Walking around airports always gets me in a cerebral and contemplative mood. I’m always struck by the diversity in the humanity that exists in the people around me. Some people are saying their last goodbyes, while some are anxiously awaiting their first hello. Some are going home, while some are leaving home. Some are anxious—foot tapping, heart beating, palms sweaty— as they await their first-ever flight, while some can’t wait to end the rigmarole of yet another business trip. I’m also struck by how aloof people are to the others around them. I mean, a woman literally ran right into me as I was checking the arrival/departure board for my departure gate. She, like 85% of the people in the airport, was staring down at her phone. I’m sure whatever she was looking at was very important.
As I walked around the Austin Bergstrom Airport, I saw all the people stuck to their smart phones and I began to think about how incredibly connected we are. We are connected to everything, everyone on this planet. Everything but those closest to us. We become so preoccupied with the false sense of community and [anti]social media that we are slowly but surely losing the very real connection and community that exists right next to us. We are at once more connected and more disconnected to the world around us. We are more connected with the world outside, but are less connected with the people within our own families, and less connected with those we call friends.
While I understand I can’t fix this and that this is more or less just me complaining, I do know that I can make a change in my own life. I can choose to be more connected to people. I can choose to be less connected to this false sense of community and connectedness that I find on social media. While I can’t make a difference in the world at large, I can make a difference in my life. And that’s good enough for now.