Cellphones and vacation.

I remember sitting on my deck in Cancun, Mexico. Shawn was still sleeping.

I had been up long enough to write in my journal, meditate, and watch and listen to some of the resort wake up.

Shawn and I are very different on vacation. He takes the opportunity to sleep. I wake early and use the quiet to read, practice self care, and write. I love that part of the day where it’s just me and the resort (or so I pretend).

What struck me while we were on vacation was how cell phones were changing how people vacationed. On our first day we arrived before our room was ready so we wandered to a restaurant to eat by the main pool. It was a great place to people watch which was good because both of us were tired and not up for much conversation.

What amazed me and I shared with Shawn was all the cell phones. I know my cell phone is important to me. It serves as my primary source for a watch and camera. As we are self-employed, it also serves are our lifeline to our staff and businesses. It is also a way for Shawn’s 91-year-old grandmother to reach us and for us to check in on her as she is in our care. Bottom line; I appreciate my phone. A lot…

However, as we sat there, people were behind their phones more than they were with the people they were physically on vacation with. One woman spent our entire lunch on the phone with someone, dancing to the music and drinking. Her partner was just sitting there and sometimes picking up his phone, too. Another woman was on her phone and laptop for the majority of our lunch. Her partner: reading. Everywhere around us it seemed people were communicating with people other than the ones they were with.

At another pool we observed a lady in long conversation with someone through video chat. At first Shawn and I thought she was talking to people across the bar but then we realized she was on speaker phone. She seemed to spend about an hour with the “phone people” showing them the palm trees, the bar, the pool, talking, talking, talking. When the conversation, for all of us to hear, was over she went to her Bali bed and slept. The interaction with her partner was minimal.

I understand as a society we have integrated our cell phones into our lives. I even understand that the phone could be an e-reader. I understand as an entrepreneur and a care-giver to an elderly family member that they are needed. I do.

What I wondered as we looked around was are we losing connection to each other? The number of people interacting with people not with them had us wondering if we have lost the ability to share with the people we are with, or to be able to just sit together in silence? What happened to our ability to fully unplug? I saw business deals being made outside resort restaurants and here I am doing work on my patio. Have I forgotten how to rest?

I know Shawn and I have communicated with each other about cell phone use in our relationship and I work to ensure I am present with him. I am also aware of how addictive those little devices are.

As Shawn and I get ready for the next get-away I hope I remember how much I was impacted by that vacation. I hope I make engaging conversation with the person I choose to go on vacation with my focus. I am going on vacation with the love of my life. I don’t want him to feel any other way.

How do you ensure you are present while on vacation?

“Life is short. Don’t miss opportunities to spend time with the people that you love.”

Joel Osteen