Just Filling Time
I am becoming aware of something new that’s been happening lately. Maybe it has been something that you have experienced also. If I have just a free minute, I grab my phone and scroll through looking for updates and notifications. Almost unconsciously, like a robot, I look for some external stimuli to fill up time or space. It seems as though there is just a need to fill the void. Increasingly I realize that I’m not seeing anything new, or interesting, and not quite sure what I’m even looking for.
What am I looking For?
When I surf the internet at night before I go to sleep, I find myself going from website to website, app to app, news sites, social media. Sometimes I’m just reading headlines and eventually I’m disappointed. Isn’t there something else? What should I search for? Is there something I was thinking about earlier that I needed to look up? What would be fun to read about, see, watch? Inevitably, I end up staying up later than I wanted to, and then feel unsatisfied. Nothing groundbreaking has occurred, no epiphanies, no life changing information, nothing inspiring. Things I look at seem like distractions, things seem very far away, detached from my day to day life.
It’s Not Enough – Do Something!
Perhaps it is not very likely that we will find what we are looking for on our phones at all. We need more meaningful experiences. We need human interaction. I talk to couples every day who report sitting on the couch at night looking at screens and not talking. Kids in groups look at their phones, but they’re not doing anything. We end up losing out on human interaction and activity. There are many things we can’t find in an app, a game, a web browser: Sharing something important with a friend, Creating something new with our hands, Making something, Being active outside in the environment. Instead of just looking at a video of someone else out there who is living life – going out in the world ourselves!
The internet is a good toy for our brains, but it’s not enough. It is in our human nature to do things, interact, move, be creative, be outside. Maybe what we’re looking for on the phone isn’t possible to find there.