On Living, is a new at home series focused on magnifying the small parts of our lives that don’t often cross our mind.
Social Animals and the Phone
For someone who hasn’t seen their parents in two years, there are a few things to note. One, that time really does fly. Two, that we have never been closer. They're are up to date on all the things that I choose to share with them, if not more, and the sole reason is a small yet mighty piece of technology called the “phone”. Did the people who invented this thing know that it would change the world? Change the way people talk and create bonds; as they were sitting in a room talking about these revolutionary ideas? I think in hindsight, they may not have been able to understand the adaptability of people and the importance of technology for everyone.
As we’ve all put our coats away, shoved our wanderlust into a closet, rolled out our yoga mat in the living rooms, took out our pots and pans, and started filling our google calendars with zoom meetings, google hangouts, FaceTime calls; we’ve come to create a new norm. A new norm that we might not necessarily love, or can be used to. But we’ve all of a sudden found time to connect with people through our phones. As I’m busy Facetiming all the friends in my contacts, some of us are meeting for the first time through their phone screens. Dating has changed, it's no longer “safe” to meet people over drinks however, now it's almost too intimate too quickly when meeting over the phone screen. That's to say, that we’re all learning how to build meaningful connections, rekindle relationships through the tool called technology. Our baby boomer parents are finally picking up video calls from their kids, when they had never bothered to learn or had found too difficult, too tedious to learn, rather than have their kids visit them every three months. To think that even our parents are learning to access this world, to assimilate to our norm in modern day society. It’s scary to think that if without jumping on the bandwagon, are we evolutionarily not going to survive?
Another question to mind, is that as quickly, or as slowly as some of us have adapted and transitioned to this new form of socializing, how will people relearn to be together physically? Or as I'm pretty sure that it’s just something that will come back naturally. I’m picturing seeing my parents physically for the first time in two years, there shouldn’t be awkwardness I assume, but will we forget how to act? How to give each other a hug without feeling slightly stiff? To undo this new comfort zone we’ve built through distance, through intimacy, and through the phone. I know it's about privilege, and in my fickle and linear mind, technology is a democracy for those with access. I know that this probably deserves more elaboration, but I still need some time to think.
Walking, unlike running, is not a test of mental strength. It is the way we carry, the most natural form of being.
We never talk about walking, like we do with running. We don’t focus on the way in which we breathe, the way we fight our lungs for more air. The way oxygen is squeezed out of your body, leaving you breathing heavily, blood rushing. We don’t focus on the way we move our legs, one before the other. On how the balls of our feet bend, and touch the floor, the way our toes curl outward, and land after each pounding.
Walking is a slow, almost undetectable way of movement. Theres often times no burn in our thighs, no aching in our waist, no tightness in our calves. We don’t think to stretch out our quads, to feel the deep, painful pull at each expanse. We simply just go on, as if walking wasn’t a form of movement in itself.
Walking, is a remedy. To ask ourselves to breathe more, to slow down, to give permission to not have to fight your brain, your stamina, your body. To just be.
In times like this, when being outside becomes a luxury, when the sun becomes a luxury, when space becomes extravagant, we can only focus on being. Focus on the act of walking. Focus on all the things to keep us moving, that allow us to move. We don't need to strive to live this full schedule that we’ve come to known and had to forget, for now. We can now concentrate on each stride, each toe-curling, ball-of-feet-touching-the-floor feeling. Focus on the wonders of our body, the way we move, despite space, despite people, despite freedom. We can still focus on feeling alive.