For all of those who enjoy reading check out my column in NSpire. NSpire is a local newspaper with a ton of great articles and information. The main thing I enjoy most about it is that it feels like a community-driven paper. Not a large publication grabbing random stories from places hundreds of miles from our community. Check them out! They definitely put the positive back into a local publication. I love to write and I am thrilled to put more random stories out there for all of you. Some might even stop and make you think. Happy reading.
Emergency Contacts by Tanya Uhrich.
Many of us remember when our lifelines used to be those that mattered most to us. Our family, friends, significant other. Generally the same people we use as our emergency contacts. However, those people are no longer our lifeline, just someone we write down. How did we lose so much of our connection to these people if they matter so much to us? One reason, cell phones! Today most of us can’t even use the bathroom without taking our phones with us. Just to get in your car and drive down the street to get something to eat most of us don’t leave home without our phones. We think, oh if an emergency comes up I have my phone so I am good. So why do we even bother to put down emergency contacts anymore? Are we lying as to what is really our lifelines anymore? Is it those people we write down or the internet connection on our phone?
I am an introvert and prefer to be left alone in a quiet place. When I do have to be social I like to sit on the outside of the crowd and people watch. I think I do more of that than actual socializing. However, people watching is pretty interesting especially if you are a writer like me. Trying to guess a person’s backstory can be very interesting. But it can also be disappointing when you notice how careless people can be. It’s scary! I can’t tell you how many times a day I see someone driving with their phone in front of their face. That is what scares me! So many times you see them blow through a stop sign or almost run on a curb or worse, almost hit someone because that phone providing them that outside connection they so desperately need is more important. It’s not! Put the phone down and drive responsibly! Do me a favor, the next time you are stopped at a stoplight don’t pick up your phone. Instead, watch the cars go by. Count how many people you see with their phones in their hands. It is terrifying. But I can be just as bad when I am running late and need to check on something and think I will just skim the message before I get where I am going. I can’t tell you how many times a day I reach for my phone and tap the screen just to see if there is a new message or email. It doesn’t feel like an addiction, it feels more like just something that is programmed in my brain. This happens when someone is standing right in front of you as well. I can be standing in front of someone having a conversation with them but their eyes and focus are on the phone in their hand only giving me half their attention. It’s annoying, to say the least especially when you have to wait for them to type out a message and hit send before they give you back their attention. Why are we doing this to ourselves?! Why are we so concerned with being connected to the outside world that we forget and disregard our connection to the people right in front of us? Is that text more important than a personal connection to the person right in front of you? Most of the time, it could wait until the conversation is over but so many don’t. We live in a world that is all about truth and being transparent but we are so blind to it because of that connection we think we need from our phones.
I am very blessed that I didn’t have my first cell phone until I was twenty-three but now kids as young as five have them. I get it, as parents we worry and want that connection to our kids. But what are we giving up by having that instant connection? In my opinion, a lot! I still remember going to high school and using the payphone at school to call in sick so I could skip school with my friends. True story, we decided last minute one morning we were all skipping school and going to the lake. It was awesome. The best part was there was no proof of the stupid stuff we did. Scary to think about now. But we had an authentic curiosity about life because it wasn’t in our hand on a phone. We waited for the rumors to spread or the newspaper to know what was happening in the world. Now, everything is instant gratification. We miss so much because we are getting so accustomed to it that we forget to form our own thoughts and ideas. We had to learn things the hard way and it made us more self-reliable. We are missing out on the amazing things we could do if we put the phones down and did our own research and trusted ourselves. I am a firm believer in doing something the hard way just so I can learn from it so it could be a skill I have for another time. I dare you all, take a day and disconnect. All of you, family and all. Think of it as living old fashion as crazy as that sounds. But spend one day without your phone or internet connection and just spend time with the emergency contacts you write down. Talk to them and form that bond with them that only happens by spending time with them. I have the best conversations with my son when we go for a walk or out to dinner without our phones. Normally, he is pretty quiet but then he will tell me all kinds of things about school, his friends, ideas he has, or new things he wants to try. It is the highlight of my day just getting to feel like I get to know my son as he grows and changes every single day. We lose that connection when we look to our phones first. So please, put the phone down just for a little bit and connect with your real emergency contacts.