posted on dailymail.co.uk. Whether you're cool or not, no one is safe.

When I was little girl, I was paranoid that other people would see every little thing I did.  What I wore mattered and the fact that my cartwheels were not perfect actually bothered me as I tumbled across our front yard.  I remember helping my Dad to wash his car one day and he said;

“Shannon, you only think people are watching you.  You’re going through a stage where you feel like you’re on display and everyone will take interest or critique what you do.  They aren’t watching, because they are too busy worrying about the same thing; themselves.”

Although I didn’t record this epic conversation to quote it perfectly, that is what he said.  He told me about when he was younger and how he thought that everyone had something to say about what he said or did; even strangers.  He was right, I did go through that phase, but so was everyone else.

In high school, if I tripped on my own chucks, did I not feel the need to recover and look back at the floor like it assaulted me?  I even see adults do that today.  Who gave that floor the right to trip me?  It must be a defense mechanism, in which we place blame on some inanimate object so we don’t look like a fool.  So silly.  So what if we trip up, who hasn’t?  And will worrying about what people think of my slip-up make my life any better in the process?  Certainly not.

I’d like to think those sort of things don’t matter as much to me anymore.  But there is a flaw in my Dad’s grand plan of growing up.  Yes, I did eventually realize that my mundane life is not tabloid fodder but he also did not anticipate the age of the internet, cell phones and YouTube.  Just when you think it is safe to screw up, we find a world around us that is quick to document it for the world to see, in the form of pictures and video, whether you’re famous or not.  Stupid mistakes can end up on your boss’s Facebook page before Monday morning’s meeting and Grandma will never respect you again.  Luckily I’m just still tripping on my feet and nothing too embarrassing is going on over here, but boy am I glad I got my bearings before I realized what the future would hold.

Enact the Fifteen Minute Rule

Call your girlfriends. (Photo courtesy of tucsoncitizen.com)

One of my greatest friends made a suggestion not too long ago and unfortunately, it took me a while to let it sink in, and to realize how beneficial it is.  I wanted to share it with you.

Regardless of how busy your week is, take 15 minutes to call the people who are important to you.

Sounds obvious right?  My oldest and still my closest friends are, for the most part, scattered around the country.  With different careers, relationships and social lives, it’s nearly impossible to keep up on the day to day things that matter.  I hate it.  It’s embarrassing to not know a heck of a lot about people you love and care about.

The thing is, I always felt that if I made a call, the inevitable would happen; we’d tell the most recent random story, we’d laugh a ton, ask about each other’s families, jobs, significant others, reminisce about an old story, etc. and before you know it, two hours has passed.  Which, on a slow night is great and I can hang up the phone with a huge smile and say to myself, “After all these years, we still click”.  And we do, too much, over text and emails and not enough real conversation.

If we all said, “Listen, I have 15 minutes to get to point B, I wanted to check in and see how you are”, we’d talk more often and be more in tune.  Since none of us are sitting at home bored, I don’t think it’ll be offensive because we are all just as busy.

Call me old fashioned but the sound of friends’ laughter beats an “LOL” any day.  And imagine this, telling your friends how excited you are about their news instead of “Like”-ing it on Facebook.  Who knew.