Back in the day before smartphones, I almost missed a flight out of Logan airport. This happened for a few reasons: 1) I was relying on my memory for the departure time; 2) Because I was relying on my memory, which I had heretofore thought was infallible, I didn’t check the itinerary I had printed out; 3) There was not yet an airline app kindly sending me multiple reminders one day before to check in two hours before my scheduled departure time. And this is how I ended up running full tilt through Logan airport towards the Northwest Airlines terminal, desperately hoping I didn’t miss my flight.
In retrospect, this seems silly. Why run and get all out of breath when really, the worst that could have happened was that I was put on a later flight? Was that really worth getting unplanned exercise for? Probably not. More importantly, though, I would have gotten to spend more time with my uncles Ross and Peter, whom I was visiting for the weekend. Ross passed away about two years ago. I would love to relive that moment in time and miss that flight, then have a freak snowstorm and be stranded in Boston for one more week. It’s important to keep in mind what ultimately matters, which is not being on time, catching flights, watching the Super Bowl, getting tickets to a sold out concert, work, or anything else. What matters is spending time with the people in your life.
There are two main tip offs that you are getting older – you care less and less about what other people think, and the list of dead people you know grows longer every year. There are so few things we can control in life, but spending time with loved ones is one of them. I can’t imagine any 90 year old lamenting that they spent $400 on a plane ticket to see a friend back in 2014. I can clearly hear in my mind’s imagining someone lamenting not having spent the money, though. What a small price to pay for human connection.
Smartphones have given us many gifts – clocks that adjust automatically, access to limitless information, the ability to order phony prescriptions and watch Internet memes on YouTube. What it hasn’t given us, though, is the impetus to pick up the phone and call people more often. Blogging is great. It helps us feel like we’re not so alone when we have access to other people’s similar experiences and gained wisdom. Posts can be thought-provoking, they can be silly, they can even be pointless, and I think all of those things are positive contributions.
As we move ever forward into the inexorable darkness of never-ending winter (I’m specifically referring to those in the northern climes, though winter stinks for everybody), remember to use your smartphone to call a friend and invite them over for dinner. We can do many things using technology, but technology by itself doesn’t do anything for us. Use your words, ignore that Expedia email, miss your flight.