“My mind is constantly going. For me to completely relax, I gotta get rid of my cell phone.” ~ Kenny Chesney
How true is that quote? How many of you have had that itch to check your cellphone every 20 seconds, when its in close proximity? Or if you decide to get work done, and conscientiously turn off the wifi and data on your phone as to not receive any incoming messages, only to turn it back on after 10 minutes? Its natural – this generation is hooked to their phones.
But there’s another thing… Nowadays, have you noticed you won’t just randomly call up someone? Take a Skype call for example – you will message them on Skype or WhatsApp to double check that they are free, before calling them. There’s nothing wrong with it of course – everyone is busy with their own lives. Also, I’m not suggesting that this is always the case; but I know for example if I want to talk to a friend or family member, particularly overseas, I will inevitably message them to make sure that they are free, before even considering hitting that call button on the respected Voice Over IP App. It feels like its made through an appointment system – gone is the freedom to call someone by surprise, just to say hello and catch up.
However, surely it can be understood that this wasn’t the case before. I remember back in Malawi, I’d call my best friend 2-3 times a week, and I would randomly pick up my phone, and decide to call this person, to spend countless hours talking about our casual and unimportant aspects of life. Sometimes the friend would be busy, of course, but then they would call back. Nowadays it seems as though you have to make an appointment with the individual who you wish to speak to. Make the appointment – ask if they’re free before the set time of the appointment, following on to the well-known courteous question of “Can you hear me?” because let’s face it, its just understood that most internet calls have to be reassured to see if the line is clear.
But let’s put phone calls aside for a minute; because as it is, phone calls have only been commonly seen for the past 20-25 years. Before the concept of mobile or landline phone calls, people used to communicate of course – its not as though it was an anti-social life! So what about the other forms of communication? Would you agree that its uncommon to see an individual adapt the old-fashioned sweet and simple concepts to the present day? For example, sending a handwritten letter, receiving an unexpected call from an old friend, or God forbid, who sends postcards or greeting cards nowadays?! You can do everything online – at the ease of your fingertips! Isn’t that what all your nearest online store advertises? In fact, recently on a trip to Queenstown and Wanaka, I took the opportunity to send postcards to my family back home in India and Malawi; and had the delight of my Mum calling me back unexpectedly to say how happy she’d been to receive that postcard. No one does it anymore. Why not?
Two years ago I received about 5-6 greeting cards for my birthday, all from the same person, which I’ve savoured and kept on my pin board in my room. I get so much joy out of reading, and re-reading those cards, in which my best friend has engraved several thoughtful and sweet words. And I have been blessed with having friends all across the world, who do the same – who have made me cards and scrapbooks, written me letters; all of which I have savoured and kept in a box. (I’m obliged to say this, as otherwise my friends from across the world will come back to me and remind me of what they have done for me 😛)
But these old-fashioned sweet and simple concepts… Does it even take up that much time to call up someone you care about without notice? Or send a letter to let them know you’re thinking about them? Of course, you can send an e-mail or a text across to show them that you’re thinking about them. But a letter. A handwritten letter, that involves time, thought, and effort – it has so much more power. And I do believe that there is some truth in the quote “the pen is mightier than the sword”, with the consideration of how much emotional thoughts it can stir up. Not that I would ever actually put that to the test, versus a sword of course.
Just think about it though… Pause for a moment. Reflect. When was the last time you gave/received a letter? The last time you called someone overseas for their birthday instead of messaging them or writing on their Facebook wall? Have lives become so busy, that these little things creating unexpected joy, have taken a backseat on your journey? Or is it that you actually cannot put down your cellphone for 10-20 minutes, to stop scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, or take time post-work, to put effort into a relationship instead? Relationships of all kinds – please don’t misunderstand me – your partner is as important as your friends and family. So maybe make that call to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Or write that letter to mend broken relationships. Feel again! From your heart, and your soul, take time to replenish your life with these simple changes… What harm can it do?
Also, another thought that has just come to mind. I would love to take the opportunity to cut myself off technology and go on a short travel experience. Either alone, or with a small group of friends. Just imagine how utterly empowering it would be, to not have to check your cellphone and provide constant updates. One day…
**Disclaimer: The writer does not desire to hear that she does not make unanticipated calls or should write letters more – she aims to adapt her life in order to accomodate these concepts.
So what else do you believe that is missing in these modern-day lives, readers? Please feel free to comment and let me know if I’ve missed out on anything.