Cells phones and internet were just starting to be normal life when I was young, but by the time I become old enough to realize it, they were already popular. Before long, it seemed like everyone had a cell phone and then came smartphones.
When I spent a week alone at home this past summer, I found there seemed no reason that I couldn’t use my smartphone during dinner. I cooked a meal for myself, set a single place at the table, and sat down to eat. There was no conversation to keep my attention, so naturally I pulled my phone from my pocket. Any new emails? How about I read a few more pages from my latest Kindle book. It was fine, but it also felt wrong, and after a couple meals, I decided this wasn’t the way for things to work well.
Typically I say no phones during meals because it means being distracted from the people sitting beside us. That week I found that not using a smartphone during dinner isn’t just about interacting with the people–it’s more about living in the moment, devoting my full attention to whatever is happening in my life. I put down my smartphone, and enjoyed the taste of good food, the silence of a quiet house, and indulged in thinking. It was quiet, beautiful, and real, and I enjoyed it all by myself.
It took a long time to embrace this sort of private, intentional living, but it’s rewarding and energizing. There is beauty with seeing life through my own eyes not through the screen of a smartphone. There is depth and authenticity to having a conversation with friends, uninterrupted by the ding of a text message notification. There’s a pleasantness about enjoying a moment all alone and never saying a word about it to the rest of the world.
It’s exciting in a unique way to know I’m living in the moment, simply and intentionally loving the people around me. Sure, I may not remember the moment two weeks from now, but that’s okay (plus, that’s what journals are for). News is most fun when shared with friends personally, rather than updated for the world to see.
And yes, I’m saying this on my public blog because I’m not all down on technology. I’m thankful for the ability I now have to share thoughts in a bigger way and interact with people outside my home or city. I grow as a writer by the accountability that comes with publishing something for my readers weekly. But nothing’s better than letting the public, online world take a backseat to all the exciting things happening right in front of me in the lovely world God created.