Are you missing what is right in front of you?
I’m walking through the airport watching travelers drag their rolling suitcases in one hand and text on their blackberries and iphones on the other. Once in awhile they glance up, step aside or in a few cases bump into someone else. So I ask what is the obsession with always connecting via texts or email. Most I observed were not talking on the phone. Airports at least are a bit safer as there are no speeding bike messengers or cars whizzing by as you step off the curb oblivious to your surroundings, but more importantly how does this affect everything from our relationships (not talking to the person you are walking right next to, no longer holding hands with your loved one, never giving or receiving a smile or a nod of “Hello” from other friendly faces, and not being fully present to the moment.
A study recently reported in emergency room visits, showed that in 2008, more than
1, 000 pedestrians went to an emergency room because of accidents due to walking into a pole, falling down and spraining an ankle or tripping off the curb while their focus was on texting, head down position, hands moving quickly over the keyboard. This number is supposedly very low as most people don’t go to the emergency room if they fall down.
Granted I too find the urge to answer that ringing bell when a text comes in, but have sworn off gazing at the phone while driving, why not while walking? If I truly want to read and reply, I can stop for the brief moment, can’t I?
More importantly, however, is the sense that we are truly passing life by as we gaze into our little gadgets and pay attention to someone or something out of our line of sight. Meanwhile we are missing holding hands with our partner or children, engaging in conversations with those we are with, observing the beauty around us, breathing the fresh air as you walk your dog and being in the present moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the efficiency of texting and sending quick messages and yet I want to be engaged in the life that is right in front of me.
My challenge to you is to observe your patterns and see if responding to an immediate text or email is getting in your way of being in the present moment and enjoying what is right in front of you. Let me know what you discover and what you decide to choose; life in front of you, or your text.