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To every “LIKE”

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Since this journey began, my head has been filled with shoulds. I should write. I should blog. I should tweet. I should network. I should learn how to get more followers. And the list goes on.  I was surprised when the greatest lesson I would take away from this journey hadn’t shown up on any lists – the importance of human connection.

Though I spent most of my days connected to the world, through facebook, instagram, twitter, email, texting, letters and just about every other form of technology, I felt a deep loneliness. It didn’t matter how many virtual connections I had received that day, what I longed for the most was physical touch, someone’s presence, or a conversation – live in real time.

The most profound aspects of my journey were the people I met.  On a parkbench, in a library, at a cafe and even on the ship on my voyage home, I noticed the connection between people and what good old fashioned connection has to go up against in this time: cell phone notifications, cameras, texts, selfie photo ops.  I couldn’t help but wonder if we are losing the ability to truly connect with one another anymore.

I’ll never forget the moment in a Starbucks when all I could have ever wished for was someone to sit across from me and share a story or engage in meaningful conversation when I noticed two girls sitting beside me.  Mid conversation one of them took out her phone and took a selfie with her mocha frocca latte frappiccino – cutting her friend off completely, to show her instagram and facebook friends what she was up to. It rocked me.  It didn’t make sense. We have things so backwards it hurts my soul, my heart and my ego when I actually think about the amount of times I’ve done it, too.

Of course I see the perks of it all.  We keep in touch in this now very small world because of it all.  I know instantly what someone is doing in Costa Rica.  I follow a Japanese Hedgehog on Instagram for goodness sake.  But something is happening and our world needs a shift.  My generation is feeling it and the generations after us need to be educated on it.  We need to put our phones away and connect with our grandparents – our elders.  There is a whole generation of people who lived through the world wars that are dying.  I am guilty of it, too.  My grandfather lives 2 minutes from me and I only go for visits every so often. He tells stories.  I need to hear his stories and record them.  There is an urgency about this that needs to be addressed.  Yes there is a place for technology, smartphones and facebook – but I want to stand for connection in its truest form – in real time – with those around you who you love the most.

Our wedding video going viral has made me feel it even deeper.  I have received lovely messages from people near and far.  From Cape Breton to Australia and England to my hometown of Leamington.  People are so sweet and the likes, shares and followers truly do mean a lot.  The truth is, my wish for everyone is that to every “like” there is a hug, a conversation, a touch, a look…in real time, with those around you who mean the most to you.  With those who if you were given one month to live, you would turn down all the computers and hug, soak their soul into your heart forever, talk about the big stuff, the life altering lessons that make you say: right, THAT is what matters most in life.

We are born to connect and there will be a shift.  I can feel it.  I want to be a leader for that shift.  So here I am making a commitment to you.  This week I will visit my papa, I will take in a sunset while resisting the urge to document it, and I will leave my phone at home the next time I go for a coffee date.

What will you do?

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8 thoughts on “To every “LIKE”

  1. Brenda Sutherland says:

    Carly, this is by far the best thing you have written so far!!!!
    My biggest pet peeve is to be on Facebook and I see a status “out for date night with my hubby” —I so want to respond, but Momma taught me if you can’t say something nice don’t say nothing at all!!

    Brenda

  2. Judy drouillard says:

    I’ve read all of your Life’s Letter and enjoyed them all.

    But this letter certainly hits the nail on the head. No one communicates or visits anymore-only by email or Facebook. Electronics have come a long way but maybe its time to take a step back.

    Looking forward to reading your book.

    Any idea when it will be published?

  3. Katie Omstead says:

    I agree Carly. This is by far my favourite piece of your writing. Such true words straight from the heart. I’ll tell you more in person. ;) xo

  4. What you mention truly boggles my mind as well. Being mostly alone in this city, I look around the me in the bus or the metro, and no one is talking to anyone else. We have our phones out, iPods in, you name it. Living in a big city has forced me to come to terms with the idea that we are so physically close on a daily basis, rubbing arms as we walk down the sidewalk, sharing air on public transit, yet emotionally it is truly empty.

  5. Lisa G says:

    You are so powerful. I feel the visceral must-ness of the connection you articulate as so needed by us ALL. You are a leader of this, and your words are True. Thank you for writing about this and being a voice for this connection.

    I am traveling for work, and in circles where we are leading people toward connection and it is so interesting/surprising/amazing how little it seems we even KNOW how to connect these days. And we must love others for what we have forgotten, or are distracted away from. We must learn, rediscover, practice and try again and again.

    I look forward to your continued writing about this. Your words matter, your perspective is to rich. Thank you. I love learning from you and your courage.

    One of your fans & followers for all time,
    Lisa

  6. ed curtin says:

    Can’t agree more with what you have said Carly, technology is a very poor replacement for the real person ingauging u in conversation. I have days like your Starbucks day at times where I would just like to be noticed as people wander about their daily lives. But at the same time I am very grateful for technology as it has let me see albeit through a laptop screen the person I cherish most in the world until the day we can ditch technology as we exist in the same space both time and place.

    My should: is don’t do shoulda and it took many years of being unhappy to figure it out. Now it’s about keeping some happy in each and everyday day

    I love your story and can’t wait to read ur story in paper form

  7. Danielle says:

    Hi Carly,
    Loved this post! Jay and I started the no phones in bed or on dates since realising a few weeks ago we were not connecting the same we were pre-smartphones. Rock on girlfriend, keep spreading these messages of love!

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