Sunday, May 29, 2011

Here, and Now

Just the other day I was walking to work, when I noticed this: a bumblebee, buzzing around a bunch of flowers, until finally settling on them.

It was something small, but wonderful.
And it got me thinking.

I walk past that street every day of the week, almost every week of the year. Those flowers were probably there the day before, and the day before that one, and I had not seen them. Why?
Because when walking to work, I have my eyes on my mobile phone all the time, updating Facebook with some fascinating status, or answering emails, or chatting with friends.

A few decades ago, communication was mostly one on one, unless you were a politician, or a preacher;   travelling was slow, living was slow, and distractions were few and far between.
Today, in  comparison, all we have are distractions; work distracts us from our family, friends distract us from work, girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses distract us from friends - and TV and the internet distract us from the latter.
The vast majority of the most important people in my life are in different parts of the world from me - and I find myself "living" in their time zone, mind and soul in their countries, chatting away to try and share in their lives as much as possible even without being there; but in doing that, and in using the Internet to distract myself from the parts of my life I don't like, I'm missing out on that same life.
We all are.

We all ignore our "here and now" and look at videos of what somebody else lived; films that someone else came up with; photos of our friends lives on social networks.
And in doing this, we're walking past countless bumblebees sitting on countless flowers; we're missing out on the moments that would make up our own photos.
As we walk in a busy street, nose stuck in our phone, checking out the updates, we might be missing an old friend who we haven't seen in years and who just walked past, nose stuck in his own phone; as we sit at the laptop checking out the latest videos we ignore the mother who comes to check on us, the grandfather who wants to show the coin collection like he used to when we were kids; when dad sits staring at the TV to forget the day at work, he might be missing out on son's laughter, or on the conversation her daughter really wanted to have, to tell him how well she was doing at maths.

I used to say a lot that the Present is called so because it is a gift; the Past is gone, the future is not formed yet, so Now is the only time to live.
And, at some point, I forgot about that.

It's not to say that the TV, and the Internet, and the Social Networks aren't great; they are, and I'm immensely grateful to all of that for allowing me stay in touch with all the people who matter.
We just have to make sure that besides that, we still see the bumblebees. And still smell the flowers.


No comments: