{My 500 Word Challenge} Day 12-Pick a Fight

Today, you need to write a manifesto. A short statement of purpose that represents what you believe in.

This needs to be a hill worth dying on, something not everyone will agree with (but some hopefully will).

Ask yourself: what’s wrong with the world? And then address that problem. Pick a fight with it, and invite others to join your cause.”

We need to unplug, and be in the moment. Turn off the television, stop staring into our cell phones, put down the tablets, and quit the addiction to Angry Birds or Words with Friends or whatever. I remember when I worked at a restaurant, and there would be families who would sit, eating, but while they ate, their eyes were glued to their phones. I could have put wet sand in a bowl, and they could have been eating that for all they noticed. The youngest child’s hair could have been on fire, or there could have been a tornado raging outside, but every single one of them was staring at their cell phone like it was the most important person in the room.

I’m not saying that we do without technology entirely because of course, I live in the 21st century, I know how great it is to be able to do a Google search of something during the middle of a discussion to prove a point, and I know when you’re bored, it’s so tempting and so easy to pull out your phone or tablet, but whatever happened to being present in the moment you’re in? For example, I know riding a bus might be boring for most because all you’re doing is sitting, waiting to get to your destination. Most of the people who took the bus with me were busy watching music videos, playing games on their cell phones, or simply staring blankly into the screen. Of course, I’ll bring my phone with me when I go out, but I also think it’s important to have time where you’re not concentrating solely on technology. For me, the bus ride was a chance to people-watch, to invent stories about the people around me, or if I didn’t want to be considered rude by staring, I’d be looking out the window.

Somehow the ordinary sights I saw every day were transformed, based on my temperament that day. The landscape was colored by own perception. However, people who are staring into their phones may not even notice the difference between a tree from one day to the next. There is so much missing from your life when you merely allow yourself to be plugged in all of the time.

There are days where I purposely leave my cell phone at home so that I can just be present in the moment and really listen to others. If you watch how teenagers interact, some of them are unable to make eye contact because they are so used to merely texting one another, and communication without having a screen to separate you can be a challenge. I think that’s sad. Sure, I got nervous around guys I liked when I was that age, but I just swallowed my fears and talked to them. I didn’t text them, I didn’t add them on Instagram, or “like” their pictures on Facebook. I just talked to them face-to-face and afterwards, freaked out about it with my friends, over-analyzing every agonizing word.

Now, there’s so much separation between people because it’s so easy to have a screen between you. Instead of actually talking, you can send a text or not say a word and click a little heart to say you like a picture they shared with everyone. I think everyone needs to spend a little less time with their technology, and simply be in the moment. Get caught up in nature, truly engage with one another, this is real life out here. As Ferris Bueller would say,”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

-L.G.

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