A lot has been happening recently. My neighbors downstairs moved out, cried in my coffee twice this week, I bought new pants. I realized that daytime tv is garbage and then I had the epiphany that a huge amount of my generation has wasted so much of their time on the internet. Today, I’m brokenhearted to realize we’ve started to lose authentic relationship. I love my phone, my computer, my Facebook, my television, my twitter, my pinterest; all of it, but it doesn’t love me. I know that may sound ridiculous, but it’s true that at the end of the day, they don’t care about my heart. The thing I’ve invested so much of my time in, invests nothing in me.
I’m surprised at my own contentment to count that which is worthless as worthy of my time. My favorite parts of any day are always the ones that happen face to face with people. Life is about being beat in the head by the woman waxing your eyebrows because while she’s beating you, you watch and listen to a woman share with complete strangers about how she lost her husband twelve years ago and this year she’s still going to choose to enjoy Valentine’s Day in spite of that.
I love when I get to curl up in a booth at a cafe with my sister and talk about all the things in my heart; the joys and the hurts, which I did recently. And I realized, the things that molded me were the ones that I lived in body, not in imagination. The real interactions I’ve had, not the things I’ve written on a screen or gotten in an e-mail.
Don’t get me wrong. My friends that live out of town, family that can’t always come over, those people that want me to know about their lives and e-mail me their current stories, I love that. I love reading their hearts, but it’s different with the people who live five minutes away. I’m talking about the people I see every week and say more to through a piece of plastic than with my own mouth, that’s what breaks my heart.
These are relationships I’ve traded for convenient counterfeit friendship. But no matter how much I “say” in 160 characters of a text message, or in a message on Facebook, none of it even touches the conversations I’ve had with my hands wrapped around a mug of coffee, watching and hearing someone tell me about their day, listening to their laugh, noticing the way they wring their hands or pick at the fabric of their shirt.
My favorite thing about a person, is not what they can type to me while driving down I-85 or walking through Food Lion, but watching their face light up and hearing their voice jump an octave when they tell me the dreams of their heart. Seeing a person’s eyes crinkle around the edges when they laugh or hugging someone at the end of a conversation that impacted your life. I can’t do any of those things through a phone or a computer. I can’t give you the looks of admiration you deserve when you’re opening up about your current struggle, I can’t show you I care by keeping eye contact and letting you know that you’re all that holds my attention. I can’t do that with a phone and I can’t do it with a computer and neither can anyone do that for me.
Time is something that we think we have enough of, the thing we often wish we had more of, but one thing that while we do have it, is constant. Twenty-four hours a day and I’ve realized don’t want to spend it with a phone or a computer; I want to spend it with people.