Over the past few weeks, I’ve been having several – like a few too many to count – senior moments.
As in I walk into a room, forget why I’m there, or I’m a midway through an email and completely space as to why I was writing it in the first place.
I’m in my mid-thirties, so the prevalence of these occurrences has been disconcerting. But I’ve also been quick to chalk them up to stress, as the prevalence of THAT in my life is all too common.
Yet the other day, as I was reading a news article on my phone, it dawned on me: I was about a paragraph in when I was interrupted by a text notification (answered, and then returned to my reading) and then a FB notification (better “like” that quick, and then return to my reading) and then a winter weather notification (oh hell, that might disrupt my day tomorrow, I’ll be back…).
Good Lord, People. How the HECK are we living our lives? Do you understand that our phones – the very device that may bring this message to you right now – are actually wreaking havoc on how our brains operate?
Stay with me here. I know it’s hard to read something longer than a few paragraphs these days. Truth be told, I don’t know when the last time was I read an entire article. My brain grasps what it *thinks* it needs to know and then BAM onto the next.
I mean, think about the concept of the social media newsfeed: We literally scan through it as quickly as our fingers will allow, stopping only (for what, 2 seconds MAX?!) when something catches our mind’s eye.
We are literally teaching ourselves to assess judgment and value in an instant. We don’t allow ourselves to absorb or to ponder. Ain’t nobody got time for THAT.
Good Lord, is that an issue. How do we ever expect ourselves to have a vision – let alone to sense the steps to see that through – when we’re not allowing ourselves the opportunity to let our minds think freely?
When we’re literally training our brains to be the masters of distraction.
Something needs to give, guys. We tell our kids to put the phones away, but have we ever thought about what they’re doing to US?
It’s not good. And I know you’re thinking “I know, you’re right,” but my question is “what are you doing about it?”
Can we make a collective pact?
Personally, I’m making it a goal this week to check social media TWICE: Once in the morning and once in the evening (which I need to do for my business). I’m ashamed to say that this will not be easy. There’s a frigin’ Pavlovian response to my phone that prompts me to check it multiple times AN HOUR.
I will also be leaving my phone in the car when running errands. Because the fact that I’m checking it in the aisles of CVS just does not. feel. right.
So please forgive me if it takes me some time to respond to you. I will. But in the meantime, I’m choosing to believe that the health of my brain, of my intellect, of my future depends on fewer distractions.
Because in the era of FOMO, I’m starting to stress about missing out on actually living my life.
Make it a good one!