The Real World is a Break from the Internet
I recently saw a friend share a quote, “The internet used to be a break from the real world, and now the real world is a break from the internet.”
Let that sink in for a minute, will ya?
What exactly is the real world? I feel like some days we almost don’t even know anymore. We get sucked into the minutes or hours of scrolling our feeds, reading depressing news, capturing our life and so on. You probably think that’s funny coming from a blogger and influencer, but the truth is, even I get tired of the internet.
When I think of the real world my first thought brings me back to the old television series, “The Waltons.” I grew in the 90’s on “Saved By the Bell,” “Full House,” “Family Matters” and “Step by Step.” But I also grew up on “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie” — two shows that I longed to be a part of their lifestyle, even back when I was younger.
Life was simple then. Families walked everywhere without fear of harm; they all gathered in church on Sundays; ate mama’s home cooking every night; sat on the front porch daily and spent time together. Real time together. Not time with television shows, mindless phone scrolling and iPads for little ones. They didn’t have sad headlines updating on their news apps, they didn’t see pain or suffering daily on their feeds and they probably didn’t feel the need to shield their children from so much.
Let’s face it…when it comes to comparing our modern, tech society to something like “The Waltons,” we realize how good we have it. We are spoiled in so many ways - all thanks to technology. Am I saying it’s a bad thing? No, absolutely not. But do I think it’s a great thing? No, absolutely not.
The internet in so many ways is a portal to doom. Teenagers and young children are victims of things like bullying and trafficking - because of the internet. Socialization is different now because of the internet. You’re not considered hip if you’re not on Facebook and every thirteen year old expects a phone (if they don’t already have one). To my children who may ever read this, you’ll thank me one day.
The internet is becoming our world. It’s the world we live in, trapped in daily as we navigate life. Every triumph, every sorrow, every award, every season of life — all captured for the world. It’s a world that thankfully keeps is in touch with others near and far, but also a world trapped down under the amount of likes and follows we have. It’s a world where if we forget to post those gorgeous vacation photos we took or our child’s first day of school, then clearly we don’t have it all together.
It’s our world, but it isn’t real.
While I am forever grateful for the things the internet provides — friendships, community, awareness, research, businesses, and more — it isn’t real.
What is real is the people around us. What is real is the home we are living in daily, a home filled with our presence; our real, in the moment presence. What is real is getting dressed on Sundays to attend church instead of live streaming it (although let’s admit, that’s cool too - no judgement). What’s real is driving to go eat family dinner instead of just tagging each other on Facebook. What’s real is going out and doing something good with your hands, physically and mentally rather than just donating to a Go Fund Me.
What I am starting to realize is that the things that are real, are the things that are forever sacred pastimes. The things that technology simply cannot replace no matter how much it tries to. Looks can be deceiving — 452 Facebook friends doesn’t replace real people. Sitting on the sofa drowning in electronics doesn’t replace real, quality time. Live streaming mass doesn’t replace walking into the house of God, smelling the Frankincense, dipping your fingers in the Holy Water and shaking your priest’s hand.
The internet can’t replace life. It can’t replace people. It can’t and shouldn’t become our real world.
I think I can speak for many of us, myself included, that we can do better. We can step back into time, put our phones down, and simply be. Yes, are much more advanced than the good ole’ days of “The Waltons,” but just because we are more advanced doesn’t mean our values should change. It doesn’t mean the real world for us should be all computers, newsfeeds and easy clicks.
Our real world should be rooted in each other. In the earth. In our faith. In our homes.
Our real world should be an oasis that we never need a break from and instead, cherish and never take for granted. What is your real world going to be?