Today I will drive into a small town in Northern Indiana and pick up my uncle for a weekend of food, fun, and adventure. I will enter his unconnected world. A world that I grew up in, but have already forgotten. A world where you aren’t connected by the Internet.
He never connected to the Internet. Really. He doesn’t have a smart phone, he doesn’t know how to use a computer, and when you say let’s google it he isn’t sure what you are talking about or how to do it.
He uses maps, makes phone calls, reads train timetables at the station, and connects with people face to face. At first it feels awkward to be around someone who isn’t connected. At first you are prone to think that he isn’t smart, or is backward, but then you spend a few minutes with him and realize he is smart, curious and adventurous. He loves life. He just isn’t interested in information overload.
He has a strong foundation. It comes from reading books. He gets his news from the local newspaper. He enjoys driving to new locations and finding new things to do. It’s still an adventure because he didn’t map out his entire day using google maps and looking at images of every place he is going to go to.
He doesn’t have the anxiety that most of us have from viewing multiple forms of social media. He isn’t on information overload. He reminds you that you can live without looking at your phone. He reminds you of a time when you went for a walk and just walked.
When you talked to people face to face.
When you enjoyed discovering new places by driving to them.
When you went to a restaurant and took your chances to see how the food would taste.
When you sat in a room and enjoyed only the people around you.
After being with him for a while you begin to feel out of place with your phone. He has a glimmer in his eye. A love for people and for the life that is taking place right around him. When he sees you pick up your phone and obsess over social media the glimmer begins to fade. Is there something wrong with what is going on now?
My uncle is the one that should blog. The one that should write the book. He is the one really living. He has something to write about. Something that isn’t affected by the latest post, a plethora of often useless information, and social media induced anxiety. His imagination and curiosity are raw and unhindered.
We will pull up next to his blue Chevy and he will get out of his car the same exact way he has ever since I met him. He will stand to his feet and smile. He is genuinely glad to see people. He will walk over and give me a hug and then with a glimmer in his eye he will share his ideas for our adventure.
I anticipate hikes, bookstores, good food, great people and something unexpected. This time I am going to keep the phone in my purse and just enjoy the moment. Enjoy being unconnected. Enjoy letting my imagination and mind be free from the ever nagging question, “I wonder if I have missed anything on Facebook?”