Have you seen this video yet?  Warning: it might make you rethink the way you’re living.  It has been a while since the first time I watched it, but its message still resonates on the daily.

Surrounded by technology, it can be difficult to step outside and realize the amount we consume.  When I lived in Spain as a nanny, the parents would comment on how much TV I watched online (maybe an episode a day, to feel comforted by the English).  I hardly thought it was a lot, but they were living with different standards.  It was a culture shock to feel pressured to spend less time using my computer, especially as my only connection to home.

The first time I came home from studying in Spain, I felt a similar shock.  This time it came from my cell phone.  In Madrid, we used no-contract (read: old school) cell phones to communicate.  We used to refer to them as “walkie-talkies” because we rarely held a conversation longer than two minutes of how/when/where we would meet up.  When I returned to my college campus in the States, I was immediately overwhelmed by my phone.  It kept ringing, friends were calling.  Text messages followed, others checking in.  I wanted to turn it off, throw it out the window, get it away.  I missed the quiet of being alone, soaking in the world around me, conversing with strangers, or just daydreaming.

I think this is an important topic for this generation to talk about.  It takes time to break a habit.  I still find myself checking my phone while waiting in line (Did I think I was going to receive an important e-mail in the last two minutes?). I make efforts to retire use while in the presence of company (As in the video, friends might not be there if just “a group message will do”).  I spent a few months away from Facebook, disconnecting my life from the public view (My favorite quote, “The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done, because you want to share this moment, with just this one”).  I bought the lowest cable package possible, and instead spend time reading or doing things outside when I can.  I am left with many changes to make, but I figure every little step counts towards a better world.

I hope we can teach the next generation to “learn to coexist”.