I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
Walking around, standing in line, passing strangers on the street, I have been looking, watching, pondering. It seems as if people are always looking down. Not just on one another, down in general.
Do me a favor. Go to lunch and sit in a restaurant for an hour. Bring a book, pretend to read. While you’re “reading” look around, take a gander. Take a long hard look at how couples or families interact. Chances are you’ll see one or more looking down. Their eyes and hands are busy. Not on one another, but on a device. Whether it is a cell phone, game system or other social media device, we are now more focused on things than one another.
Walk down the street. How many people smile, greet you or say hello? Rather, how many are too busy focused on the item which blurs out the ground below? We turn our heads instead of nodding, somewhat afraid of interaction, not quite sure of the reaction from an unknown stranger.
While standing in the grocery store, looking for a can of soup, strangers waltz up and stand, patiently, without saying a word. Are we mute or simply too darned lazy to say, “Excuse me?”
How in the world have we become so completely disconnected that exchanging a few words means lock up in the Penitentiary? How in the world is the next generation going to connect if the World Wide Web ceases to exist?
I’m not here to change your mind, say my way or the highway. I’m simply saying that I am somewhat sick and tired of being looked at as if I’m a zombie when I say, “Hi, hello or good morning” to someone.
I talk to people. It’s my thing. I like interacting with others. My Dad was the same exact way. Sometimes I giggle, knowing that what he said is flowing forth from my mouth as well. He touched people. Literally. He not only interacted and gave his complete attention; he would put his hands on you to connect even further. He held his chin in his hands while listening or pondering. When he laughed, he closed his eyes and shook his head. He laughed out loud and was unafraid of being rejected. More often than not, he moved on to his next “victim” to once again tell a joke or a tall tale.
It took me awhile. You know, to get over the insecurity of the “what if”. What if they laugh at me, what if they talk about me, what if they don’t accept or like me. Today, without uncertainty, I am a-ok if someone doesn’t like or agree with me. Why, you ask? Because there are many more who do.
That said, I am taking one for the team. For those of us who like others. I am going to start by greeting people, by looking up and smiling at strangers passing on the street. By making eye contact, talking to, complimenting and appreciating human beings. I am going to do so, because, it may just make someone’s day, and, most important, give one person a reason to go on. Oh, and not to mention the fact that a great majority of people, in fact, are amazing human beings.
How do you start, how does one begin to connect with others? Well, first off, start in your own home. You can set aside one hour every day to turn off your devices and play a game, take a walk or just hang out. Talk to your kids, listen to them. Ask them how their day was and then let them respond. Next, leave your house. Take a walk. Go to a social event. My weapon of choice is a camera. I have connected with so many others who are just plain curious about what I’m doing. I have taken hundreds of pictures of individuals more than willing to pose for the camera. Last weekend, while sunning at the beach, two nuns walked along the water’s edge. I walked towards them and asked, “Can I please take a pic?” Hesitantly, they agreed and posed. What an experience.
Behind smiles, there are tears. We are put on this earth not to stare at devices but to connect with one another. Each and every one of us has suffered and will suffer some sort of physical loss. A device will never replace a loving touch, a warm embrace a word that says, “I love you, I care about you, I’m here for you.”
Start today. I triple dog dare you.