When I was 20 years old I was flying from Toronto to Halifax to visit my family. I met a young lady who had been born in Mexico but raised in California and she was leaving the easy warmth of the West Coast for the vibrant seafaring East Coast to study at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We shared stories of our childhoods and the long, hot summers gone by. We talked about our parents and showed pictures of our siblings that we pulled out of our wallets. On the short flight we became fast friends, exchanging addresses and promises to keep in touch. I was genuinely interested to hear about her adjustment and university life and she was anxious to hear about my visit with my family and life back in the city I called home for the time being. We parted with hugs and best wishes and I kept her address tucked away in a side pocket in my purse.
Months later I decided to send her a card. I inquired about how she was doing, said it was great to chat with her and I hoped she was doing well at Dal. She replied weeks later with a card saying she had made friends and was adjusting quite well but got homesick at times.
Our lives never intersected again and that was the last written correspondence we had. Years later I saw a canvas she had painted on display at The Colchester Regional Hospital in my hometown of Truro. I was certain from the lively, colorful commotion she had created she must be happy and that made me smile.
I think of her from time to time and the imaginative eclectic mix of people I have met over the years on planes, buses, in waiting rooms, washrooms, Vegas strip clubs, concert line-ups, neighborhood pubs…..well you catch my drift!
I wonder how many great conversations and fleeting friendships I have missed out on with my nose pressed into my Samsung Galaxy. There are a lot of great things on the internet (like this uh-huh) but there is also life out there happening all around us. Smiles, handshakes, laughter, people connecting “IN-PERSON”
We call ourselves “Social” because we “Social network” but how social are we really? How many of us sit at parties and play candy crush and avoid real conversations with real people. This is not technologically advanced. It is socially stunned.
Last week I decided to put my phone on the charger when I came home from work and not pick it up for the rest of the night. I used to carry it from room to room tapping away. I know a lot of you can relate. I have been trying hard to keep this routine every night. I am not sure my family has noticed yet but one day they will look up from their own electronics and realize there is life happening all around them!
I love Social Media! I personally use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress… I think if used correctly they are all fascinating tools that can connect people all over the world immediately. People can share, content, ideas, create excitement and change. That being said I think your social media success depends largely on a balancing act between online and face to face interaction. Social media is a juncture between humanity and technology and you can absolutely create and share meaningful, witty, relevant content.
I just think that often we ignore the people around us in an attempt to be “social” That is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It will undoubtedly be harmful to your relationships.
Moments are brief and once they are gone they are lost forever. Sometimes we need a reminder that the people beside us deserve a bit of our undivided attention.
I used to work in sales and we used to get lots of calls from people asking a multitude of questions and our boss used to tell us to be mindful of the time we spent on the phone because the people who took the time out of their day to drive to our store deserved our full and undivided attention. I always remembered that and it sits at the back of my mind. Sometimes we all need a reminder, I admit, especially me.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life