My generation's lives are arguably the best documented in history. Think of any event you attended in the past month, and search for its hashtag online, and chances are you will find a plethora of content documenting its every angle.
While the question itself is a simple one, I often wonder how much we are "missing out" by not living in the "moment" but rather through the lens of our gadgets.
There is no doubt that being more technologically advanced and connected as a culture is a great thing. Social media bridges many gaps between geography and people that would otherwise be left unexplored. But how often do we ask ourselves what the trade-off is for integrating its use into every little aspect of our lives?
My guess is not very often.
The Internet itself turns 40 years old this year, yet many of us shrug at recalling a life without it. As advanced and complex as it is now, the internet is in its early stages.
In the next few decades, as our world inevitably becomes more documented (Google glasses, etc), it is worth taking a step back and thinking about the implications of maintaining two lives: online and in the world. And drawing a line between the two.
A line that does not hinder us from living in the moment, yet allows space for the occasional sharing of moments in our lives.
We are always on the lookout for the "quick fix" to accomplish our goals. With that, we often neglect the fact that our actions quickly become habits -- and our habits become our character (Lao Tzu).
It may very well be the case that the small things we do on a daily basis on our phones, are the very cause of our unhappiness with the pace of our lives.
The good news is that our habits are changeable. Instead of looking for the "quick fix," maybe we ought to focus on what is going on in front of us and simply enjoy it -- regardless of how mundane it is.
- When was the last time you went hiking?
- Took a spontaneous trip?
- Had a long dinner with someone?
- Done something purely because you love it?
If you are not happy with your answers, then consider making a simple change. As much as our culture tries to boil down our personalities to online profiles, we are inevitably more complicated than that.
There is no way we can translate our full stories and struggles to the Internet. So instead of trying to do that, it is worth thinking about how we can make the most out of the limited time we have on Earth.
On our death beds, we will most likely regret not living more in the moment -- not that we didn't Tweet that we were "sooo craving red velvet cupcakes" more often.
The weather is beautiful in Virginia today -- I'm going outside.