Phone Dies, Owner Thinks

Arch St down

My iPhone died last night and I had an existential crisis.

I’m serious.

My iPhone died right as I reached the bus stop outside the house I just moved into on the way to meet friends for dinner. So naturally, I took the wrong bus.

Clarification: I took the right bus, but in the wrong direction.

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This isn’t the first time I’ve made this mistake (believe it or not) but what happened next was curious. I got off the bus, fuming with myself, and started walking toward the next bus stop, figuring that was better then sitting and waiting in the cold.

As I walked, I fiddled with my phone and discovered a stroke of luck– it wasn’t dead after all! Only frozen, screen blank, on the last application I had opened: a podcast.

I hit play and was immediately engaged by Tim Ferriss’ voice, settling into a rhythm of walking, listening, and starting to enjoy the city around me, forgetting my frustration as I began accepting my fate.

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As I took a seat on the next bus a few minutes later, it struck me how quickly I was able to distract myself from my situation by the little piece of technology in my pocket.

See, my journey last night didn’t lead to anything spectacular or out of the ordinary, just a dinner with friends. A good dinner with good friends, but still, the journey was so much more enjoyable with the distraction of a bit of entertainment.

Nothing new so far, commutes are boring, right? Then I was struck by a frightening thought:

 

So it doesn’t really matter where we’re going, as long as we’re distracted or entertained along the way?

 

That shook me. I started thinking, what other areas of my life am I eager to distract myself from, so I don’t have to address what’s really going on? Am I quick to listen to little bits of trivia (podcasts) or turn to the mirror of my own predispositions (social media) instead of facing hardships at hand, or the possibility of disappointment?

Amazing what an evening without a phone can give you.

These past few months I’ve been trying hard to enjoy the moment, savoring each day as it comes, being attentive to those around me, and what is before me in the present. It’s so easy to get caught up in dreams of what the future could hold, and regrets or longings for what the past held. In the end, it’s only taking away from this moment.

 

This moment right now.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m thankful for the recent reminder that life is not a destination, it is most certainly a journey. And it’s a journey we can savor as we wish: with eyes on screens, earbuds in ears, heads in the clouds, or feet firmly planted on the ground in front of us.

Here’s hoping you’ll join me on the ground.

 

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