This week I was in five different airports in three days and decided to do a bit of an experiment. Usually when I travel, my attention is either on: my blackberry, my laptop, my kindle, or trying to make it through security and then find overhead room with way too much carry-on luggage. I am in me-world: focused on myself, my to-do’s, my schedule, my stuff.
The experiment I engaged in was to check out of me-world for a while and check in to the world. I wondered what I would notice if put aside my electronic addictions and paid attention to the world around me. I consciously engaged in not only people watching, but listening as well. I loved observing how people interacted and responded to each other. Sure I may not have been as productive, but if I had stayed in me-world I would have missed out on witnessing two women toast their first girls-trip together with girlish enthusiasm, an elderly gentleman go out of his way to assist a young woman struggling upstairs with her luggage even though he was probably weaker than she was, a business man waiting for his wife at the airport holding a paper sign with a big heart probably hand drawn with a pink highlighter from his office, and a couple at dinner being thoroughly entertained and engaged in the stories their children were sharing.
And not did I people watch, I also set the intention to interact with people. This was harder than I thought it would be because everyone else seemed to be very invested in their own me-worlds. What I found in my experiment is that the people who were most available to interact with were of an older demographic. Everyone within 20 years of my age had some sort of me-world gadget seemingly wearing an invisible “do not disturb sign.” Now of course I cannot draw any huge conclusions from my little experiment but it did remind me of my on going concern that we are becoming more and more separated members of society who co-exist rather than an interactive community existing together.
What I learned from my experiment is how much of the world I miss out on seeing and being a part of when I am in me-world. So my invitation to you this week is to UPdate how you are when you are out and about in the world. Can you consider putting away your me-world devices and actually observe all the unique people and things around you? Can you step out of your me-world and step into the world you we all are a part of? What you may discover is that it’s a wonderful world full of beautiful people.
~ Christine Hassler, 20 Something Crisis Survival Expert, Campus Calm