The Thousands of People In Our Bedrooms
With social distancing in order, I think we appreciate now more than ever our access to the world through our fingertips. Technology keeps us informed, entertained, and connected. Most of the time we feel better for participating virtually - reading a NYT article, watching a Netflix docu-series, or having a Wine Wednesday with our friends. We've implemented systems to maximize our gratification of our online interactions - subscribing only to subreddits of our political leanings, blocking ads, and unfriending Facebook friends (or deleting our account entirely).
I am guilty of falsely believing that, in taking these actions, I've done enough to curate my virtual communities. I like them, they make me happy, so I invite them everywhere. To the park where I walk my dog, restaurants before everything shut down, the bathroom, work, out to my patio where I read, and definitely to my bedroom where I sleep. I can do this because my phone fits neatly in my pocket, or more truthfully, because they're glued to my hands. Now with our morning commute times are slashed by 30 to 60 minutes, how many of us are spending those extra moments staring blankly at our electronic devices?
Every time we turn on our phones under the comfort of our blankets, we invite thousands of people into our bedrooms. You start with your friends who've sent you a text, then a few stories of your friends' activities from the night before, moving on to an Instagrammer on the beach who you've never met, a redditor going off about Trump, now Trump, and before you know it you're reading an in-depth analysis of Tiger King. You've not only invited Donald into your bedroom, but also Joe Exotic, a cult leader, a possible husband murderer, and numerous other anonymous beings you came across before your day even began. We would never physically allow these people into our bedrooms, ever, let alone at 6:00 am. So why do we make exceptions when appear on screens?
Don't. Don't make an exception.
I am leaving my phone in the living room because they can wait. Rarely do I get to wake up without an alarm on a Tuesday morning, and open my eyes when the world outside encourages me to. I let the gradual brightening of the sky wake my body; listen unconsciously to the birds chirp until I gain consciousness. I lie in silence for five minutes. That's enough. I feel rested, awake, and ready -- behind me are the early mornings of convoluted conversations in the name of being aware.
Even amidst a pandemic, the world wakes up to turn its sky blue. Let's make that enough for those extra thirty minutes. Stay in bed -- or better, make yourself a warm beverage and go sit outside (alone).