During my youth, my dad took me fishing.
My mom took me on bicycle rides. My dad shouldered me with a small daypack for hikes in the woods. He pointed out chattering squirrels. He helped me see my first deer. He pointed out a fox on a ridge. He hiked me into Glacier National Park to see my first grizzly bear. Later, he taught me how to paddle a canoe. My mother showed me how to press flowers. My dad taught me how to play baseball.
The first time my parents took me for a hike into Yosemite National Park, my eyes bugged out at the stupendous “Half Dome” along with Yosemite Falls and Mirror Lake. Years later, my parents offered the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Arches National Parks. That moment we shared at Niagara Falls; words cannot express my wonder at the natural world. Everything I saw, I soaked into my being. Every moment I experienced the natural world taught me lessons that stay with me today.
In high school, I engaged in sports and seven service clubs plus a seven-day a week paper route. I worked my way through college. I played numerous sports that enriched my life, body and spirit. Like my dad treated me, I took my boys mountain climbing, river rafting, bicycle touring, fishing and a host of outdoor activities.
Nothing beats a night under the stars with a blazing campfire! It must be the closest thing to being in heaven.
But as the years add up, I am astounded at how fast life races along. With each birthday, I cherish every adventure afforded me with my time on this planet. But what I see today exasperates me. I see mothers tapping on their smart phones while their kids swim, play in a sandbox or do their homework. No attention to their kids! Teens tap out 3,300 text messages a month according to an NPR report. That’s over 100 per day! I see hikers in the woods with their ears I-Pod plugged against the sounds of birds, bees, coyotes, whitewater streams and weather.
When my wife and I go dancing at the Electric Cowboy in town, I see 50 women with white lights glowing up into their faces as they sit around the dance floor. Clear message: “Don’t bother me. I’m not here to dance. I’m addicted to my cell phone.” While on bicycle rides, I see people talking on their smart phones while riding, when they stop for snacks and even in the bathrooms. I see kids at school at lunch totally absorbed in their cell phones instead of talking with classmates.
During the winter months, I ski weekly at Winter Park Resort, Colorado. I see guys and gals talking on their cell phones riding up the lift, while eating lunch, and as soon as they reach the parking lot at the end of the day. Why aren’t they listening to and enjoying the sights and sounds of Mother Nature, the falling snowflakes, the sparkling mountain streams and the wonders before them—instead of gluing their ears and lips to a cell phone while they talk to someone who must be as disconnected as themselves?
Americans view an average of 29 hours of television a week watching others live their fictional lives. It’s sickening!
My take: cell phones may prove to be the loneliest form of unemotional, unattached and inhuman communication on the planet. Cell phones negate human contact, interconnection and fellowship. They destroy any sense of joy, sorrow, happiness or unable to make human contact. Cell phones turn their users into a droid much like R2D2.
Just for the record: your time on this planet consists of 80 years at the most. You enjoy 15 to 40 as your youthful times with your friends and kids. Your 40s to 60s become the times when your youth slips past and your old age harkens. From 60 to 80, you’re ready to exit the planet. Those decades rip past faster than Warp 9 on the Starship Enterprise. How do I know? Because I’ve seen more rock stars die in the past two weeks from my era of the 60’s than I care to relate.
Who can you be with today and tell them what they mean to you? Who else can you schedule to see, versus call or text? Reach inside yourself and realize who matters to you and show it, personally.
Alas, get off your cell phone! Get into life! Become friends with another human being and communicate with them eye to eye, emotions to emotions and feelings to feelings.
When you go for a hike, listen for the distant woodpecker or squirrel chattering in a tree. Watch hummingbirds suck nectar from a flower. Gaze at the clouds and listen to the warming of the crickets. Listen to the trees. Hear the magic. When riding a bicycle, enjoy the living world at your fingertips. Inhale the scents of summer, the flowers in the field and the birds flying along with you. Watch the horses in adjacent field prance with you. Gallop your own iron steed into the wind to feel your life on fire.
In the end, live your life to its fullest without a cell phone. Yes, use it for emergencies, but refrain from addiction to a cold, cruel piece of technology. Create and cherish friends, family and colleagues on a personal level of your humanity. As you grow older, you will cherish your conversations with friends much more than your smart phone’s emptiness.
Read more posts by Frosty Wooldridge here. Frosty is a blogger for JenningsWire Online Magazine.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.