Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

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Over the next 24 hours millions of people will set goals for the New Year. Typical resolutions will be a laundry list of positive changes like weight loss, spiritual growth and financial stability.  Most goals will be realistic and achievable and others will be too whimsical to set in motion.

But the idea of leaving one year behind and diving head-first into the next is refreshing. It’s a chance to start over, to get life right and to forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past 365 days. It is the finish-line for wrapping up unresolved issues and the starting point for reinventing your life.

This year, I’ve decided to take a different approach to setting my personal and professional goals. Of course I plan to eat healthier, love harder and seek peace in everything I do, but my primary goal will be unlike my goals of the past.

When I think about the last year I realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of life. So much of my time was spent with my head down and my eyes focused on what was beneath me instead of what was above. While the world around me moved forward I became stuck glaring, with no pause, at one of my little handheld distractions. Like most people who are mystified by the capabilities of our smartphones, tablets and laptops, I became accustom to watching the small screen on these devices more than the beautiful faces of the people around me.

I know I’m not alone. The few times I’ve looked up while in the airport, the shopping mall or the grocery store I’ve seen fewer faces and more bowed heads.  People of all ages preoccupied with their device – the very thing that was meant to keep us in touch with the world but has left us more disconnected to our surroundings. These devices have become our technological friends that often leave us starving for human companionship when their batteries are dead.

Therefore, in 2015 I am committed to looking up. But to meet my goal I will need to make a few realistic changes in my life:

  • First, I will put down my phone, laptop and tablet for two straight hours each day (and I’m not talking about when I’m sleeping) and I will take a technology “holiday” once a week.
  • Next, I will shut down every device I have at least an hour before bed no matter what.
  • I will consciously stop denying that technology has taken hold of my time and therefore deal with its impact on how I’m connecting with the people around me.
  • And finally, I will keep my head high more often so I can look into the faces of people marveling through this beautiful life with me.

An unrealistic goal would be to say that I will stop using my handheld distractions, shut down all my social media accounts or denounce technology altogether. No, that’s too whimsical of a goal for 2015. But what I will do is spend more time looking up and reconnecting to the wonderful world around me and less time bowing to anything other than the greatness of God.

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