Today, digital is everything, and experience will get you everywhere. How many years at this job, how many letters after your name, how many views on your LinkedIn profile. So many of us are drowning in debt we barely understood when we signed our lives away to it, hoping that those thousands of dollars would buy us a degree that would one day be the key to our happiness. But it won’t.
Though money makes life easy, it doesn’t truly create happiness. Happiness isn’t made; it’s found, lost in moments of joy, and of sorrow. Happiness means you feel something, the joie de vivre so often lived for in the old country, but so heavily scorned here. Living for the joy of life, now that is an achievement.
Before I sought treatment for my depression, I was dead inside. I had no flame in my heart that I could feel, no passion, no drive. I kept to the pattern of life, knowing what was expected of me, and therefore what I would inevitably do. It wasn’t until I rejected that expected path and made some beautiful mistakes that I found that flame.
Life is made out of a million moments, and rarely are those moments involving money. Sure, they might involve a promotion that will make us more money, or perhaps putting a downpayment on a house, but the moment isn’t really about the money – it’s about the pride of achieving something.
I don’t look back on the day I met my husband and remember how much I made in birthday money that day – I remember his smile, his stupid haircut, and how much he failed at throwing army men down my shirt (love is weird, guys). Little things that we miss as we stare down at our phones and our laptops and up at our computer screens. Since we arrived in the US, I have been mostly without a phone, and often without internet. I haven’t Tweeted nearly so much, but I’ve written and drawn a fair bit – often on paper. During our first trip to Rehoboth, we were internet-less, so my husband and I spent more quality time together, without the distraction of technology. Little things, but these are the things that make up life.
Someone once said that life happens when we’re busy making other plans – and it’s true. We think that just because we have control over so many aspects of our lives that it means we have control of everything – but we don’t. We don’t know when the beautiful things are going to happen, nor the terrible.
When I was 17, my grandfather passed away suddenly – and yet not so suddenly. He had suffered from many health issues, and it was with peace he left. Though I wish I could have had more time with him, been able to see his homeland with him, he died surrounded by those who loved him best. I didn’t have Twitter, or Facebook, or even my cell phone in that hospital room. He passed away without digital fanfare. Without a photograph. He passed away surrounded by love, and also heartbreak.
You cannot capture heartbreak in 140 characters. You cannot Post the influence that a person has on a life. You can only feel it, deep in the pit of your stomach. You know it when you feel it, like a vice around your heart. The beauty of humanity, so often silenced by our digital age, is captured in ourselves, and very rarely truly makes it into print.
Take the time to unplug; you never know what you’ll capture.