Living In The Moment, Not On The Phone

When was the last time you went somewhere without your phone? Or when was the last time you went somewhere and didn't take your phone out of your pocket? When was the last time you visited a beautiful place without Snapchatting it? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone without Tweeting it? When was the last time you spoke to someone face to face instead of via text message? When was the last time you lived in the moment and not on your phone?
Can't remember? Most of us probably can't.

We're a generation of technology fanatics. Our homes are piled high with thousands of pounds worth of gadgets and we rely on them to get through most days. We're a generation of tweeters, Instagrammers, bloggers and vloggers. We're a generation obsessed with getting the perfect shot, so much so we'll take a hundred photos before finding one we feel is up to scratch. We're a generation of airbrushers, facetuners and photoshoppers, going to extreme lengths with image manipulation until something no longer looks real. We're a generation of post now, think later, addicted to social media and the temporary highs it brings us whilst we put what really matters on the back burner.

Technology, our phones mainly, is preventing us from living in the moment. Whilst tech is great, it isn't, or at least it shouldn't be, a long term thing. We shouldn't be prioritising texting over talking and need to quash our burning desires to post a photo on our Instagram stories as soon as we visit a new place, rather than taking a moment to actually take in our surroundings and acknowledge where we are. 
Social media and mobile phones provide us with happiness, there is no doubt about that. Memes, funny YouTube videos and relatable Tumblr posts make us smile and laugh, however, this happiness is only temporary. It lasts for a short amount of time and comes in short bursts. Our phones won't last forever and, as soon as we put them down, what are we left with? Our thoughts.

Being alone with your thoughts is so scary. Allowing yourself to fully feel everything you’ve been pushing to the back of your mind is daunting, it’s intimidating, it’s terrifying because it means allowing unfamiliar emotions and thoughts you’ve been ignoring to fully consume you, but the positive impact that can have on your life is immense. Spending time with your thoughts will not only give you chance to think about why you feel how you do, it'll also strengthen your ability to figure out ways of combating negative situations in your life and will give you a greater understanding of who you are as in individual. Using phones as a temporary fix and a drug to resolve long term issues does not work and whilst it may provide us with happiness for a short amount of time, our phone is distracting us from the real world and prohibiting us from focusing on what truly matters. Sure, you may be up to date with the latest Kardashian news, but what about you? What about the things happening in your life? You can't ignore them forever. 

We've given our phones so much power that we've forgotten who we are. We are floating through life as robots or carbon copies of the people we follow online, almost as if we don't know how to feel properly anymore and as if we've forgotten how to exist in a real environment, even if we are fully equipped to exist in a virtual one.

Another thing our phones are doing is preventing us from appreciating our natural surroundings. We visit a place and immediately want to whip out our phone to tell our friends where we are or post a video on Snapchat so it feels as if the whole of the internet is there with us, even when we're there alone. We don't need to do this though. We don't need to tell the whole of the online world where we are or what we're doing 24/7. We don't need to post pictures of every place we visit because whilst someone can double tap it and leave a positive comment about it on Instagram, they are unable to fully appreciate the place for what it is because they have only seen an image of it, not the real thing. Let's allow ourselves to fully live in the moment and go to places and just truly BE there. Let's not only look at our surroundings, but take time to truly absorb them. Take in a deep breath, notice how things move, acknowledge how they make you feel and actually be in a moment without the fear of your online pals missing out. Put your phone away and give in to the universe and accept warmly all the beauty it is offering you. Trees, wind, flowers, leaves, grass, animals, tall buildings, quaint streets, water, sunshine, animals and every other aspect of nature. You are not missing out on anything by switching your phone off. The only thing you are missing out on by being so attached to your phone are opportunities to spend time with yourself and take in everything that existed prior to technology, the things that are the very foundations of our existence and keep us going centuries later.

Human beings are so materialistic, some more so than others, but we all are in some sense. Technically, we were born with everything we need to survive and live a perfectly happy life, yet we have been conditioned to believe we need more. We have grown to believe that, the more we own, the happier we will be, but possessions do not equate to long term, sustainable, TRUE happiness. And, at the end of the day, when our time is over, we won't be wanting to send one last tweet or post one last selfie, we'll be in need of human contact, something our phones are stealing away from us as they destroy our relationships with the people who matter most.

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?
Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?”
― Max Lucado

Technology, and how advanced it is, is incredible. It saves lives every single day and opens our eyes to places, people and knowledge that exist beyond our own comfort zones. But, it isn't everything. 
Let's become more sentient again, let's learn to build relationships, acknowledge and respond to our emotions and thoughts, let's become more aware of, not just our surroundings, but the true version of ourself that exists within those surroundings as opposed to the online versions of ourselves we've created in a bid to gain secondary gratification from strangers.

Life is beautiful. Thinking is beautiful. Existing is beautiful. Look up from your screen and see for yourself.

Love, Emily

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