As I visited the dollar store last week, I was shocked to see the clerks taking down all the Halloween decorations and putting Christmas stuff in its place. It was barely September 22, more than a month away from Halloween and nearly three months away from Christmas, yet, there they were, replacing the orange garlands for red and green ones, as if nothing was wrong with that picture.
In the newspaper world, we are used to always plan for the week ahead. We are in constant search of the next big story and often times, don’t even grasp the magnitude of the current story because we’re working on a new one. But that day, I realized this phenomenon is not unique to my world. Society itself lives months ahead. We no longer live in the moment, we just live for the next big thing, forgetting to savour the moment in front of us in the process.
This plague has invaded every aspect of our lives and is being exponentially made worse as technology lurks in every corner of our everyday habits. As I sat in a hospital room last week after my son broke his leg in a skateboard accident, I observed the visitors, mostly friends and family, come and go and interact with one another. At one point, 7 people were in his room and everyone, including my husband and yes, myself, were on some sort of electronic device, being together in the same room while not really being together.
I got to thinking: Why can’t we simply be in the moment? Why can’t we enjoy one company and unplug from the rest of the world? Why is it so hard, when that darn bell rings, to just let it be? Are we that afraid that we will miss something that could change our lives? Are we that unhappy with the way things are?
I remember a time, not that long ago, where nothing interfered with quality time people spent together. And I long for those days. Quite frankly, there are times when I just don’t want to document what is happening in my life, when I just want to BE and not POSE, when I don’t feel like having a camera shoved in my face. And no, I don’t think that is such an unreasonable request. But there is no hiding… We are being filmed all the time and everywhere we go.
I remember suggesting to my family last summer to take a real vacation, away from everything including electronics, so we could get back to the basics, unplug and simply enjoy one another. Needless to say that my demand was poorly received. As a matter of fact, I’m lucky I didn’t end up at the psych ward of the Cornwall Community Hospital for suggesting something so totally insane.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but it sure seems to me that our lives are happening so fast they’re spinning out of control. Maybe some day, when I’m old and gray, my kids will realize I’m not the one who was crazy.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ― John Lennon