Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Simple Beauty of Summer

Camping. Swimming. Fresh cut watermelon. Sunshine. Birds chirping. Naps in the middle of the day. Your favourite ice cream. Spending time with good friends without a care in the world.

These are just a few things among many that make summer delightful for me. I recently had the chance to get away from the technological world, the business world, the "I have 17 questions for you that I need answered right away" world and be close to nature, my friends, and get some good ol' fashioned R & R.

Where did I go?

The Answer: Needa Lake. So very far away from 'civilization', that it took 4 hours to gain cell reception upon returning.

The reason this trip was so special to me, was not only because I got to spend solid quality time with one of my best friends in the world, but also because I really felt like I needed a break from everything 'online'. I needed to unplug as they say and figure out who I really was again, and who I wanted to continue being when I got back. And that attitude really got me thinking.

We all get so caught up in our internet lives and cataloguing every single second (meaningful or not) for our Facebook page or our Twitter page or our Instagram because heaven forbid we should miss the opportunity for a #selfie moment, or to be 'connected' somehow.

What surprised me most about returning from my trip was that most people I talked to wanted to know "Where are all your photos? When are you gonna post them? When are gonna update your Facebook for us to see it all?" verbatim. How about "How was your trip? What did you do? Where did you go? Did you have a great time?" and the like.

I have to admit that made me feel a mixture of emotions.

For one, I felt sad. Sad, that the simple pleasures in life seemed to be fading, and sad that the act of story telling and reminiscing on good times gone by, somehow, was indirectly needing to be uploaded for the world to see for proper validation.

For another, I felt annoyed, as if my not posting all these photos was letting people down in a way that didn't make sense to me at all. As if the comparison against others memories gave it more meaning to the person who experienced that moment in the first place.

Lastly, I felt disconnected. Disconnected from real human emotion and the simple beauty of being in the moment with someone sharing something with you face to face. Reliving a beautiful time from memory. Backtracking and jumping around in the story when you get excited that you remembered something else that happened that you want to share.

We all get so busy in our lives and develop this unconscious tunnel vision where we go through life with blinders on, completely unaware of anything else around us except whats immediately in front of us. Days, weeks, months will go by and then all of a sudden we look up, pause, and think, "Geez! Its been a really long time since I've seen or spoken or spent time with this person."

Because of all the social media around us, we still feel in the loop with whats going on, simply by liking someones post, or sharing a funny blurb on someones wall, or commenting on a cool picture, making us feel like we were there, experiencing that joy with them.

The Reality:

You haven't actually spoken to that person in 4 months, you can't even remember the last time you got together and had a movie night or went to the beach, or did anything together. You become sad, thinking of how close you used to be, how many things you used to do together, and how different your lives feel from one another now.

So the million dollar question becomes, How do we get back in touch with what used to be important to us in a real way?

How do we do this when everywhere we turn, theres a new trending app or page or web space out there thats designed to do that for us the 'new and improved' way. And, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of cases where all of those things have been a positive influence in peoples lives, but the kinds of moments I'm focusing are not those times.

The Answer:

Close the laptop, power down the iPad, pick up the phone and have a real conversation with the person you miss the most, and work your way back from there. Go outside, soak up the sunshine, eat some watermelon, go for a swim, light a campfire, roast some marshmallows, and remember how beautifully simple summertime used to be when all you had was yourself and your friends and family, and your own two feet to take you out in the world to experience life the good ol' fashioned way.

To those of you who know me, you know that I can be the worst when it comes to having blinders on where my work life is concerned, but part of the reason why I'm writing this in the first place is to say to all the loved ones I miss the most, be it friend or family member or significant other, I hope you all know how important you all are to me, and I would be a fool if I let you all slip away from the real connections we've had.

So don't be surprised if one of these days I call you out of the blue. Instead, be happy that you are one of the people I miss, and let's go get some ice cream and share great summer moment together.

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