Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what life was like before we were all super connected all the time. But that’s how we grew up, how our parents parented and how life was … until it wasn’t.
When I was a little girl, I knew my mom’s office phone number, and sometimes would call her to say hello while she was working. There was a 50-50 chance that she would actually be there and pick up. And never mind the fact that sometimes my calls would be met with a busy signal. All that was okay, because instead of text messaging, we’d talk about when she’d be home. We had schedules and plans.
When was the last time you heard a busy signal? When was the last time you answered a phone call without knowing who was calling thanks to caller ID?
These days, those barriers — the ones that allowed us to focus on one call at a time, to not choose to ignore certain calls and to ultimately be less available — don’t exist anymore.
We’re always connected. I can roll over in the middle of the night, read emails from colleagues and respond without even leaving the cozy comfort of my bed — or fully waking up. Is it a bad habit? Probably. Sometimes, I see friends tweeting in the wee hours and wonder if they, like me, have trouble sleeping some nights.
There’s benefits to this technology though. It means that whether I am in a meeting, out to lunch or driving somewhere, my children’s schools can reach me in an emergency. It means that waiting times — like when I am waiting for my daughter’s Girl Scouts meeting to end or when I arrive early to meetings — become productive time to catch up on email, connect with friends on social media and stay abreast of what’s happening in the world.
But the downside is considerable. It also means that we have a harder time separating from that connectedness, letting phones infiltrate the family dinner and prioritize doing “one more thing” over actually paying attention to the people we’re with. The convenience has made us less observant and more tolerant of ignoring each other and being ignored. Ironically, in the connectedness of the modern world we have become — to an extent — less connected to each other.
But I don’t want to be less connected. I want to instill in my kids the art of conversation, the grace of paying attention to each other and the dignity of living in the moment.
Next time you sit down to dinner with your friends or family, put the phone away. Turn off the volume — if you don’t already do all these things. And then talk. Really talk. Talk about what books you’re reading. The movies you’ve seen. The conversations you had at work today. Talk about the classes your kids are taking. Be there, and enjoy it. Because while we can always be available, it’s okay to disconnect from technology and connect in person. People matter. The people you are with matter.
And this weekend, don’t stress when your friends come over for game day. Maybe you won’t tuck away the phones, but consider it. And plan a menu that will let you be in the moment, enjoying their company and whatever game you toss up on the screen.
Perhaps even make these sandwiches.
A crispy roll. Bright pesto. Sweet roasted red peppers. Salty bacon. Creamy cheese. Meaty turkey. These party sandwiches have a little of everything and serve a crowd with minimal fuss. Better yet, the flavor is incredible.
- rolls to fill a 9x13-inch baking pan (I used 12 club rolls)
- ⅓ cup pesto
- ½ lb sliced deli oven roasted turkey breast
- 1 7-oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- ¼ lb sliced deli mozzarella
- 1 8-oz package bacon, prepared
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray.
- Slice open the rolls, and place the bottoms in tight rows in the prepared pan. You don't want there to be space between them.
- Spoon the pesto onto the rolls, dividing equally among the bottoms. Top with turkey slices, roasted red pepper bits, mozzarella cheese and bacon. Cover with the roll tops (Make sure they are in the same row pattern as the bottoms!)
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the sandwiches are hot and the cheese is melty. Use a sharp knife to slice between the rolls to separate the meat and cheese filling. Let cool slightly, and then serve.
- A slim spatula or a fork is handy for getting the first few sandwiches out.