12 Jan The Greatest Present
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing this post lately, and it really came to my attention to get it done during the festivities occurring all around the sphere we call “home” a few weeks back.
But, before I get into it, let me take you back in time.
I want to take you all the way back to the year 2004. Yup, that’s right, more than a whole damn decade prior to today.
If you don’t remember it, or in fact weren’t even born, then damn, don’t I feel old.
But this year – for those who don’t know – was a brilliant time to be livin’. You see, it was a time when MSN was our go-to for communication, a lot of us didn’t have a personal phone, and medieval dragon stories were actually mocked and thrown in the corner along with nerds and stamp collecting.
To jog your memory, the year of 2004 involved a bomb exploding outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, an enormous earthquake causing a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean that resulted in 230,000 lives lost, the Athens Olympics going down – as well as Janet Jackson’s top, Gmail was born, and the final season of Friends was aired. And you, well you, my friend, if you were one of the lucky few, had just started to fall in love with Snake.
Fast-forward a mere 4000 days or so, and look at where we’re at with everything these days.
We’ve had two other summer Olympics since then, have practically forgotten about Janet’s misfortunate nip-slip at the Super Bowl, Gmail is now the world’s most used email service, and crazy Friends’ fans put together a fake trailer for a movie that isn’t happening.
Most importantly however, our phones – as you most likely have noticed – are at an all-time high for popularity.
So popular in fact, that it’s starting to get a little worrying, don’t you think?
I mean, how many of us leave the house without our phone? How many of us, when waiting for someone/something, updates their social media apps to see what’s goin’ down in the online world? How many of us, when spending time with someone, whether it be at home; at a restaurant; in the car; wherever!, checks their phone at least twice every half an hour?
I would guess that a large number would be nodding right now. Scarily enough, studies are even being churned out showing that we’re spending more time on our phones than we are with our loved ones.
It’s a little messed up, right?
But take your mind back to the Christmas period now. How many of you noticed your family, friends, random dude off the street, and how much they were on their phones?
Now look, I’m not trying to rag on anyone here, because hell, I’m guilty of doin’ the old newsfeed refresh here and there too. But after polling a fair few people about this lately, with a response of over 95% agreeing with me, it’s getting a little crazy.
Think about it: We’re choosing phones over actual interaction with people that are right next to us.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. I would figuratively cry for seven days straight if I lost it. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t write about it, right?
So, how about I lay out a little challenge?
Starting from the time you read this very sentence, for every week that passes you by this month, you commit to one to two days of giving a person you’re spending time with complete attention.
That means that if you’re spending time with them in public, like at a café or something, don’t look at your phone. Even if they’re on their phone half the time bragging about how many likes they got on their pic because of hashtags, and showing you how lame that chick from high school turned out (but yeah, bro, you’re right, she did turn out lame).
For the crazy people out there, why not step it up a notch and go a whole day without looking at screens?
I guarantee that engaging with the people that you are with at the present moment will provide so much more to your life than watching another 15 second vid about how “Frenchy” picks up chicks on Tinder.
The greatest present.
So this year, let’s not wait until December 25th to give everyone the greatest present of all: Our presence. (So corny but true.)