It’s so confronting, feeling lonely in a world of mass connection. We have the ability to connect at any time of the day or night.
We can passively connect through viewing TV or a news stream or FB or Instagram feed.
We can partially connect through commenting on, or starting, online conversations.
We can actively connect by picking up the phone, looking someone in the eye, meeting in person, getting up from our desk and walking to talk to a colleague instead of instant messaging.
As a woman and a (slight!) extrovert, I get a natural feeling to reach out. I crave active connection with people. But I know that feeling isn’t natural to everyone.
So we can feel very isolated, even though we are surrounded by conversation. I’ve felt it too. A lot, actually. And when there are deadlines, kids, the daily rumble of life – it’s easier to just observe the world.
The ‘partial connection’ is something I’ve been thinking about lately. It gives me a little hit of connection; I love the interaction I have with you online! But it’s not enough.
I spend my days at a computer or with my kids. But am I really WITH them? And am I really with you?
The recent live events I’ve done have filled me up in a huge way – so you can expect more of that!
But in terms of my family…
When we moved into the house we are currently living in last year, I was so pleased to have a kitchen bench where the kids could sit and eat their breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. It started off as a breakfast bench but has become an ‘everything bench.’ I feed them dinner and stand on the other side of the bench eating mine.
I wrote a post about how much I love the bench last year, but I’ve started to feel uneasy about it. About the relaxed nature of our family dinners. About STANDING UP and eating (OMG all the reading I’ve done about mindful eating and I’m standing up for dinner – crazy!!).
When Nick and I got married seven years ago, we had gorgeous, abundant share plates of slow-cooked meats, vegetarian pies, roasted veggies. It was a ‘dig in’ fest. Over three large, long tables, our guests passed around food, looked each other in the eye and connected.
It was magic.
I’m bringing that back.
This week, we’ve set the table every night. The girls love it. We’ve sat down to eat from share plates or bowls and really connected. It’s a ritual I grew up with, and while an island bench is handy, there’s something about the power of the kitchen table and creating a sense of connection that you just can’t put a price on.
We all talk about the best and worst things from our day and it’s amazing, the insights I’m getting into my kids. And it’s amazing how much better they are eating.
In a world where we passively connect all the time, I am now seeking out more opportunities to actively connect. Because we are human and humans need it to thrive.
Yesterday, I took an hour out of my work day and had lunch in the city with my husband. It was so good that it spurred me to write this because while I can be with someone, live in the same house, share parenting and all the trappings – I can so easily not actively connect.
I wonder if you feel the same?