I was recently at a coffee shop and had the stark realization that everyone around me was staring into a screen.
I picked up my coffee, turned around, and looked for a free table. As my eyes glanced from one table to the next, I observed that every single person was completely captivated by their phone or laptop. I stood there thinking, where are the friends catching up? The conversations, the laughter? I found a small table in the corner and set up my workstation. I took a sip of coffee and leaned back against my chair and gave one more look around the coffee shop. Nothing had changed; we were still a room full of people engrossed by technology.
Last weekend I went camping and didn’t have my phone for two and a half days. Really! We were in the middle of a national forest and without any service so it rested very quietly in the glove box all weekend. It was incredibly refreshing to not have to check my phone for emails, texts, or missed calls. I wasn’t worried about what was happening on social media or if I had any new friend requests. I was completely present in that space and time — able to take in the beautiful colors of nature, hear the raindrops on our tent, let our feet dangle over the sides of huge boulders as we looked out across the vast desert. We would climb rocks, go on walks, and stare at the fire, never once reaching for our phones. We read our books by lantern light and shared interesting excerpts aloud with each other. It was peaceful. Life was good.