The 21st century is a bizarre time to be alive. Sit around a table with a group of millennials and you'll experience a social situation that is both fascinating and appalling. Conversations with phones replace true human connection. "Being present" has taken on a new meaning. Arguments, deep conversations and flirtation happen via text. We wait by our phones, in anticipation of what he will write. The infamous "..." lights up our screens and stirs up butterflies in our stomachs. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've heard numerous males and females - mostly females - lamenting about their relationships and the frustration associated with technology. I even wrote a piece and submitted it to the Sun Journal recently. I don't think they'll run it, so I'll share it here.
“Hi Moondust!” he writes.
“Hello,” she responds.
Silence. Then the “…” shows. Her heart beats with anticipation.
Then it disappears.
“So…how are you? Where are you?” she says.
It’s been six weeks since she saw him. They’ve been “dating” for two and a half years. On and off, of course. He’s beautiful and loving – mostly – when he’s present, but the problem is…he’s just not present very much.
Finally, he replies with a picture. A classic reply from him. It was a photo of him throwing out a peace sign on top of a mountain in Norway. The sun was shining down on him, casting an angelic glow on his messy mop of curls. Of course, she knew more than anyone else that he was far from an angel.
“Stunning,” she texted. She hadn’t seen his face in about a week. She missed him…but it wasn’t the healthy kind of missing him. It was the gaping hole in her heart kind of way of missing him. She yearned for his love. A love that he wasn’t ready to give her, and perhaps never would be ready to give her.
She was writing to him. His phone was in his pocket, so he didn’t even notice. There was no anticipation. He was living his dream. But his dream was simple. He was nomadic. He didn’t have to worry about being tied to anything or answering to anyone. He preferred that lifestyle. It’s not that he didn’t love her. He just didn’t need her.
And she didn’t need him, either. But she yearned for his love.
“Let me know when you have time to talk. I’d love to see your face,” she wrote.
Two hours passed.
He returned to his hostel with a big dumb grin on his face, feeling accomplished after a long day of skiing and connecting with locals, looking forward to grabbing a beer with the cute receptionist after her shift. Not because she was cute and he liked her, but because she was nice and she was local, and she shared a love for IPAs with him, and she had information about an epic hike he wanted to experience. He took his phone out of his pocket and saw her text.
He smiled. Of course, he missed her too. But he’d never tell her that. Telling her that would make him appear vulnerable and too connected. And maybe that would mean he’d have to sacrifice some of his lifestyle, which he wasn’t ready to do.
The receptionist walked up and greeted him with a hug. He quickly put his phone back in his pocket and said, “Heeeeeey! The skiing was PHENOMENAL out there today. Want to get a beer?”
The other “she” retreated into her room, iPhone in hand.
Still no text from him. “What am I doing,” she thought to herself. “Am I an idiot?! I’ve never waited around for anyone in my life. He must not love me. He must have found someone else. Maybe he’s with someone else right now. I wonder if it was that girl in the picture from the other day. Maybe he loves her.”
Food for Thought: How do we calm our busy minds? How do we control the chaos? How do we trust in a world where everyone and everything is literally at our fingertips? Part 2 to come soon…