We're all from a technology-based generation. Middle-aged adults had pagers, phones that were the size of bricks with an insanely long antennae, and the earlier versions of computers. My generation grew up with mp3 players (and eventually iPods), newer versions of computers that are still constantly changing, flip phones that eventually transformed into a Blueberry that flipped a different direction, then the smart phones that we have today. Granted, my generation is far more guilty of having a technological addiction. Very rarely do our phones separate from our hands and we barely shift our attention away from a screen. Adults/parents are beginning to be guilty of it as well but only because we, their children, encouraged them to evolve with the times.

Now families sit in the same room and barely say a few sentences to each other. Sure, we can share things to one another on social media and bond with a halfhearted laugh, but where is the basic human interaction that we all crave? We had plenty of it when we were younger and played outside with our friends, threw a ball around with our parents, and had sleepovers at our grandparents' house. But where is it now? Where is the one thing that we had plenty of when we were kids, but eventually let slip away while we created our online profiles?

It's behind your screen. It's in the same room or a few feet away. It's in such a short distance. But what are you doing instead? What am I doing instead? I'm in front of a screen being a hypocrite when I could be relaxing with my friends in a hammock or playing a card game at the lake. I'm in front of a screen, typing and going on-and-on about how disconnected we all are from each other. You're reading this. You're staring at a screen. You're soaking up the words I have put in front of you. You know that I'm correct, yet you're still reading. After this, you'll probably scroll through your various social media accounts. As will I. Why is that?

We're all so disconnected from each other that we don't want to go out and be the social butterflies that we have the potential to be. Instead, we sit in front of our phones, laptops, and TVs to binge-watch Netflix and Hulu instead of going out and experiencing the world. In some way, we've all developed some form of social anxiety because of technology. We're so used to staying indoors and saying anything we want online and in text messages but when an opportunity arises that we could speak to someone, very few people will say what's on their minds; to family, friends, (hopeful) significant others, etc. I can admit, I'm guilty. I'm sure you are too; even in the tiniest way.

We're all so used to portraying the facade that we have created online and focus of the number of friends and followers we have, instead of concentrating on your real friends (which is a significantly lesser amount), and being the amazing people that we truly are, or at least used to be. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other people on our feeds that we've allowed ourselves to be distracted from the infinite potential around us. Yet we continue to sit in front of our screens sulking at the fact that we're so "lonely", when all we have to do is look around and see everything that we're so desperate for. We're all desperate to have a life, have something to do, and have someone to love. But we still don't look up. We stare into our screens because we feel that they're the only things that we can rely on not leaving us.

Our virtual worlds have sucked us in so much that we can't fully experience life- or at least we're not allowing ourselves to. We take pictures of every moment as if they'll capture the actual emotion behind them. We stray away from actual conversations because we feel like what's on our screen is more important; whether it be memes, pictures, videos, or whatever game is popular. We don't go to concerts, sporting events, or touristy places and purely enjoy them. We look at them through our screens while we record the moments for our Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. Instead we need to feel the music and understand the meaning. We need to watch the touchdowns, home-runs, goals, and baskets happen with our own eyes. We need to see the architecture, landscape, and cultural differences that are right in front of us. We need to experience life for what it is- NOT what we see through our cameras.

All I ask is that you look up. Enjoy the beauty and art in front of you. Spend time with your family, friends, whoever. Enjoy the uninterrupted moments and lose track of time. The laughter and happiness will be pure. They'll be memories that can't possibly be captured in one picture or video and that'll make you cherish it so much more.

Now if you don't mind, I'll separate myself from my various screens and spend the rest of my day at the lake with some great friends. I hope you'll take this opportunity to separate yourself from your screens as well. :)

-J