self portrait van goghRecently, I’ve seen numerous commercials for “Petolon”. From what I can gather, you stand in front of a screen or mirror in your home, and you workout. If this is new to you – have a peek here.

I used to be a gym rat. I loved to workout but there was a strong social aspect to going to the gym as well. There was community there and I was part of it. I was in the early-morning workout group. I’d hop on a cross-trainer and talk to Denis, the doctor from Cameroon.

My son, Vidroid, was heavily into gaming from the time he was seven years old. By the time he was a teenager, the majority of people he called friends, were people in the gaming community, strewn around the world. I’d see sim standing in front of the tv, zoned out, oblivious, chatting into his mic, completely absorbed in the game. I’m sure you can imagine.

The tunnel vision scared me.  The dogs would try to signal him, they needed to go out and pee. He was oblivious.  His energetic life force was not really in the room.

IVid was saved by a flesh and blood girl. Yep. He met a woman and that was that. No more time for gaming! These days his life take place in the (real) 3-D world with all it’s messes, textures and smells.  Whew! But this stuff is still out there and people so, so lonely.

You hear a lot about how people never turn off their phones. It’s easy to see why.  If you turn off the device, you’re alone. It’s possible for years to pass, with all your attention given to the machine. Meanwhile your (real life) social skills degrade.

Depression probably figures here.  Why clean the house? No one is coming over. You can swipe people away and guess what? They swipe you away as well. I really hate this.

I hate it enough to do something about it. I have found people like myself who really want to be connected. I maintain relationships in real life and I try to do more, not less.

My husband and I teach a class with twenty-three 10-12 year old kids, every Sunday.  Recently, we started having a 16 year old boy come over – he like to play guitar with my husband.  My husband actually taught him to play, two years ago. He’s got a lot of talent and he’s taken off.

Thing is the boy’s mother brings him to our house and she stays to visit with me.  She has three other kids; sometimes they come over as well.  These visits are at least two hours long, maybe twice that. I don’t have to go to any real trouble, but I do have to have the house clean… and there goes our weekends!  But at least we in life.

My husband and I, the boy and his mother, were sitting around the table, this last Saturday. We were chatting during a break in the music.  We were all popping almonds into our mouths, eating scones, and talking about life. We were also making plans for the future.

I’m writing this out because I think this socializing thing is a lost art, for many.  When I look around, I see people in technology bubbles.  What we see in our bubble is tightly controlled.

It’s gotten so bad, it’s hard to find points of commonality.  My bubble and yours, connect briefly. It’s like a twitter-length communication and that’s all we have.  Worst of all, it’s boring.

Like I said, I hate this so I’m actively looking for people who want a real, rather than a virtual life.  There are a lot of them out there but you’re not going to see them unless you put down your phone and whatever other kind of fake armor you’re wearing.

If you feel your life is missing something, I hope this spurs you to seek real connection. Somehow, somewhere.

Are you becoming more (or less) isolated?

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