It began around July 2015, when I met up with an ex – work colleague for a simple catch up. From then on, we were inseparable for the next three months. We mostly went out drinking, nothing out of the ordinary, but we were completely infatuated with each other and we spent every free moment we could together, learning from each other and growing in love. And I knew I was in love, because when I said the words out loud, I was instantly disappointed. Those words did not articulate how I felt about him in any way. It was unique, and personal to us, and to brand it with I love you was an injustice to how we felt.
Our love was based on a relationship that was all about wanting to spend time with each other, face to face interaction, enjoying each others company, gauging reactions to jokes by facial expressions, creating inside jokes only him and I knew, learning together.
Our worlds then took a very different direction; I went travelling to South East Asia for four months, and he moved away, and as soon as I said that painful goodbye, I knew everything would be different.
Our love shifted to the virtual world, and we tried to keep it alive through messaging, emails and Facetime and phone calls, but evidently a host of factors contributed to the deterioration of the relationship.
For one, behind that ominous screen lurked someone much more mysterious and untouchable than the person I had known, because we forget, through every moment, we are a different person to which we were in the last.
I met a wonderful woman while travelling, and she gave me an important quote which explains this perfectly:
She said; “What we know of other people is the memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. We must also remember that with every meeting, we are meeting a stranger.”
And so this stranger began to emerge, along with the insecurities and fear, and I feel mobile phones play a significant role in fueling these two feelings. Constantly checking messages for when he was last online, or checking Facebook posts; “He’s definitely moved on, look at him having fun without me”. I looked to my pictures on my phone for comfort in the past, but it led to subsequent hurt and longing from being apart.
The conclusion from my short relationship was that phones are time capsules. The past and the future were all I had of left him. The past – I had pictures of us, I re read old emails we had sent, conjuring new and different conclusions everytime I read them and interactions on social media that tied us together. The future – phones facilitate the possibility of messaging in an instant – what if I sent him a text? Would he reply?
These sadistic actions led me to realise how much phones stop us from living in the present moment. The relationship itself had had its time, when we were in the presence of each other and to try to continue through technology would be an insult to what we had.
After realising this about my relationship, I realised this past/future conundrum was everywhere I looked.
Travellers were arriving at one destination, and sitting on wifi in a hostel to arrange their next destination. We were busying ourselves with taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, instead of looking up and letting the moment that had inspired us to take the photo in the first place engulf us.
Even now that I am back at home, we still frequently check Instagram and Facebook accounts, to check out the body we COULD have, to view the locations we COULD be in, to admire the relationships we wish we COULD have. We are on our phones on the bus, train, in a queue, waiting for a companion to meet us; what if we missed something going on around us that could have changed our day?
This can only be described as a pursuit of happiness, which stops us from looking around and checking out the present moment; and I hate to break it to you, its all we have got. Nothing else exists apart from the present, but phones make us believe that both past and future are real because it is a tangible vessel for arranging future plans and reminiscing about past moments.
Now, I know some long distance relationship couples will be reading this and thinking; this girl does not know what she is talking about. And maybe I don’t, I have afterall only experienced one side of the coin. A relationship that works over technological communications could be equally as magical. And perhaps the mystery keeps it interesting, especially as we live in a world where all mystery can be googled.
But I can’t help believe that love is organic and should not be forced through unnatural means of communication. Love is like a flower, it grows, it blossoms and eventually dies, all in the eternal presence of the sun.
The most real and truest of loves are those that can be nurtured by the warmth and energy of each others souls.
So, what do we do to help prevent heartbreak and missed moments in a technology dependent world. Well, in my experience, I’m slowly working my way through this advice;
- Look up. Put down the phones when you are with your friends, your family, your partner – because now, the present moment, is the time to nurture and grow those relationships, and phones act as a barrier for acknowledging these things. Do not underestimate the power and complexity of what is going on between bodies and souls when you are in the presence of someone you love.
- Our world have become so virtual already – do not let love, of all things, be one of them.
- If its time to let go – it is just that. Delete photos, emails, messages. Delete Instagram accounts or Facebook users which no longer serve you and help your growth. If its a new love; let it blossom and grow to its full potential, spend time with that person!
- Use your mobile phones wisely – use it to build you up, not break you down. After all, you are one tap away from learning an amazing fact about the world.