On a random weekend last Spring, my friends and I decided to get away and head off to the beach. As any rational person would guess, my millennial friends and I would spend a few hours at the beach taking the most perfect “Instagram worthy” pictures. I anticipated to be spending the majority of my weekend laying on the beach scrolling through social media on my phone. Not because I particularly wanted to live my life on social media, more so it’s just everyone lives their lives on their phones. And when everyone is on their phone, you feel pressure to be on yours, too.
Here’s a rundown of typical millennial life. I’m sure you’ll find this relatable. You go out to eat with your friends: you’re on your phone. You go to the gym with your friends: you’re on your phone. You get in the car with your friends: you’re on your phone. See the pattern here? Now, I am not saying this fad is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a matter of facts. Almost everyone nowadays lives their life on a tiny glass screen. However, for some reason this weekend away at the beach was different for me. My friends and I rarely used our phones. Here’s what I noticed:
More face to face interaction. Talking to someone and looking them in the eye is an extremely important skill to have. Normally, I do look someone in the eye while talking to them… but I always seem to get distracted by something (usually my phone) and my eyes wander off. We are all guilty of doing this! Our phone rings or someone walks by or the TV flashes. Whatever it is, many millennials struggle ever so slightly with making eye contact. Not having my phone glued to my hip eliminated any possible “scape goat” to making eye contact.
Awkward conversation. When you do not have a phone to act as a barrier to in-person interaction, there is plenty of room for awkward conversation. I almost forgot how much I enjoyed saying weird, random things and seeing where the conversation goes!
Vivid memories. I live my life through the tiny square pictures on my iPhone. I capture everything and every moment. Good, bad, funny and awkward. Any time I want to remember something- maybe it’s an outfit I wore to a particular event or what the divine restaurant I ate at during my trip to Lake Tahoe last summer, I have it fully documented in my camera roll. Honestly, I was under the impression that photographing my life is the only way I will remember all the crazy adventures and impactful moments that I experience. What I learned is, my memories of the places I photographed are merely just that. Memories of places I visited that I spent the entire time photographing. Shockingly, my memories from my weekend at the beach are more vivid than the memories I captured on my iPhone camera.
Observing my surroundings. When my focus is not on my phone, I allow my eyes to wander. The color of the blue in the sky, the waves crashing against the rocks, the seagulls barking all become apparent to me. Unplugging allows me to observe and truly appreciate the beauty of life around me
Moral of the story: put your phone and enjoy some quality time with your friends.