Sometimes You Have To Sign Off, And Be Present

📷: Brandon Young

I’ve made it a personal goal to be more disconnected in 2018—disconnected in the sense that I put down my phone, I sign out of my Instagram accounts, I don’t open my email for a certain amount of hours, etc. I quiet my mind and live in the moment without distractions.

Some days this is easy. Some days, this is hard. Some days I feel so reliant on the steady stream of messages, on timeline photos, on trying to answer people quickly, on the connection I have to strangers that makes my day-to-day feel fuller that I lose out on some of the moments and interactions that are tangible.

Sometimes I get so caught up in all of this technology, I get distracted from what’s right in front of me. I start to live life through a screen—always wanting to be sharing and recording and engaging with people—and I begin to neglect the hearts are beating just inches from me. I forget that what really matters is not how I capture a moment, but how I experience it.

And so one of my biggest goals of this year is to make sure that I don’t fall into habits of being on my phone, of being distracted, of not really being there when it comes to memories or people in my present life.

And that’s what I did this weekend.

I left my emails unread, my non-urgent texts left unanswered. I didn’t schedule social media, didn’t stress about writing more pieces, didn’t drive myself crazy trying to answer as many posts and comments as I could.

I just lived. Which is honestly, the most important thing.

The messages can wait. The calls can be made later. The social media doesn’t have to always be at the forefront of our attention.

The people we love, they want to experience us. They want to spend time with us, pick our brains, hug and embrace us without us being pulled in three different directions, without our eyes glued to a screen, without our minds being elsewhere.

Technology is amazing. Social media is amazing. The fact that I can turn on my phone and message with someone across the world—how incredible is that?

But it’s not everything.

Sometimes we have to make the conscious decision to pull ourselves away from phones, from computers, from the internet, from Snapchat and Instagram stories and all the little things that keep us from being in the moment.

Connection is beautiful, but physical, personal, present connection is invaluable.

Sometimes you have to put down your phone and kiss without distractions. You have to eat dinner without being tempted to check your timeline. You have to focus on the way a person laughs, or how they smile, or the beauty of scenery without obsessing over what filter makes it look better.

Life is too short to be continually occupied by a screen, or pulled in so many different directions you forget where you are. Be. In the moment.

Sign off.
And live your damn life.