Dear Fellow Millennials,
We need to wake up. We’ve been living in a virtual world for far too long. Life used to be so simple without technology clouding every move we make. When’s the last time you went an entire day without checking your phone? Without technically being five places at once? We’re all guilty of it, trust me, but when I start to think about how much I’m glued to my phone, I also realize how much I’m un-glued from everything else. It’s not easy, but I think we can kick the habit together.
Imagine a world where the person in front of you is the only person you’re with; the only one that matters in that moment. Imagine the connection you’d get by unplugging and putting all of your energy into the real, tangible relationships around you. Sure, the advances we’ve had in our generation make life “easier,” but easy isn’t always better. The best things in life usually turn out to be the hardest to work for.
The thing we all need to realize is that nothing is perfect. All too often, we leave an imperfect situation because it seems like the grass is greener on the other side. When we get there, we realize it’s worse than the patch we left. The grass is greener where you water it. Nothing grows without love, care, time and effort. We’ve lost the ability to fight for things, to prove ourselves and build our character, because “tweets” and Instagram comments are enough now. What used to be said in letters is now limited to 140 characters.
With all these constant changes in our world though, one thing stays the same: life is so short. Anything can happen today, tomorrow, next week or next year and time never changes. There’s still only 24 hours in a day and we’re sleeping for a few of those. Studies have been released sharing that our generation spends 3.1 hours a day, 1,128 hours or 47 days a year, on their phones! Almost two months of every year, we’re glued to our devices, missing out on everything around us. Think two months back, doesn’t that seem like a long time ago? Imagine if you didn’t look up from your phone once since February. Who have you forgotten to see, forgotten to tell you love, or hurt by being distant or not present when you were with them? And what people did you waste time on and invest energy into for no reason at all.
It’s a harsh reality, but I think it’s important to note that our social media relationships are inauthentic and watered down. Unfortunately, it’s the best way to network in this crazy world and keeps us in touch with the people we’d otherwise know nothing about. But that person liking your photo that you see once a year when you visit your hometown for Christmas – they don’t know anything about your life other than the short status you post about “craving pancakes” and a shallow like is simply that. That’s not to say the many “virtual emotions” and comments littering your timeline aren’t genuine, because those people may very well “like” that you were in Colorado last week, but they don’t know why. They don’t know who you went with, who you went to see, or when you got home safe. There’s a level of true caring that is lost in our world today and the sad part is, people aren’t demanding it back.
I know it’s impossible to think about life without our phone in our pocket and Facebook to kill time on at work, but try for just one hour to think about reality. Right there in front of you, undeniable, true and authentic, life. Try to think about the people that know the most about you, who took the time to learn what you like, what makes you happy and gave you a real shoulder when you needed to cry. The ones that care about you everyday, not just when you decide to share a glimpse of a moment with them and 1,000 other people. Tell them how much you care. Tell them how much they mean to you and remind them that they’re so important. That you wouldn’t be where you are without them really, truly supporting you. Water the grass around you until people envy it. Don’t embrace the easy, accept the hard and remember a lot can happen in the 47 days a year you spend looking down instead of forward.