The Duchess Digest: The Midas Touch

The Maddening CrowdsI walk to work. And lately I’ve noticed how technology seems to be disconnecting us. People walking the streets around me are ceaselessly on the phone, texting or have their iPod buds firmly lodged in their ears. Each person willfully shutting themselves off from the living world they’re walking through.

And yet, loneliness seems to be an epidemic. I think about all the technology that has evolved in my life alone and wonder some days why it seems I can’t make a connection. There’s cell phones, and i-phones and texting, oh my! So while I’m the first to say thank God for technology, somewhere in all the easy connections, I believe we’ve become disconnected.

A text signed “xo” is no substitute for a gently whispered, “I love you.” The touch of a keyboard can’t replicate the feel of paper grasped between your fingertips; the size 12 Times New Roman font swapped for messy ink penmanship scrolled out across a blank expanse. A puppy Nintendo game will never feel like the sublime downy soft fur and fresh clean scent of holding the squirming real deal. A sunset experienced through an Avatar or a relationship confined to Cyberspace is not the same as eating dinner across from your date. You can’t smell your lover’s scent or taste the salty air or feel the breeze on your skin from inside a computer generated world.

I think the more convenient it has become to instantly communicate, the more it appears we are becoming uncompromising. It no longer requires any effort or sacrifice to exchange messages. In a world where picking up the phone to say hello has become too much of a hassle, we’re losing something. If we get back what we put in, how much are we expecting?

The tale of modern technology reminds me of the story of King Midas. We love ease and convenience the way King Midas loved gold. We want to surround ourselves with every “golden” convenience, to have it waiting at our fingertips. Yet that effortless way of life has left us physically isolated inside our castle walls. The ease of a text has replaced our effort to connect in person and in that laziness our lives have become solitary. We value our independence so highly that we forsake the beautiful, living world around us if it requires sacrifice, courage or concession from us in any way. And we, like Midas, end up Kings (or Queens) of a kingdom of loneliness and isolation. All that glitters isn’t gold. And all that shimmers is sure to fade away.

So try hanging up the phone and really experiencing the treadmill, walking the dog, or observing the drive home. Try replying to your barrage of texts with, “Why don’t we get together and talk about this. I’m developing carpel tunnel from typing on this tiny keypad.” Maybe turn your phone off and enjoy uninterrupted sleep, even if it means risking a missed 2am email or call. Take steps each day to reconnect with the living. I promise as you attempt to reconnect with your fellow human beings, you will reestablish your footing on this earth and remember your own connection to all living things.

—Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California based Life Coach and Writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com