Friday, February 7, 2014

This is Only a Text

A long time ago, in the far away land of California, I was in high school. I hated high school (I still tend to view it as false imprisonment), but there was one good thing about that time: I saw all my favorite people almost every day. I saw my two closest friends at school (and usually one or the other outside of school), and I saw my family back at home.

But there were plenty of times when I was alone, whether completely alone, or in a crowd. And I've always hated to be alone, except when it is by choice. I get lonely fast. I feel like an experience is hardly worthwhile unless it is shared, and then talked about afterward.

Now things are very different. I live in Arizona with my wife and kids. My wife is the best friend I've ever had, and I get to see more of her each day than any friend I had before, and I really can't remember how I survived without her.

But man does not live by wife alone, and my other close friends and family I hardly see. This makes my circle of more meaningful interaction very small. Usually I will see a friend for a few minutes here or there, but not long enough for a real conversation or to do anything together, or I'll get a visit from my family every few months. Strangely, I see my out-of-state family more than my in-state friends.

I have friends at my jobs, but not close friends I really connect with. I still spend a lot of time alone. And, most of the time, I still hate to be alone.

But, text-messaging has offered some help. With texting I've been able to keep in touch with a few of my family members and closest friends almost every day. I feel a bit more connected, and a little less alone. And it seems a few of my friends might hardly remember I existed if I stopped texting.

But, as much of a blessing as it can be, I wonder if it's also a problem. Am I a bit of a texting addict? I don't act like those teenagers you see, interrupting or just avoiding most conversations to send messages, and if I need to check my phone while with company, I try to apologize.

But still, I don't know... am I missing something? Is forced alone time good for me? Am I reducing the amount of time I'd spend in prayer by chatting about nonsense? Am I forgetting the people around me I could be talking to? And if I want to keep in touch with my friends, should I be more willing to take my own advice, and talk on the phone with my voice?

Probably. But like so many other things in life, will I ever be able to truly balance my habit between the extremes of too much and not at all?

Maybe it'll help if I remember the limitations of texting. It's relatively slow, kind of shallow, easy to misinterpret, and it sometimes feels like I'm sending messages into the void, not knowing if they've been read, how they were received, or if they will ever be answered. Texting would work so much better with ESP.

For now I'll just work on developing my ESP.

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