October 4th, 2018
‘Everybody dies, but not everybody lives’. I think we’ve probably all heard this saying and I think we’d all in our minds like to think, Yes, I am truly living my life to the fullest. But are we? Time spent on our phones is at an unprecedented high and the digital invasion is well and truly engrained in our day-to-day life. People are on their phones and online on average for 24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago, and in Britain we are now so addicted to our phones that we check them every 12 minutes! (I know right – absolutely mortified! I’m hanging my head in shame as this most probably applies to me, I am a guilty Millennial after all). And although equallly, yes, what would we do without our phones; they’ve changed how we communicate, organise ourselves, think and document our lives – it is this very point that I think we all need to address.
In a report by Ofcom, whilst it highlights benefits such as keeping in touch with family, it also cites stress and disruption to personal and family life because of the use of phones, which is not hard to believe as we are infatuated by them and consumed by all of their features, particularly their ability to capture photos and films. So, with this, our instinct is to capture everything and this takes us out of the present moment.
In fact in some of the latest research it shows that more than half of Brits have admitted that mobile phone use has spoiled a key moment in life, such as a big performance at a festival, sporting event or watching their child perform in a school play. More than 40% of people were texting, 24% were habit checking their phone and 10% were checking social media feeds.
We are missing out on what is happening in front of us and are too distracted by technology to enjoy the moment. We have started living a life based on false reality and through a screen. It distracts us from the moment we’re in, and it distracts us from the world around us. I bet wherever you are right now, someone is sat, doing that shameless pointless scroll through their phone. I think of my journey to work. Is anyone talking, observing the world around them? No, we’ve nearly all got our headphones in, and whether we’re sitting, standing or walking, we’re nearly always glued to our phones.
We’re not engaging in conversation, valuing the people around us or taking in the world we’re living in anymore. We want others to see what we’re doing and we want to capture the perfect photo for Instagram to make it seem like we live these incredible lives. Yet actually by doing this we’re not enjoying the moment ourselves and we’re missing out on the actual living part.
Think of the latest concert or gig that you went to. Again, I bet the crowd was a sea of screens. Why pay all that money to watch it through a screen? You’re going to leave a performance with nothing but muffled segments on your phone and a lesser experience. I know this is something that I have been guilty of in the past, and ask me, have I ever looked at all those videos and photos I took? Maybe one of the videos once, but as for the photos, never again.
Instead we should be there, taking in and absorbing every single moment of it. That atmosphere of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people all there for the same person, singing the same song. If you’re truly living and enjoying that moment, I promise you, that moment will thrive in your memory so much more than if you’re living it through a screen.
How ironic that phones at their basis were invented to bring people together as a point of communication, yet now phones are creating a distance between you and the person in front of you that’s bigger than ever before.
I myself am all too aware of how much time I spend on my phone and it is definitely something that I want to cut down on, but this post was inspired by an article that I recently read, so if I can urge you to do one thing today, it would be to read this and then after that try and take some time out from your phone, even if it is just for an hour and appreciate the very moment you’re living in.
The advantages of what phones and technology have given us is incredible, but please don’t let them rob you of the experience of life. Next time you go to get your phone out, just take one picture and then put it down and put it away. Take in the moment as life cannot be found in your phone.
And as Heath Sanchez said in the article I was inspired by, ‘The world is infinite, you can literally choose to focus on any part of it you like. Forget the heavy stuff. Life is beautiful, life is spontaneous, and life is to be enjoyed. You’re not here for a long time, you’re here for a good time, so get out there!’
Stay tuned for part two of Living Through a Lens and discover the impact that our obsession with social media is having on our lives.
Cover Image: SWNS digital; Image 1:Takashi Yasui, Instagram; Image 2:ABC; Image 3: Odyssey ; Image 4: Trade show internet; Image 5: Boxpark; Image 6: Pinterest; Image 7: Pinterest; Image 8: Pinterest; Image 9: Catherine Giroux