Often, around New Years time, many become prisoners of the moment and make resolutions their will can't maintain, myself included. In fact, I didn't find the clarity to even make a resolution until I grew more secure in who I was and what I wanted, something my travels have given to me, little by little. This year, with everything I've gone through and all the growing I've been blessed with, I'm certain I've find one I'll commit to long after the moment is over and the normal world stares me in the face.
If there's anything crucial I've discovered as I explored the world around me, it's that despite how easy technology has made it to keep in touch with others, the ability to convey our thoughts to the people we meet everyday is still vital to becoming more connected to our world and creating the desire to contribute positivity however we choose to do it. The fact that my in person skills still need much sharpening has shown me the resolution I want to keep with me as a new year begins and I grow older and more aware of what I want to leave behind: to refine my handling of small talk and become more deft at face-to-face communication.
As it is for many out there, there've been people who've made my life suck, sometimes to the point of emotional breakdown (e.g a fetus-position-on-the-floor, make-it-stop kind of breakdown), and in those times, I wanted nothing more than remove myself from them and never see their face again. Technology has made it easier than ever to do just that and tune out the people who would bring us to this point of mental stress, but the truth is that no amount of advancement will completely eliminate that from our lives; in fact, because we've tuned it out so often, many have grown less able to deal with the daily stress of the day, which means it has much more power to shake us down to our foundation when it starts to pile on.
When I started to interact with the world outside my computer screen, it was like relearning how to talk, more so because I had much less time to mull over my response to someone separated by 3 feet of air, compared to a few miles of fiber-optics. As I see things like smartphones, video conferencing and social networking become more common place, I can notice this effect growing more and more prevalent as people isolate themselves from the world of purely physical interaction, finding more of their voice, sense of friendship and power coming from using technology to communicate.
As a writer, it fascinates me to witness the very way we connect to other change so dramatically, but it concerns me how people are losing touch with the base skills we use to forge relationships and become connected with those we care for. Even before my hands touched a keyboard, I knew that communication is only complete when we can see the person in front of us, their every tendency, tick and odor there for us to take in and analyze as needed. Phones, chatting and so on were only meant to be supplements to face-to-face interaction, but the greater dependency on these things to keep us in touch as our lives grow 'busier' is making them the main method and face-to-face, the supplement.
In time, the abilities to read someone's body movements, separate genuine criticism from harmful language, keep things in perspective and build our self esteem through contributing to the world around us falls and falls fast, as it did for me when I made the net my main method. As contradictory as it may be to use a blog to say this, people have to balance themselves out and make the world beyond the screen a bigger part of their day to day routine; the more we do that, the more we can appreciate what technology does for us and use it to its maximum potential.
I certainly won't say the process is easy, but all the experiences and knowledge my time away from the net gave me have let me know it's a worth while effort. Awkward communication is better than no communication at all, isn't it? Beats going through life with the desires of your heart falling silent, leaving you to wonder 'what if?' as you think about all you could've done, had it been given a voice