Our Life: Lost In “Reality”

By Marissa Mitchell

Looking at the way in which people are fettered to their phones, their computers, their watches, their iPads, their televisions, it’s a wonder that anyone would ever be able to stay present in the moment. Today, I spent most of my waking hours in front of some sort of screen, running around in a fossil-fuel operated mechanism between screened devices.

It is times like these that intermittently I will experience a pang of grief for our current state of “being” and for the generations to come. Will our children and grandchildren be chained to the pixeled and coded world, somewhere in limbo between the life of the living and virtual reality?

Not only mourning for future generations, I mourn for myself. For all the lost time caught in a fantasy world of nonexistence of…what exactly? It’s hard to explain. However, I know that in that world, I don’t really have to face my own. Or, I can become so consumed with work-related tasks that the meaning of life completely eludes me (as though I even knew what that was).

The “being present” aspect that so many yoga and meditative fads are espousing is not less meaningful for being supported by what many people would qualify as “odd” or “hippy” people. At the end of the movie A Dog’s Purpose, the dog finally finds out his life purpose: to “be here now.” Simple. That’s it.

When my dad, a hospice doctor, found out his entire medical company was switching to virtual records, he bemoaned the potential loss of his precious “patient cards,” paper cards on which he wrote down all of his patients’ important information, as well as special reminders for each. Though then I was inclined to think of him as old-fashioned, simply unwilling to change, now I can appreciate just how much the tactile feel a patient’s card prior to a visit can mean to him, how much that can really identify that patient, for him, and for them.

I mourn for the loss of the days when families, not having these things, were forced to interact with one another. So much of our time is spent in virtual hypnotism, this kind of surreal immersion, that our most wonderful moments with the ones we care about, or who we may even come to care about, are lost to us. But we chose it to be that way.

I am no different. But I want a change. I want to live in this system of a virtual world insomuch as I need it, but no more. That way, when I come to end of my days here, I will have so many moments that I can fondly look back on of my very own, I won’t be able to contain my joy for having had them.