I’m having a love-hate relationship with technology this week.
I hate it because it’s put a wall between us. At the risk of sounding old fashioned, I miss the days when talking to someone meant having a face-to-face, meaningful conversation, not rushed Whatsapp messages, watered down with emojis, when we actually do mean what we’re saying – wink, wink.
I love getting messages as much as the next person and I’m like Pavlov’s Dog when I hear the ping, but one thing I’m struggling with is the intention and TRUE meaning behind the message. Were they being serious? There was a poop emoji after that strong statement, so surely they’re just kidding??
With text messages, we miss the finer nuances of conversation – the sparkle in someone’s eye when they’re passionate about what we’re discussing; the quiver in their voice when they’re trying to keep it all together. Technology has made our conversations impersonal – and God forbid if someone sees that little blue tick and you haven’t responded right away!
I really do sound like an old fart, so don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I have every gadget and I am so grateful to be able to see my daughters in London over Skype – and be able to afford long conversations with them without accumulating a massive phone bill (remember *those* days?)
But, sometimes, technology doesn’t do it for me. I don’t like being “always connected and always contactable”. I don’t like it when people know I am online. And it drives me insane when people sit on their phones at the dinner table, refusing to be present, with the people sitting right next to them.
We have a new rule in our house – no phones at the table. We put it to the test recently when we went for breakfast. It was strange not having my phone within arm’s reach and not responding to the pinging and vibrating. But, you know what? The world didn’t end because of it. Nobody died because I didn’t read and respond to their message immediately. Social media didn’t even know I was gone. And I didn’t fall into financial ruin because I didn’t answer my phone.
What did happen is that I connected with the people I was sharing a meal with, and it was so great. I saw the sparkle in their eyes and heard the excitement in their voices. I watched them use their hands to express themselves, or push the salt around the table when they, too, felt lost without their devices.
As much as we had FOMO, nothing earth-shattering happening in our digital worlds during those two hours.
I’ve now taken it further. My phone goes on silent in the evenings; I leave it in the car when I’m at gym or cycling; and it’s nowhere to be seen when I’m having a conversation with my daughter. Because I want to be present. Here. Now. With the people who are sharing their precious time with me in a crazy busy world. With my friends, with my family, with you in my studio.
Life is crazy enough without the constant demands on our time, energy, and attention. When I have a moment to breathe between work, training, and my 13-year-old’s hectic schedule, I want to do just that – breathe! Not frantically respond to messages and emails and try to decipher the meaning behind that text with the poop emoji.
So that’s my challenge to you this week – put the phone down. Recharge your batteries while you’re recharging your phone’s battery. We need to connect with the people around us again, with nature, and with ourselves. Go outside, look at the clouds, breathe. I promise, the world is not going to end because you took a moment for yourself.
But, before you do that, have a look at the November class schedule and sign up for my app – we have a new challenge starting on 29 October – “Fit for the Holidays”.
My studio will be open until Christmas and then I’m taking a much-needed break to unwind and disconnect.
I’ve also launched a ‘Pilates in the Park’ event. It’s free to attend and will happen the first Sunday every month at the Kensington B Park, for 45 minutes. You don’t even need to book. Just show up with a mat and water – more info on my website.
Until next time, let’s disconnect digitally and reconnect physically.