What we do in our spare time has changed dramatically over recent years. With the recent upsurge in social networking, we’re all spending more time on Facebook and Twitter. For many of us, social networking along with gaming means that, as well as staring at a screen at work, we are now staring at another screen in the evening and into the late hours as well. And this obsession generally spills over into the weekend when we can chill out and catch up with blogs, social networks or put in some extended gaming sessions. For some, social networking and gaming can become an unfortunate addiction, eating up precious spare time we’ll never get back.
What’s my point here? Well although we can generate great memories from online encounters, I suspect we may be better off getting out and ‘getting a life’ as they say. But I hear you make the point what’s the difference with slumping in front of the telly all evening. Not much. We’ve just switched to a different screen, albeit a more interactive experience, but I would question whether it’s the best way to generate great memories.
So what’s the big deal about memories? Well, the older we get, the more we look back, believe me. Our lives are full of milestone events that go to make fond memories – first day at school, first date and all the other firsts. Memories of our parents and friends, school days, school mates, college days, college mates, work and work mates, sporting events and sporting achievements, musical events, hobbies and pastimes. Holidays and days out with the family. Girlfriends, boyfriends, marriage, the birth of our children and the children growing up. I could go on. We’ll look back on all these events as fond memories as we get older. And it’s not just sights and sounds that make memories. Smell and taste are also important. I remember the distinctive smell of some of the shops of my childhood – particularly ironmongers, delicatessens and cafes.
My contention here is that spending time online generally isn’t making fond lasting memories. Sure, we’ll probably remember some YouTube videos and memorable games just as we fondly remember some TV programmes, but I suspect most of our gazing at screens will just be a distant blur in 20 or 30 years time. And of course if we have a young family growing up, spending too much time gaming or on Facebook to the detriment of engaging with our kids surely is getting our priorities badly wrong. Believe me they grow up all too fast and are gone before you know it leaving you wondering if you spent enough time with them in those vital years. You only get one chance at life as they say.
So get away from that screen and go out and make memories with your friends and families. Capture them digitally too and don’t forget to back them up to your external hard drive and to the cloud so at least you’ll have these to jog your fading memory in days to come.
Image credit: Buttercup Sunset by Autumnsonata