I had a funny experience the other day. I was walking home from my last class and noticed a girl walking kind of close to me but still behind. I got a sudden urge to slow down just a little and she caught up and commented on my leggings. I had never seen this girl before and probably never will again. But we walked and talked together for about 3 minutes. Complete strangers. I got to wondering. If I spend every day on campus with 27,000 other students, why is this one of the first times this has happened to me?
Everyone has their faces down, looking at some sort of screen, or maybe even just their feet. Staring blankly at Hunter Rain boots and cracked cement as the world passes by them, just two feet up. Sure, maybe I am the crazy one who tries to not be on my phone a lot, or the freak who looks you in the eye and smiles as I walk by. I just think communication is a completely lost art. I don’t mean phatic communication. I’m not talking about the empty sentences we use just to come to the end of the day. But, is that all we use now? How often do you find yourself having true, deep communication with someone? How often do you actually connect?
Not only is communication between multiple people being left in the dust, but communication with ourselves seems to be going out the door right along with it. I have a friend, we’ll call her Kayla. She is constantly concerned with what others think, about absolutely everything. It’s funny (not really, but for lack of better words) because she thinks she is being herself but she is putting these pieces together based on whoever she is closest to at the time. Becoming more of them and less of her. I am scared she will never know the liberating experience that comes from the journey of truly finding yourself, and the pleasure that comes from nourishing whatever it is you find.
We have become like animals, which is kind of ironic to think about because we are just animals. But communication (in my opinion) is the one thing that has truly set us apart, allowing us to “forget” (or ignore) that we really are just animals. I was watching a video about how animals like Deer choose which way they will go. They point their heads in the direction they want to go, and wait until the 51st member chooses a direction, then the entire pack goes together. This is communication. Without even having the ability to use words. We can still see our animalistic qualities, but I feel that generally these things come out in a negative light. We are reminded we are only animals when we are angry or feel the need to become defensive. But where is the communication that brings species closer together rather than tearing us apart? In other animals this seems to be an innate knowledge. Did technology take this away from us? Natural selection but not so natural?
I want to walk around, talk with random strangers. Give someone a smile without receiving a confused glare. Talk to friends in person, not behind a screen. With real smiles and laughs, not emojis.
I want to spend every day, meeting new people, learning new ways of life, and diving a little deeper into this journey of myself.
Every single day.