A situation occurred a couple of days ago which prompted me to think about how times have changed, and how the generation today is so different from that of our parents and grandparents.
One day, I had gone to work without realising that my laptop cable wasn’t in my laptop bag. I had fired up my laptop and did my work without realising that it still wasn’t there. When the power icon started to blink and when I reached into the main compartment of my bag, only then did I realise that I had left it at home. My productive hours ended at 4:00pm, two (2) hours short of my standard eight (8) hours’ requirement.
That night, I did a recap of my day (which I do from time to time) and realised (again) that the current generation would be helpless if we didn’t have what we are so used to having now. Everything, from information to the gadgets that provide the information, is at our fingertips. Yet, if we didn’t have them, I wonder what would we have become. Would we curl up and wither away? Or would we stand up and keep on living?
I had left my phone at home once before, after having gone to work. I couldn’t text, I couldn’t do my social media networking. I couldn’t play the next stage of my Candy Crush game. All I had with me was my book. Still, I survived the entire day being disconnected from the world. Which only goes to show that we can do it. Back in our parents’ and grandparents’ days, there were no smartphones, laptops (and their cables), and wireless connection. Yet, they survived. And the best part is: They connected.
This is our downfall. We crave being absorbed and included. We yearn to belong. We want to be seen with the latest gadgets. We want to always be connected. But the connection that we have is not real. The connection that we have is a fantasy. We bemoan our bad luck when there is little to no wireless connectivity. We curse the Gods for our carelessness when we drop our iPhones down the toilets. We prefer to rekindle the romance with the touchscreens than the relationships we have with people.
Children these days will throw tantrums if they do not have their iPads at mealtimes. Teenagers sulk when their parents refuse to comply when they demand for a smartphone. Parents, don’t think you are innocent. I have seen many parents who are too busy screening an email to notice that their toddler has somehow climbed out of his or her baby chair, dropped to the floor, and wandered off. When the child is missing, the parents blame the restaurant staff for their carelessness. This is not parenting. This is called responsibility. Our friends are not off the hook either. When we get together to hang out, it is because we haven’t seen each other in a long time. But what is the point of “hanging out together” when all we do is whip out our phones and proceed to scroll for the latest news and updates? Why bother having a conversation if we are not talking to one another?
I’ll be honest with you. I’m not as innocent as the next person with a smartphone. But I can tell you one thing. I know when to put away my phone. I know when to disconnect to reconnect. We should be doing this more often. A stolen smartphone can be replaced. A weak wireless connection can be upgraded. A broken laptop can be bought. But a broken relationship or friendship cannot be replaced, upgraded, or bought. Once they are gone, they are gone. Forever.