Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of lectures about Primal societies as I delve deeper into the whole Primal lifestyle template rather than simply focusing on food. One thing I’ve noticed is that Primal societies were extremely sociable, and for good reason. There is safety in numbers, and without all our modern conveniences (houses, supermarkets, clean running water) everyone had to pitch in to help provide water, food and shelter for the community. This meant strong bonds were formed, people looked out for and helped one another and also spent a lot of time eating, playing and relaxing together.
Nowadays people are extremely busy and more people than ever before live alone. We all work long hours, a lot of people have a long commute and at the end of the working day it’s just easier to call for a takeaway than to cook or arrange to meet family and friends for dinner. We might meet people at the weekend, but sometimes all we want to do is be by ourselves to relax. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to relax but somehow we’ve gotten out of the habit of fully relaxing – we are always checking our emails and social media accounts and for those of us with our work emails on our phone the temptation can be too great to check the messages, answer the call from our boss… Where is our real ‘time off?’
If we have family it’s not that unusual for everyone to be home at a different time, eating at a different time, and collapsing exhausted in front of the TV while the kids are with their friends or playing on the X-Box. There seems to be a real lack of connectivity – not because we don’t want to connect with friends and family but because our lifestyle makes it difficult to do so.
Even when you do meet with friends, do you notice that almost without fail everyone is checking their phone, posting to social media – sure you’re having a great time and you want to share this but how about taking some pictures and do the sharing later? I’m guilty of this too, and a few times I’ve purposefully left my phone at home when going out with friends but sometimes I feel like I’m missing out – and I don’t have pictures to remind me of the great times. It’s all about balance.
My own addiction to my phone and social media was brought home to me last year when I was in Sydney. I was travelling alone and was very aware of the lack of wifi in cafes but in the end it did me a favour. Looking around I noticed the majority of people chatting or sitting in seemingly companionable silence with the people they were with. At first I felt uncomfortable being on my own with no distraction but I soon rediscovered my love of sitting reading and people watching and I came to enjoy this time on my own.
Admittedly I do still find my phone distracting and I do still think ‘I’ll quickly check Facebook (or whatever)’ and come up for air to find more than an hour has gone! But I would recommend some time on your own without your phone or laptop – perhaps plan it though, it’s a bit of a shock to the system when its enforced upon you!
So how can we change these habits? Perhaps once a week arrange to meet friends for coffee or dinner after work and have a ‘no phone’ rule. Start to get your work colleagues or employees used to the fact that when you go home you’re no longer working – use an ‘out of office’ message if this helps. Plan some activities with your kids, partner, parents, anyone you’d like to spend more time with. Go hiking, plan a bike ride and picnic, anything that gets you outside, moving and talking is always good.
Recent events have the potential to change a lot of things in the world. No one can predict what the changes will be but a lot of people are feeling fear and anxiety right now.
Maybe this is the ideal time to start to strengthen our relationships, make them positive and uplifting. Don’t let the fear win – gather your tribe around you, find safety in numbers, tell people you love them, have fun, go on adventures. Lift each other up and live a positive and full life.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Diane Ackerman – I’ve shared it before but it’s worth sharing again:
‘I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it too’