Being Alone Together
I have spent the last week working hard in the outdoors (and it happens to currently be raining), so I am going to focus a bit more on some indoor elements. I would like to start off by saying that coffee shops and pubs have quite a few things in common. They serve great tasting beverages, have a relaxing atmosphere, are generally filled with groups of people chatting face to face, lack young people…wait a minute! They lack young people? This is true. The younger generations don’t usually hang out at a coffee shop or a pub. This is for a number of reasons, some obvious and some not so much. Usually people go to these places to interact face to face with friends or colleagues. Young people these days seem to use the internet or their phones instead. I remember running up the block to knock on a friend’s door to see if they could come “outside” and play. I never texted or Facebooked (possibly a new word), mostly because it was unavailable, but I would go for the face to face interaction. There was also no Googling (another new word) when I hung out with friends. It was mostly imagination, talking and play, and, a lot of the time, this was done in the outdoors. Occasionally when the weather didn’t cooperate we did hang out inside, but there were not that many screens around when we did.
Speaking of the indoors, I sit here now in on of my favourite indoor spots, a coffee shop. You may have guessed that another of my preferred spots is a pub. However, blogging doesn’t make as much sense when it is written at a pub. It may end up being entertaining, but the spelling and grammar mistakes…I have enough of those already! Just looking around at these locations give credence to healthy relationships. People are conversing face to face, usually with only a drink between them. These face to face interactions without a screen in the midst are becoming few and far between.
Most interactions these days take place over email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the list goes on. This is especially true with the younger generations (again pulling from the coffee shop and pub reference from above). Convenience is stepping between us and our health, both physical and mental. It has become way more convenient to turn to technology, instead of going into nature or even doing the simple task of meeting to chat with friends. Even though we are connecting a lot more easily through technology, relationships are suffering and we are actually becoming more alone.
Going back to the title of this post, there are two ways that I see in which we can be alone together. One is in nature, and the other is with technology. When we go into the wilderness with a group of friends or colleagues, we can become truly alone. However, to stay safe and even alive, we rely so much on each member of the group. Even though we go into nature to be alone, these experiences end up bringing groups closer together and help to develop strong relationships. That is why we use nature and the outdoors for so many team building activities. It has so much power to help to develop new strong relationships and build upon existing ones. Being alone in nature, in the end, makes us less alone. In the contrary, I believe technology has the power to do the opposite. That is if we are not careful and mindful about it. This video is great and delves deep into how we are becoming more connected through technology, but asks the question of whether it is making us more alone:
In the outdoors, we are alone together, and when we are connected through technology, we are together, but alone. I don’t really need to say more…
Now for the idea of the week: This one is simple, I want you to develop your relationships with those around you. Go into nature with a friend where you need to rely on them and your relationship. Or even more simply, just sit down with only a beer, cup of coffee or tea, hot chocolate, between you and a friend and have a chat.