Monday, August 1, 2016


My goal this summer has been to get out and do things. With the girls gone, my husband and I have packed our weekends with hiking and picnics and movies and all kinds of activities that have prevented us from crossing pretty much anything off our To-Do List. Fine with me; errands and household chores can be done anytime. Getting out, spending time together, talking and having fun are precious commodities that I have no desire to waste.

But as I’ve been outside doing things, I’ve noticed other people around me and what they’re doing. Or rather, let me be more clear: if they’re in front of me, I’ve noticed the backs of their necks. If they’re approaching me, I’ve noticed the part in their hair or their bald heads.

Weird things to notice, I know. But do you want to know why?

Because their heads are down, their focus on their screens. For anyone who is wondering, necks show age faster than faces. And ruler-straight parts seem to be a thing of the past.

Whether they’re texting or chatting or playing Pokémon Go, they are not looking around, taking in the scenery. Their cameras are used to take selfies (with or without the duck face, depending on their age), rather than the scenery around them. Their fear of missing out on what others are doing, or their obsessive checking of work emails, prevents them from taking in what’s going on around them.

I do the same thing—minus the Pokémon Go and the selfies—as my husband likes to point out, before going back to his game or his emails. We all do it. It’s hard to avoid.

But what if there was a way to shift that fear of missing out on the things that you’ve left behind, to what is going on around you? By not obsessively checking your phone, you can notice nature and architecture. You can people watch. You can learn things. And you can experience things that you can then tell your friends about.

Put down the phone. Lift up your head—it’s better for your posture, anyway. Take a look around you. Your friends will wait. Your work can definitely wait. And you might find something that interests you more than your duck face.

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