• Patrick McAndrew

Thankful To See You In Person

This week is Thanksgiving. Yay! I’m a fan. Great food, great family, great friends. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. I do my best to soak in the time with loved ones while it lasts. Everyone has their own lives and their own schedules so it’s important to come together, share a meal together, and enjoy each other’s company. This is all the more reason to be fully present in the moment.

While I can chat with good friends and relatives through the virtual atmosphere, you can’t beat seeing each other in person. Apparently Americans spend over 11 hours a day listening to, watching, reading, or generally interacting with media so I’m going to latch on to an in-person connection when I can find the time.

11 hours?! You read that correctly my friend. It is incredible how, within just the last ten years, our lives have begun to revolve around the Internet. If we aren’t entertaining ourselves with social media and YouTube, we are working the clock, answering emails, working on company websites, or connecting with important prospects not in our physical space. The Internet has allowed for a virtual existence and we can’t get enough of it.

This, of course, can be dangerous. We start valuing ourselves and our worth based on the work we do online or through the online persona that we have constructed for ourselves. We begin to manage our relationships and access them based on quick email exchanges and via followers on Instagram. Our self-image and our relationships are based on a shallow means of communication and engagement and this can’t be good in the future development of ourselves and our world.

It is human nature to care about what others think of us. We have to train ourselves to block out the unhelpful opinions of others and focus on our own goals for what we want to accomplishment, for what mark we want to make on this world. Blocking opinions, however, becomes difficult when you are swimming in a sea of online nonsense.

I’m all for keeping an open mind. That’s how we grow and that’s how the world progresses. But toxic negativity can really drown us and, in the virtual atmosphere, there is no escape. Even if we go to “chat” with a friend on social media, it is impossible to reach any depth. We are only able to go so deep in the online world and if we are spending 11 hours of our day online, then not going deep is becoming routine.

We must take the time to value our real-world relationships. We must enjoy them for what they are worth because the time we are investing in these interpersonal relationships is shrinking with every year that passes. If we don’t live fully in the moment, away from all the distractions from the online world, at least every once and a while, we will never get that time back. Being online is the new norm and we must divert from the norm in order to achieve a life of happiness and fulfillment.

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