We were on a 9-hour drive and hit a traffic jam. Immediately, we checked one of the many helpful apps on our phone which told us exactly when the traffic was going to break up so we could either take a different route or know how long we were going to to wait.
Isn’t it perfect knowing everything instantly? We can find every answer to every question we ever have. Thanks, technology.
Believe it or not, I use technology every day (both professionally and socially) so I completely understand its benefits. But I’ve also felt the downsides of instantaneous answers and constant fact-checking.
Without thinking twice, we use technology to think ahead instead of accepting moments and finding ways to enjoy them. Instead of saying “I wonder how long this traffic will last…” we have the ability to get rid of the unknown gray area by simply checking an app. Everything is definite, and we don’t have to wait to find out what happens in the next few miles. We can plan better and look ahead—eliminate unnecessary disruptions.
Except we’re getting rid of all the possibilities in the process. We no longer have to wonder. We used to have consider the possibilities and potential outcomes, finding inner patience and accepting that we wouldn’t have a definite answer right now. When we were kids, we would say “I wonder what I’ll be when I grow up?” We would guess and dream of the possibilities, but we had to wait at least 15 years to finally know the answer.
There’s something to be said about not knowing everything and learning how to wonder. If we don’t take the time to look off into the distance and think of the possibilities, what are we focusing on? We’re chronically distracted, rapidly trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible…taking a quick break to check email and social media while we’re in line for coffee or at a red light, and then, getting right back to the plan. The pace. Making plans to make plans.
In the midst of it all, I think we (myself included) forget how to wait and enjoy the ride. We don’t look for ways to be content during frustrating situations, or at least make them better. We forget how how to be patient. We don’t know how to be pensive.
For many of us, these types of words are considered weak or timid when they should be signs of strength and character. The ability to be present. To be easygoing. To take a step back and think. To use your imagination.
We don’t know how to accept the process of wondering. Of course we like knowing everything because we like being in control. But maybe we can balance things out—get back to the days where we felt okay when there was no avenue for finding answers. It doesn’t mean we have to be passive or give up. We just need to get better at feeling comfortable when things don’t go according to plan.
If we can do that, I think we’ll all become more resilient and adaptable so we can handle whatever is thrown at us without having preparation beforehand. If we look up from our phones and resist Googling the answer to everything we ever wonder about, it might even promote more human connection and a sense of adventure. And definitely lower stress levels (goodbye, WebMD).
Couldn’t we all use a little more adventure, a little less stress? I know I could.
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!