Monday, 24 November 2014

Be The User, Not the Used

Our lives changed the very day smart phones were placed in our hands. People who marketed the gadget to us did a very wonderful job. They made us believe it is the only thing we needed to live a smart life. We hopped to it, thinking and believing how dumb our lives have been. Since then, everything in our homes have been made smart and now we seem to be enjoying the smart life. Not a single moment passes without us capturing it with our cameras, our friends are now closer to us than before, even strangers living in a million miles away know what we are up to with our lives. Isn't that beautiful? Now you can read this because you have a beautiful smart thing in your hand called a smartphone. As a friend of mine puts it; "yours is a beautiful generation, it seems life's problems have been made simpler." I couldn't agree more with him. Now most solutions to our problems are just but a touch away.

Technology has brought us this far and we've been enslaved by these things that technology made possible. We are not using our senses enough because we have surrendered to this new kind of slavery that only technology could make possible. We hardly look to the person next to us because we are busy chatting with friends that live in our phones. We prefer a poke on Facebook to a real touch of the person next to us. What have we become?

My phone got spoilt a little about four months ago. That day when I was going home, I realized I didn't  even know my way home. Everything looked different; the road, colors of buildings, names of shops, even the waakye seller next to the street looked very beautiful. I was able to see those things because for the first time I was ready not to just look but watch and assess. Glance by glance, I stare at every little thing by the roadside which I would have ignored if I had my phone in my hands. When the car got stuck in traffic, this time I had the chance to watch. I took time to read the inscriptions in front of the shops, had time to interact with other passengers in little conversation and enjoy the wind that splashed on my face as the car moved. Life is beautiful when we surrender our time to the happenings around us. What matters is what's in front of you, what actually matters is the person breathing next to you. 

These smart things were created for our usage but the way I see it, we are rather being used. We would only sleep when we think Facebook is boring. We prefer opening Facebook to opening a textbook. We run from the rain not because we would get wet but because the phone in our pockets will get socked and spoilt. There's grace in nature, our environment is trying to communicate with us each passing moment, but we are so involved with our gadgets that we fail to heed. Let's give the one next to us a chance to make a difference.

Pick a day to take a break from your little screens. Put the world on your phone on hold for a day so you could activate the world on the outside. Say hello to the guy you just walked by and he will bless you with a smile, a real smile not a smiley from a phone. It doesn't hurt not to reply a message instantly, after all man has been able to survive the periods when replies to letters took months to reach. Spend real time with family, look into their eyes and appreciate what they've been through during the day. Share your stories with the one next to you, they only can empathize with you and offer an opened arms to run into. Life is meant to be enjoyed this way, the smart way. 

What Dady Said About Happiness

My father always wanted to teach me something new each passing day as I was growing up into a young man. He usually will tell me about things I needed to know to live a fulfilled life. This day, on the 27th September, 1999, Daddy spoke to me about happiness;

My son, if there's anything you have to be in this world before you die, it should be nothing but happy. Don't be scared to let the world know how happy you are about the little things life throws into your nest. Actually, you don't need much to be happy. People waste their lives in slavery just to acquire so many things, yet have no time to enjoy what they have acquired through their sweat. Son, I tell you today, take note...happiness doesn't rest on any material belongings. 

Let me use my life as an example. When I completed law school, there was nothing on my mind than a beautiful career that would bring me wealth and a pool of sunshine. In my little heart of imagination, I thought that was where happiness could be found. I dreamt of beautiful mansions, exotic cars, travelling all over the world and imagined having a beautiful family, yes, I thought of you kids too. 

Then I started working. In my office, all my colleagues had cars except me. I was always struggling to move around. Most often I had to beg a friend to take me around. Then I developed a taste for a car. In my mind, that was the only thing I needed to be happy. I spent days un-end dreaming of what life would be like if I had a car. Anytime I saw someone driving around I associated them with happiness. I only believed one thing to make me happy; having a car! 

I worked hard, saved a lot of money and got my first car. You could imagine my state of mind when the car arrived. I was thrilled and couldn't even get my hands off it. Now my happiness is achieved, hurray! I will usually drive around town to visit all family and friends just to let them know I'm a proud owner of a car. 

Days went by and seasons changed. I got used to having a car and I wasn't thrilled anymore. I began having dreams of another sources of happiness. Things I didn't have were  most beautiful in my eyes. At a point I even fantasized about owning a piece of the world just so I could be happy. That was when I began to understand what happiness truly means. 

Whatever we have is a solution to some problems of our lives but not all problems of our lives. I learnt the hard way. I realized eventually that owning a car was just a solution to the transportation problems of my life. I had a car not so I could be happy but so I can move from one location to another with ease. Later I realized I had problems that are bigger than transportation and those problems equally made me sad. Interestingly, the car that was suppose to be my happiness even caused me a lot of unhappiness sometimes. I had to fuel it whether I have money or not, I had to service it, pay insurance and even spend hours un-end in traffic. That caused me a lot of unhappiness too. 

 Happiness is something we can only pursue. It's not a destination where you can pitch camp and say; this is it, I've reached my point of happiness. Each day of our lives we have to pursue it. We have to do things that make our spirits smile, however small. Whatever dream your mind perceives, pursue it with all your heart and soul. It's through that your souls happiness and fulfillment is attained. 

Don't live the dreams of others, not even mine, just so you can fit or be accepted. Dare to be different. Dare to let your heart dream you a dream. Dare to pursue every inch of your hearts desire, dare to live right now. It is only right now that happiness makes sense. Tomorrow we might have another dream to follow. Our heart might find us another dream to follow so we can be happy. Don't postpone happiness. Right now, right here, right at this moment, enjoy the happiness you've attained for yourself. 

What Becomes of our Internet Properties When We Are Gone?

At 4:00am today, I went through my Facebook account as I usually do each dawn when I wake up to write or study. As I kept scrolling through my timeline, I saw a face of a friend under The People You May Know section. This is a friend who's personally known to me. A very beautiful lady who has a heart of gold. You'll never see her without her signature smile that flashes dimples in her cheeks. I've worked with her during my internship program in a company at Kumasi. She died just a year after my internship program. She had succumbed to a heart disease that has plagued her for some years. 

But this dawn, there she lies on Facebook, flashing her usual smile at me as if she never left. As if she's alright and living around several meters away from my house. "Should I request for her friendship or just poke her?" I asked myself. "How long is she gonna be here on Facebook though she'd died?" "How does her family feels anytime they see her post and pictures on Facebook?" Do they smile about her memories or they cry about the fact that she would never be seen again?" This and so much more questions kept raging my mind. She's dead and gone but she will forever have her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account going.

Everyone reading this post will one day have this same will die and you'll be survived by your various internet account. How would you like your family to treat all those digital pictures and videos you left behind? Would you be bold enough to leave your passwords somewhere for your relatives so they can shut your internet accounts down? Don't prolong the pain of your family. Those videos of you on Instagram and Facebook won't go away unless you closed them

Today, I've decided to leave my passwords behind as part of my Will. Family will finally have a sneak peak through the real life of me. Two days after I'm buried, family should shut down all my internet possessions. 

Are you bold enough to leave your passwords behind?