There are too many ways to "connect."
Cell phones have almost fully switched over to smartphones, which have internet capabilities that connect us to Facebook, instagram, pinterest, snapchat, and a myriad of distractions.
Computers have gotten to a point where they often have pop-up notifications that someone has done something of apparent significance on social media.
iPods are no longer tools of blissful musical solitude, but keep us updated on everything -- from news, to weather, to youtube, to social media.
Apple even makes watches with these same capabilities (which is old news, but I'm trying to make a point).
Tablets of varying kinds have the same tendency, and Kindles are no longer simply digital libraries.
We have become addicted to remaining connected to the rest of humanity, to our detriment.
What does this mean?
A loss of humanity -- which seems a contradiction, but we lose ourselves in a virtual world and forget the real world around us. We forget how to interact with people face to face. Oh, there is FaceTime and Google Hangouts and such, but it pales in comparison to actually being in the same room as someone.
A loss of solitude -- We become too reachable. Our connectivity makes us a slave to an equally enslaved audience, making vitally important moments of thoughtful silence a rarity in our culture.
A loss of appreciation of nature and events -- Yes, there is photo taking of flowers and scenery, which is happily shared, etc., but there are some things that are too sacred to share, and things which a camera cannot adequately capture. Can one truly enjoy fireworks in their fullness from behind the lens of a camera? There was a brilliant moment in the remake of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," in which Walter meets up with the man he's crossed the globe to reach and finds him looking through a camera lens at a snow leopard. Even though this creature is what he has been seeking to capture on film, he chooses not to take the picture. He had learned to appreciate a private moment without feeling the need to share it with the world.
Don't get me wrong -- I have no desire to declare social media and smart technology a thing of the devil. It has its merits (and I don't like giving the devil credit). However, it is very easy to become addicted to such things or turn them into an escape, and that is not healthy. If I cannot detach myself from it and enjoy those who are with me, focus on other things, and enjoy my day, then I have a serious problem.
Why do I say this now, after all these years of the internet's existence and all of that? Because I need to remind myself. This is why I disappear from Facebook for weeks at a time. This is why I don't always respond right away to messages, emails, texts, etc. This is why I don't always answer my phone. It's not because I don't care or don't like people. It's because, in that moment, I am either in the middle of something, or I need solitude. I'm not a hermit, but... There you have it.
Enjoy your week. Shut off your mobile devices for a couple of hours and listen to the wind in the trees. Gaze into someone's eyes over a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa. Watch the squirrels playing in the trees. Sit in silence and feel the warmth of the sun. That's what life is.