One of the best things that happened to me in lockdown life has been talking to my Dad every day. In the last 49 years of my life, I don’t think I have cumulatively spoken with him as much as I have in the past year.
I look forward to connecting with Dad every evening and it has become a ritual. Just checking in on how our day was. Highlights. Lowlights. What we ate. Happenings in the household. The unimportant stuff adds a texture that builds a new connection.
What do I mean by unimportant stuff? We exchanged notes on waiting areas in hospitals that we had both visited. Dad was happy with the fact that a friend of his at the hospital helped him find an open-air waiting area instead of a narrow corridor overflowing with people. I told him about the huge difference between the two hospitals I had been to. One made me feel safe and secure. The other made me feel exposed and at risk.
The important stuff of course was the reasons we had both gone to the hospital. That information we would have anyway shared. The texture of our lives. The everyday experiences. That is something new for both of us to share.
This is the force of good that technology played in our lives. Connecting us when we were apart. Ironically when we were together for a few weeks, I found that the same technology was disconnecting us. We sat on our veranda. Together. But scrolling through our phones. Drawn into far-off worlds. Sometimes work. Sometimes just mini dopamine hits from a funny forward. We knew less about a day in each other’s lives (the unimportant stuff) while we were living under the same roof than we did when we were miles apart.
The few occasions when our phones were out of reach and no screens intruded is when the real conversations started to unfold. Screens it turns out, connect us from afar but disconnect us when we are together. Not a new thought but an important one to remember.
Making the time to share, is how we demonstrate that we care. With family. With team members. With friends. Just checking in and exchanging notes on an ordinary day. That is not so ordinary anymore. Make the effort to reach out from afar using the wonders of technology. Make the effort to disconnect from tech when you are in close proximity with someone close. That way we get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Connected and disconnected.
Note to self. I must practice what I preach every evening when I spend time with my better half. Be with her. Be aware of the power of my smartphone, or should I also say beware of my smartphone. You should too. Technology is good to build connections from afar, but get too close to it and it intrudes into precious time with those close to you.
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