Car rides with friends and family can be valuable opportunities to catch up or conversation. Driving by yourself can be just as important: it’s an opportunity to think. It’s nice to have the radio off and some peace and quiet—just you, your thoughts, and the open road.
But, whether you’re riding solo or with a group, never forget that car rides should also be taken seriously at all times, because you never know when another driver or pedestrian is going to do something that puts both parties in harm.
That’s exactly what happened to me last week.
After finishing a couple errands on my campus, I was heading home when another student, headphones on and eyeballs glued to a cell phone, stepped right off the curb and in front of me. I locked my brakes, skidding to an uncomfortable stop and thankful I was only going 25 mph.
The student, hearing the screech and noticing what had happened, raised his hand in apology and gave me a nod before hurrying across the street.
So what did I do? I didn’t lay on the horn, offer an obscene gesture, or roll down my window and shake my fist at him like a grumpy ol’ “get off my lawn” man. Instead, I gingerly headed on my way and did some thinking on the way home.
Driving by yourself is an opportunity to think, right?
And the car ride was thought-provoking. Lots went through my head: We’re living in unprecedented times. We’ve transcended the digital age and moved onto the social media age. Cell phones and mobile screens have snaked their way across the country like an airborne pathogen. It’s an addiction many people can’t beat, and like any other addiction, it’s dangerous.
Please don’t read this and mistake me as an anti-internet, cranky millennial. That’s not the case. I was even a media studies major in college, and I do appreciate the value of carrying basically unlimited knowledge in one’s pocket.
But during my car ride home on this particular day, all I could think about is this: in a world where Twitter feeds and Instagram filters are strongly impacting how people live their life (and how people frame their lives), we all need to make a conscious effort to break away from our phones and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Smell the roses, per se.
We’ve got to disconnect to reconnect.
So in the upcoming weak, push yourself to do that. While you’re on the go, stay off your phone. Maybe even try to find a place where you don’t have signal. Enjoy the world around you.
It’s a luxury being able to communicate with friends anywhere in the world in seconds. It’s fun to send pictures with “puppy filters” to our friends. But in a world ran by the hypnotism of Facebook and Snapchat, the people who run the world are those with the ability to snap out of the trance.
The world is a crazy, exciting, often hectic place, and we’re blessed to be a part of it.
So let’s be a part of it.
Guest Writer Jesse Haynes
Jesse Haynes is a storyteller from Tulsa, Oklahoma. His first novel, Creepers, was a 2015 Daily Oklahoman Bestseller, and his second podcast, The Others, charted in the iTunes Top 50. Haynes is the owner of CastleBulders Press LLC, a publishing house focused on imaginative stories for all ages, and he shares his podcasting advice, novels, and a free leadership guide on his website at www.jessehaynesauthor.com.