Are We Relying On A Digital World To Streamline Humanity?
A couple of times a week, I go for a walk around a reservoir by my house with a girlfriend and our dogs. Yesterday was a gorgeous day in LA. We took my two dogs and her one and went for the one hour long that it takes to walk around the entire reservoir.
At some point a couple of women standing on a sidewalk commented on how cute her dog is. Without a second thought my friend walked up to the two women and started chatting.
Now, that seems like a mundane action for me to actually be writing about in my blog but let me share where her reaction took my thoughts to: the realization of how so many of us – including me – miss out on opportunities to relate with others.
When I walk outside my home, I do so in order to do something: a task. It can be anywhere from food shopping to working to meeting up with friends. Anything that happens between me leaving and getting where I need to go gets interpreted in my mind as a distraction. Also, I often use my time, while doing mundane things, to continue thinking about issues I’m working on. Again, anything that takes me away from my thinking I interpret as a distraction.
One might think this type of living is very constructive. Every minute is calculated to produce something. But the downside is that often we miss opportunities to meet others, to be surprised and to be present. We end up living compartmented lives where X amount of time is for this and Y amount of time is for that.
I wonder if online dating is so successful because we are losing our ability to spontaneously interact with others. I wonder how many people I have walked by who said hello that could have turned out to be interesting for me to meet or to just share. Are we now fully relying on the digital world to streamline our humanity?
Of course seeing my friend interact so easily with others resonated with me because that is something I have been thinking I need to change in my life. I need to allow myself to interact with others without thinking I’m sidetracking or what it is in it for me. How about you? Are you really open? Are you really present?
Achieving a balance between using our time wisely and leaving the door open for surprises, is a fine line but one worth our efforts.