Seizing the moment

imgresAs we all begin to wind down the summer we all see our email boxes start to peter off, the social media begin to quiet down and the instagram photos scream vacation.

I have been thinking a lot about participation vs observation and the importance of the first vs the latter.  It seems to me that there has been an insane surge of observation and we are all begging for and needing a little more participation.  There are a lot of clues in trends that are happening that speak to that.

When I see families out for dinner and everyone is peering at their phones it upsets me.  When I go to a board meeting and people are on their phones more than they are participating in the conversation it angers me.  I know I will make notes to myself on my phone or look up something that is worthy to the meeting but I really do put the phone away.  It isn’t right.   Even when you go to a museum and people are just posting away and not truly enjoying the moment and the experience they are having.

I had a conversation with an editor at Eater about the importance of sitting down for a meal with friends and family.  I continue to think about it.  Why is it important to sit down and have that meal.  I think it comes down to seizing the moment.  Participating in conversation.  It could be about anything from books to movies to the meal you are having or the political landscape but those conversations are important.  People tend to look back at those times with fond memories.  I have yet to see anyone look back at a snap chat, an instagram or a blog post with fond memories.  It is the human connection and those human conversations that I find much more interesting and memorable than the screen of my phone.

Hoping to seize the moment often as the summer winds down.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Our attention is both our greatest currency and giving it a sign of respect.I agree with you. It’s not always simple to act on this one though.

  2. Amy Gross

    As a blogger, I share a lot of photos professionally and personally. It can be easy to let that take over my personal moments, too. To combat that, I try to snap the photos and put my phone away immediately so I can embrace the moments I am given and those who are sharing them with me, remembering that I can edit and post later. (I’ll admit it is a challenge, but I am getting more intentional with that.)

  3. Wendy Read

    I can’t agree with you more.

  4. bsoist

    When I see families out for dinner and everyone is peering at their phones it upsets me.I hate that. We do a good job of moderating it. I don’t completely outlaw phones at the table ( one because I don’t think that’s the right thing to do and two because I’m not that kind of dad/husband ), but we all make an effort to be present instead of connected to something else.

  5. Rohan

    I love the quote on the essence of zen – “Doing one thing a time is the essence of Zen.”I have difficulty with this – less so with my phone but a lot with my computer. Need to do better.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Great quote

  6. William Mougayar

    Totally agreed, but there’s nothing wrong about snapping a couple of pics during the meal to “seize the moment” which you can later look back at. I don’t think you’re advocating not doing that, right?Looking forward to your upcoming pics in Europe.

    1. Gotham Gal

      snapping a few is fine. just snapping and never talking is not.

  7. daryn

    I agree about seizing the moment, but I do love looking back at instagrams and tweets – especially using timehop where I can think back on the same day in years past.

    1. Gotham Gal

      that way you have to remember nothing 🙂

      1. daryn

        more like “wow, was that really 3 years ago today already!” 🙂

  8. LE

    When we were growing up my dad used to have the network news on the TV during dinner. I learned a great deal from things he said as far as what the stories were about at that time. Things that would make no sense to a child.I currently do something similar with my wife (who never has paid attention to TV Network news). I watch it while exercising on DVR. Then later in the evening I will show her a few clips and give commentary. She really likes that and it saves her the time of watching the entire show. I do the same by forwarding her news articles as well with a comment or two. Other big benefit is when I discuss something not on the news she has the foundation to understand where I am coming from. And we aren’t the “dining dead” [1] when we go out for date night.[1] That’s a real term for couples that don’t talk when they are out to dinner.

  9. LE

    One thing I’ve brought up on Fred’s blog, that he has never done, is to ask a simple question.The question is:”If you don’t comment on this blog (at all or rarely) … (but you apparently read it!) why don’t you? And what would make you open up and share your thoughts?”I have my theories on why that happens but would be curious since many of the posts that are here (and on don’t require particular expertise in order to say something.

    1. Y.

      Timing: when I do stop by, the conversation has already brewed past (which often happens for those in different time zones) and comments have piled up, so it’s a bit late to add to it.Disqus: has never loaded on the first go for me; usually have to reload the page just to read comments and should I want to comment, logging in doesn’t work in my preferred browser (Firefox), so I have to use Safari, which is too much trouble most of the time.

      1. Gotham Gal

        that’s strange.

        1. LE

          Disqus has never done a good job of stamping out bugs such as the parent commenter is mentioning. I’ve made many comments on about areas of improvement by the way.These things don’t hurt blogs with large followings but I’m certain they do hurt smaller blogs.In the case of the above, disqus’s response typically has been “you should write to us and tell us” as opposed to proactively monitoring comments or even placing a link saying “problems” where people can easily (key: easily) offer feedback. Most people aren’t going to take the time to tell someone how to run their business better by sending an email.

      2. LE

        What version of Firefox are you using and on what platform?Stale comments are definitely an issue I am also less likely to make a comment if I can’t make it early, except to respond (such as I am doing here).Early up votes are also an issue. Earliest comments that are pithy tend to get many upvotes to the detriment of later (less pithy) comments.

  10. Mark Gavagan

    Life zips by so quickly and, other than me, no one’s going to live forever.Years from now, many people may come to regret the thousands of precious hours frittered away on what will then be realized as not-so-meaningful apps and websites.That lull in family dinner conversation might seem like a harmless moment to check email, etc, but those moments are often where life happens.I wonder how many relationships could have survived if people were truly present, looked directly at one another, asked insightful questions, and then listened intently?

    1. Gotham Gal

      great question. social media has definitely changed relationships in several ways.

  11. JLM

    .Road. Trips.I have been married for 35 years and the best way to talk is to take a road trip.You can’t help talking.JLM.

    1. Gotham Gal

      well we are about to go on a long one.

      1. JLM

        .And you will do lots of talking.Bon road trip!JLM.

  12. Drew Meyers

    Saddens me too. None of life’s magical moments occur staring at your screen… which is precisely the root of the issue we are trying to solve.

  13. pointsnfigures

    Yup. Thanks for reminding me.

  14. kirklove

    We’ve got a firm no phones out at the table. We also eat breakfast and dinner together every day as a family. It’s something I did as a kid and something we insist on as parents.When out, I’m so saddened by people on phones. Makes no sense.One thing I recently discovered that some groups of kids are doing (which I love) is they all take out their phones and put them on the table in a stack. First person to check their phone has to pick up the tab. Simple and brilliant solution to enjoying your time WITH your friends, not your device.

    1. Gotham Gal

      smart one with the kids. i have seen them make a no phone policy when sitting down. it is so damn rude!