There once was a time when people wrote hand written letters to express our feelings and thoughts to our loved ones or travelled miles to surprise those we admired and held close to our heart with the hope of meeting face-to-face. When I think about “human connection”, I think about being with someone in the very physical presence and sharing an experience that doesn’t quite match the hyper-connected relationships we nurture online. Being with someone physically, expressing part of yourself through hand written letters, or interacting with true authenticity and honesty, holds a sentiment that no real online connection can make. When I think about “human connection”, I think about how beautiful the feeling is when we have nothing else on our mind but the person right in front of you–living, breathing, blinking, staring right back at you and listening right there with you. It’s what’s missing from our human lives today. We find ourselves so unknowingly devoted to our phones, and mobile devices that connects us in an instant to millions of people we barely know–or in my case, hundreds of people I rarely know or speak to anymore.
As much as I love expressing my ideas and feelings through online mediums, there is nothing more that I love than being with a person or people in the flesh and blood. Breathing the same air with me. Thinking, sharing, laughing, discovering, contemplating and feeling a real human experience that cannot be replaced by a screen. It’s this sort of feeling that really ignites my nerves and gets my blood flowing. It’s what makes me feel alive. We’re all so consumed in our digital lives (I’ll admit that I am guilty of this too) that we forget the real human experience that happens outside of our online realms. I too, forget at times, but make every effort to remind myself that nothing can substitute a real human body and it’s real human warmth and fascinating mind and soul to an online body. Before our lives became consumed by hyper-connectivity and over saturated with a number of social networks, connecting and interacting with someone in a physical sense–whether it was through an extension of our feelings onto paper or being in the physical presence of someone–“connecting” meant giving a part of our real intimate selves to bare the wait for the second our physical selves met face-to-face or to sit patiently with time to receive written words back from our beloved.
What we need now more than ever, is to shrink ourselves back to the basics of real human connection and give ourselves back the human experience we long for. Whatever it takes, whatever places you must remove yourself from, I dare you and myself to risk one or two hours of your time without the comfort of our instant online connections in the palms of our hands, to spend some time experiencing the feeling of being in the physical presence of another unknown to you. It’s a feeling that nothing else could match. It’s discovering and travelling through the stories of a past to understand a little bit of their soul and the life they have now. It’s listening to a living creature breath and speak the things that drive their passions for life or spark their curious minds. Nothing can substitute this feeling, and you’ll know what I mean when you’ve done enough of it.