I know this will seem somewhat ironic, as you read this on your phone, computer screen or tablet, but I am a firm believer that everyone needs to shut out and shut off all of the Social Media mumbo jumbo once in awhile and just listen to the world outside. Remember what birds and wind sound like? Or the sound of water trickling in a stream or pond? Or even the sound of raining as it pelts against your window pains and rushed out the downspout of your eaves troughs? I envy people who don’t utilize Facebook or watch TV. I think that people who don’t have cell phones, and don’t live for the next Level of Candy Crush are actually better at being “human” than the cell phone addicts and the people who live for the next episode of their favorite TV show, or the next big televised sporting event.
I am guilty of using my phone throughout the day, from morning until night, then I plug it in with its dying battery, beside my bed, lest I should miss someone texting me, or someone liking a post I so “thought provokingly” copied from someone else on my Newsfeed. I am also guilty of taking my device to the washroom with me and playing games or reading articles on Pinterest. At work, my partner texts me throughout the day, and I use my break times to check in on Facebook or Twitter to see what everyone is up to, while I am at my desk in my cubicle, typing away on my computer.
I recently met a young lady who doesn’t have a cell phone, or a TV, and who doesn’t follow the shenanigans of politics and celebrity lives, and I honestly had it in my head that we would have nothing to talk about. Her job does not entail a cell phone, emails, or computer screens. Her job is studying animals in the forest, looking for orphaned baby animals that need assitance and love, and studying habitats of various species of birds, insects and other animals. She carries a two way radio on her hip “just in case” and tunes out the world of the “interweb” as a permanent lifestyle and choice.
She is incredible and fascinating to talk to! She doesn’t know what is happening in Trump land, she doesn’t care about, or know who the Kardashians are, and she has no clue when the next episode of The Bachelor is. She is completely oblivious to all of the swarming information that we, as Social Media junkies, have in our brains taking up space. She has her animals, nature, bodies of water, and other humans to talk with, face to face.
I won’t lie. As first I thought she was weird. She is not a “normal” human being, as she gets excited over a species of bug, or bird, and can talk your ear off about them for a longer period of time than it would take you to read the article about it on Wikipedia, but one thing really stood out listening to her babble on; she is happy and passionate about what she knows, and she is fulfilled with her universe of Facebook free knowledge. She actually lives her life beyond Social Media. She’s not weird at all. She’s highly intelligent, gracious, and loves life! She made me realize that I am the one who needs to find life again. I need to stop feeling guilty for not acknowledging what people post on my Facebook wall, or the text I didn’t reply to last Wednesday when I was in the middle of a TV program and didn’t feel like “talking”.
Here I was thinking, “Wow, she lives a sheltered, misinformed life”, until I started talking with her. As she was speaking of the various types of birds and game animals she follows and tags , so she can trace their habitats, I went from feeling sorry for her lack of “trivial knowledge” about the world, to feeling very envious of it! How amazing it would be to not have to carry the pressures that Social Media and technology impede on us! To not have knowledge of what your friends on Facebook have pinned, or what Memes of the day have gone “viral”. To be able to get back to what is real in the world, breathe actual air, outside, to hear sounds of birds and know what breed they are, and to just tune out of all the “garbage” that takes up our intellect on a daily basis.
I am old enough to know what the world was like before computers and cell phones and i-Stuff erupted into our world. Some days it would be so nice, to just shut it all off, tune out the Kardashians and Trump land, and just enjoy the sounds outside. No constant buzzing, or humming of computers, no voices and chaos on the TV screen. Just the feeling of freedom from all Social Media and the sounds of real life.
Life is short, and sometimes crazy. We all need to take a break from all the noise of the new world, just once in awhile, and for as long as it takes to feel human again, and turn off and tune out.