I will bet that you can. For some reason today, I thought of how life now is so much more focused on shortcuts. We want everything to happen immediately. Don’t tell me that when your iPad, PC, iPhone and other devices are too slow, or you lose the connection, that you don’t get aggravated, and irritated, with this inanimate object that we have given a lot of power to. I know that I get impatient and frustrated and that my ability to wait a few seconds gets the better of me at certain moments. This sense of urgency and need for immediate feedback is almost like not being able to breath. What is taking so long….two seconds. When we don’t get a response for a text we sent, we go through a series of wondering….did I text the correct person?…..Are they mad at me? Are they okay? There must be something wrong since they didn’t text me back! We now have so many ways to communicate with one another and yet at times we don’t do a good job. Texting is quick, except when you have to wait for a return text.
We seem to have more choices about when to answer and how to answer and whether to answer. Not answering becomes an answer that is often taken personally, but not meant in that way. I think about when I get a text and although my phone is on vibrate only, I know someone is getting in touch. Sometimes I can predict who it is based on the time, and sometimes I worry about missing something important. We worry about our phone “dying” which you have to admit is pretty intense. Too many choices and there is now the hierarchy as to what deserves a fax, a text, or an actual call. Do we leave a voicemail or an email? We have the ability to “send with high importance”. We can be grandiose or defeated based on what is happening or not happening in our approximately 3 inch by 5 inch little handheld computer. There used to be the AT&T ad to reach out and touch someone to use long distance phone service. We used to “Say It With Flowers” and “I’d Like to Share a Coke” ad campaign. Did you know that now the Verizon “Network” guy is hawking Sprint and that’s part of his shtick? We are encouraged to connect and in part we do. The media and ad agencies now talk about the fastest way to connect. I think about 20 years ago when I waited for the little AOL voice to tell me that I had mail. Whatever happened to that?
So, I have to be honest. Sometimes my phone rings and I don’t answer it. Maybe I’m not doing anything or maybe I am in the middle of something I don’t want to be interrupted about. I don’t think that makes me a poor communicator or bad friend or family member. Sometimes I ignore emails because I’m overloaded with voicemails I need (should) return. Then I feel guilty or responsible almost as though I have forgotten to pay a bill or not remembered someone’s birthday. Now Facebook helps me remember so very much (hear sarcasm in my written voice). Sometimes, I actually let my phone die and don’t plug it in to resusitate it…. sometimes I leave it home, on purpose. Sometimes I say my phone is dying and I have to go, and I don’t really have to go. I have a feeling that there are some of you who are nodding in alliance. We are not ignoring the world, we are just taking a moment to collect our thoughts. The world of technology is often asking us to prioritize our caring and connections. Everyone matters, but not everything matters. We often need to take that step back to evaluate who and what, is going to get the lion’s share of our energy and attention. We want to do our best and not filter and compartmentalize this energy. It’s a lot of work these days to just be part of this world. It requires care and consideration. So, if I don’t get back to you, I still have your back. Remember that.