I’m starting to realize that my family, and I presume the rest of the modern world, is living a very digital existence. Most of our time is spent staring at screens, watching shows, playing games, reading social media, watching youtube etc. The thing is, we are not digital. We are alive! We breath, and think, and enjoy being close to each other. Yet, in our day to day life, we hardly ever unplug.

When I’m with others I’ve noticed screens are usually between us. Hell, who could blame us. They are captivating. They draw us in, they beep and buzz, and it’s hard to ignore them. The content is interesting. The shows are exciting. The posts are intriguing. So intriguing, that we can sit in the room with each other and not even talk. We just sit there. Lost in our minds as we stare at our screens.

This is a problem.

I believe that we are designed to connect with the people in our lives. Our soul thrives on real life human interaction, yet we miss out on connecting with others everyday because of our “screens.”

Life is right here in front of us, but we are completely distracted by twitter. Not any more!

It’s like the Matrix. I’m starting to notice things in me, around me, and in others. I’m starting see what is happening right in front of me. I must admit, it is causing me to feel a little out of control.

I’ve realized that I’ve been medicating myself with screens, booze, technology, work, and mindless day dreaming for years. But it hasn’t always been that way.

As a kid, I was dialed in. I enjoyed what was around me. I explored. I pushed the limits. I slowly widened my world by exploring the world on my bike. I expanded. I pushed my body. I spent time laughing with friends. I sought out new things…I was alive.

The TV was the first distraction in my life, but it didn’t really have a hold on me. As I grew older the phone locked me inside a little, but I realized that calling someone paled in comparison to real life interactions. In persons I could actually kiss a girl. I could race with my friends. I could connect physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In person we were alive, we were together, and that was stimulating.

As years have passed I’ve let the digital world creep back in. At times I think I’m more connected than ever. Don’t you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc. It all keeps us connected right? Wrong! “Social” media is a distraction. You get the highlights, but you miss the truth. You miss the reality. You miss the humanity.

We are physical beings, and that’s what’s missing in our digital world. The problem is that we are connected to our screen, not to the people that are in our life. We are not present, and technology is making that more and more the norm.

It frustrates me when I think about what it’s doing to us. We are filling our minds with ideas, thoughts, stories, tweets, photos, status updates, and it’s all junk. It distracts us from the world around us. It removes us from reality. It truly is virtual reality, but it’s not my reality anymore.

I enjoy looking inward to my soul, searching for the meaning of my life. I love to learn about the parts of me that make me me. And I love to learn about the parts of me, that relate to others. And even more so now, I love learning about the “observer” in me. The one that see’s my fingers typing this as the thoughts come out of the void of my mind. The one that takes the feelings and uses the mind to express thoughts and ideas in this journal. I’m starting to see that it’s the daily interactions, and the mundane tasks where I can find real life. There are big moments in life too, times of achievement, times of defeat, times of great gain and great loss. I believe that life is better when experienced with others.

So be present. Touch. Smell. Taste. Hear. See.

Be social without media. Pay attention to the living and breathing people in your life. Talk to people. Work hard to get in front of them. Always find a way to meet them in person. It’s the in-person connections that make life full.

…And when you finally are with someone, be present. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Ruthlessly get rid of the distractions in your life. Remove “rush” and “hurry” from your day. Those are constructs that are bound to time, and the only time we have is now.

Jesus sets a great example of how to be present. He always took time to connect with the people around Him. He noticed the meek and the bold. So should I. So should you.