Twenty years ago, technology was just a minor convenience. Nowadays, however, it runs virtually every part of our lives, ranging from the work place, your home, and serving as our primary form of communication. No matter where we go, we’re surrounded by it: phones, computers, tablets, the list is ever-growing. Social media websites commonly advocate that they have made the world more open and connected. While there is obviously some degree of truth in that statement, it is actually possible that we’ve become more isolated than ever in this new technological age?
Communication has been slowly, but surely following a trend: as convenience increases, deepness decreases. Think about it for a minute or two, as you recall a time back when cell phones still looked like objects out of a low-budget science fiction movie. If you wanted to reach out to a friend, more effort and persistence was required. Ergo, you actually had to call them, or maybe send them a heartfelt letter. Additionally, if it was someone you had lost contact with, more effort may be required. This would often test one thing…how badly do you want to talk to them? Sending a text is just as easy as ignoring one, but tracking someone down without usage of the internet is a chore from an age long past. The fact of the matter is, the extra effort and persistence it takes only makes communication and reaching out feel that much more meaningful for both parties.
So, if the world has never been more open and connected, then why do we feel so isolated and alone? Social media, while convenient as it is, also creates a false perception of reality. Friends, family, coworkers, childhood acquaintances, you’re bound to have a wide variety of “friends” on there, right? In our times where we feel down, repeatedly seeing everyone else’s highlights can only bring you even lower. It’s completely made us forget that, we are all still human, no matter what. We all have our ups and downs, but social media has made us seem to forget that sometimes. No matter our wealth or our cultures…we are all still subjected to loss, grief, and disappointment. We may not prefer to show it, but it’s the storm that only makes the remaining hope of the sunset that much more gratifying.
The next time you’re thinking about reaching out to a family member or close friend, I urge you to call them. If it’s near a holiday, or you haven’t talked in ages, send them a letter (and by letter, I do mean handwrite it). Especially for older people, you can honest to God make someone’s entire day by giving them but five minutes of your time. As we get older and start our busy lives, our elders feel alone and forgotten about. This becomes even more real, however, when they feel alienated via impaired skills to utilize the technology we rely on so much. A phone call or a letter can do them justice, and what is an easy task for you will only go that much farther for them.
Never forget that we are all on our own separate journeys. Not every moment of your life is going to be extravagant. With social media, it’s best to just remind yourself that you are on your own path, and to learn to brush it off when some seem as they have it better than you. This can take away precious time and energy from working on yourself. Lost time is never found…Your goal should be to positively work on your own grass to the point of not even noticing if theirs is greener. Even your absolute worst of days can be turned into a positive, when you remind yourself that the most difficult paths lead to the most beautiful destinations. We often can’t control what happens to us in life…but you can always choose how to perceive it.
Reach out to your loved ones, and let them hear your voice, or to read a letter they can keep forever. We never know how long we have, and a deep possible regret is a measly email being the last thing you ever said to them. Stay positive on your own journey, remembering that not every day will be glamorous, and to never live in somebody’s “highlight reel.” At the end of the day, we are all still human, we all have regrets, our sadness, our fears…
…But if you keep your friends closer to your heart, and less in your phone, you will never have to face it alone.