The sturdy dhoni chugs away from the shores of Gan Lamu in search of my dream fish. It was a stunning setting, warm soft sun lazily awakening, the morning prayers vaguely heard in the distance, the palms shadowing the village, and I was still breathing. Each breath filled me with gratitude and appreciation for being the luckiest man on earth. I was, I am, and I will be, I said to myself as I overthought through this calm moment in paradise.
I positioned myself on the foredeck and lost myself into the distance, the sea was asleep, barely moving, with the occasional drop of salt spray reminding me this was not a dream, it was the real thing…enjoy enjoy …I felt good.
I was just savouring the moment …I was so intensely happy, so happy …so very happy that I reached for my smartphone and started to explore the other worlds I was temporarily disengaged from. I geeked away a few precious moments, until it struck me how ridiculous I was being. I also call this, the ‘when here, want to be there syndrome’ …a constant desire to never miss out. This geeky quest often leaves one missing the best of the present moment, while grappling with the all too often insignificant digital stories far from away.
As a doctor, I suppose I might enjoy observing humans more than others, and the more I observe them, the more I see this unrelenting desire by so many of us to be connected to everything all the time….to not miss a thing. It’s amazing to see people next to each other, at table, at social gatherings …all wonderful opportunities to connect face to face, it’s amazing to see them distracted by their smart phones …trying to connect to someone who is not there …perhaps messaging ‘ I’m having a great time here with the family’ …while they immerse themselves in texts, looking at instagram photos, etc…yet disconnected from ‘a live, breathing loved one’ next to them.
Our phones provide everything from the weather to sex, yes our phones are super sexy too…Our phones are great and I love my phones …yes phones! However, these very precious techno tools we love so much seriously threaten to disconnect us from the present, as we unconsciously become immersed in far away stories until a bump brings us back to reality. Sometimes the bump is an accident, a missed flight or a ‘real human’ going away without saying what they wanted to say to you. Who would have thought this smart technology could twist our society around so radically, and potentially deskill us at interacting with real people? In some ways we could argue we are communicating better, but that’s another story…
My simple advise, be smart, put your phone away, connect with the present, remember it doesn’t last. Yesterday is gone, yes, it shapes us, but don’t spend too much time there or it will spoil today. Tomorrow doesn’t exist, so my message is again, enjoy this precious thing called TODAY….starting NOW,…with or without your phone.