Why yes, I do have my phone out and no, I will not put it down to “enjoy the moment.”
HOLY CONTROVERSY CITY OVER HERE!
Whoa whoa whoa, pump the brakes my friend and let me explain this thought process to you.
It was Labor Day weekend in Boyne, Michigan and my Husband and I were on a weekend get-a-way to celebrate a wedding and play golf. As we were waiting to head up the mountain to tee off, the starter at the golf course looked at me while I was on my phone and said “You kids always have your phones on you and you can never really enjoy the moment, can you?”
I’m sorry, what in the beloved mother of ducks did you just say to me, sir? My head was spinning and I was down about two Bailey’s and Coffee at this time and was ready to hurl a waterfall of insults back in this Baby Boomer’s left ear-hole.
However, being the kindhearted Millennial I am, I just gave him the stank eye instead and decided to listen to his reasoning.
He started with his “Well back in my day…” dramatization and took me on a stroll down memory lane. I took a deep retrospective breath and politely smiled at him as I prepared the Oscar-winning intellectual argument of the century in my head.
After hearing his side, I took it upon myself try to understand where he was coming from and hope that he could do the same for me. I wanted to try and learn something from this man and take away a piece of knowledge that I could use in the future. Millennials are cool like that; even the older ones like me. In turn, I realized that I had learned something from Vocal Victor after all, and it was something quite unexpected.
I learned that I need to stop apologizing for being a Millennial and living in my time.
You see, the truth is, he didn’t know that I was a Mom checking in on my kids. He didn’t know that I was texting my Mom to see if we could FaceTime with the boys because we had a few minutes to spare. All he knew, was that I wasn’t paying attention to anything but my phone.
Fair enough my good sir, but can I interest you in this cutting-edge perspective?
Life has changed tremendously since you were a wee lad watching your stories on your new rabbit ears set. I swear, I’m not making fun of you because I am literally the oldest 31 year old soul you’ll ever meet. You can find me in my house on a Friday night with the temp set at a comfortable 78 degrees, cross-stitching on the couch watching the Golden Girls Marathon on the Hallmark Channel in my $3 slippers that I got on special while waiting for my hot rollers to cool in my hair so I can get my fiber filled oatmeal off the stove and eat supper at a reasonable 4:30pm. I’m learning most Mom’s and #eldermillenial (thanks Iliza Schlesinger) people my age prefer this Friday night over a night out at the club. #adulting
Even though I am an old soul I do believe technology has its place in this ever-changing world and contrary to popular Baby Boomer opinion, it is not pure evil and the death of all good things. Our phones are now attached to our bodies and have become a new appendage for us to wardrobe. Our lives are on these devices and there is nothing we can do to change that. So if we can’t change it, then let’s change the way we think about it. Instead of confining technology into a hateful box containing the root of all evil and a gateway to Satan’s Butthole, let’s use it to our advantage and start thinking of it as a helpful hand in an album of digital memories.
I love my phone because I have two small boys. My boys, like most kids these days, are used to having a phone in there face and are instinctively known to snap 24 shots of a blank wall at any given moment. We also use these shots to capture that first smile or that snot bubble they just blew out of their nose, HELLO SNAPCHAT!
This means that instead of documenting our lives from memory, we are now capable of documenting it through videos and pictures! I mean, how cool would it be to be able to see all of the highlights from your Grandmother’s life? How amazing would it be to see what life was like back in the 1930’s when she was born after the biggest stock market crash in U.S. History? How incredible would it be to not only hear the war stories from Grandpa but to actually see Grandpa being a total badass and saving lives in battle? What would you do if you saw your Grandpa work his first job as a grocery-bagger at the local grocery store making 40 cents an hour? Are you getting the point? Our children’s children will have this marvelous gift of documented memories handed to them because of us!
The day I no longer felt guilty for having my phone in my children’s faces was the day my son took his first steps. He was at daycare and I wasn’t there to witness it because I was at work. I bawled for DAYS. I called my mom crying with uncontrollable alligator tears barreling down my cheeks asking her how I can quit my job so I don’t miss these important moments anymore. She calming empathized with me as I sent her the video that our wonderful daycare had caught while he took his first steps.
She told me this…
“Christi, I know you are upset because you weren’t there, but more importantly, you got it on video! You can watch that over and over again which is something I will never get to do because we didn’t have cell phones back then to catch these kind of spontaneous moments.” I was still in a devalued and disheartened state of Motherhood when I hung up the phone with her. As I tossed and turned that night, I watched that video over and over again. I re-lived that moment as if I were there and I memorized each and every wobble and wiggle as he drunkenly stumbled across the floor on his own two feet for the very first time.
My Mother was right. I get to re-live that video every single day, anytime I want, whenever I want because I have it captured on this so-called demonic device.
So when you see me with my phone out videoing my kids or taking pictures, remember that I saw something beautiful. Sure, I will enjoy the moment without technology for a bit, but then I will take out my phone and capture something so innocent, funny or sweet that was worth documenting. I saw something that I didn’t want to trust my memory to, but rather a moment that I wanted to put on re-play forever. I saw something that I will share with my boys at their Graduation Party, on their Wedding Day and even to their kids when they become parents. A pure feeling of Joy and Oxytocin swept through my body and I saw a moment that I never wanted to forget.
My small DISCLAIMER is that being pro-phone does not give me the right to search on Pinterest or scroll through Instagram while my kids are begging to play with me. I hate it when people are on their phones at the dinner table and I am not one to check my phone first thing in the morning. There are obviously exceptions to this opinion and this doesn’t mean that we should be LIVING on our phones 24/7. Instead, it means that we have the ability to recognize a pivotal memory in life, capture that genuine moment at the touch of our fingertips, then put our phones away. Technology is neither Black nor White; it is a constantly gray area.
If you are a part of the Baby Boomer generation that took technology in like a hungry dog off the street, then you are probably on your phones just as much as we are, utilizing and taking advantage of the incredible commodities your cellular device offers. If you are a Baby Boomer who is technology adverse, then that’s fine as well. You do you. But hold off on the Millennial criticism because the ones who complain about us are also the ones who raised us.
As Jim Halpert from The Office said on the last episode of the last season, “Imagine going back and watching a tape of your life. You could see yourself change and make mistakes and grow up. You could watch yourself fall in love, watch yourself become a husband, become a father. You guys gave that to me, and that’s an amazing gift.”
Written with love, hope and Millennial Hashtags by Christi Brown