I Cannot be Available to Everyone, Every Minute of Every Day, and it’s OK 

Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley
People expect our constant availability – phone, text, social media and email. Technology has birthed a culture grounded in a constant stream of endless obligatory chatter.

What happens when you seek quiet instead of IG, FB and Twitter feeds? Or if you decide you’re not interested in following the “behind- the-scenes look” at someone else’s life on Snapchat. You simply want to stand in your present moment, phone on the charger, or off all together for a while. Can we just be, y’all? Geez!

Apparently, this whole revolutionary non-available concept is irritating to some people. Last week I found myself in a back-and-forth exchange via Facebook which started because a new friend called me, and I didn’t answer the phone.

My momentary inaccessibility became interrupted as rude and callous, instead of an opportunity for them to pause and see it from another angle – maybe, just maybe, I was unavailable for numerous reasons. Nai and I were actually playing together in the backyard, bathing our cocoa brown skin in the emerging summer sunlight, lying in newly planted grass, our laughter overflowing, making a mundane weekday joyful.

I’m not a fan of distracted-parenting so I rarely engage in long convos with friends when homeschooling, reading or just hanging with our little Nai. Our moments together are precious.

The whole incident is causing me to reflect quite a bit on this rapid  “communication” evolution, and the impact it’s having on our personalities and ways of being with one another. Impatience is the new normal. And for far too many of us, instant gratification also means instant access to people. If we cannot have it,  we pout like toddlers insisting on their favorite snacks instead of dinner.

The concept of boundaries is somehow foreign to us, especially younger generations who have never known a world where you do not have multiple ways of reaching someone, any time of the day or night.

I am dating myself here, y’all, but I actually remember, as a kid, when very few people carried cell phones. If you weren’t home, you weren’t available. Folks connected with each other when it worked for both of them. You didn’t feel pressure to talk, and reply to incessant text messages and social media updates.

The act of cultivating genuine friendships is quickly being replaced with a vapid practice of familiarizing ourselves with people’s lives (an edited version of course) via social media, calling them friends, and then basing their value upon how often they comment, like or share our own thoughts. This isn’t friendship, it’s forced interaction and brazen selfishness.

I don’t know about you, but I am done with feeling bound by other people’s expectations of me, their pseudo ideas of friendship. If I don’t have another IG heart, or like on a post, I will survive. My soul is yearning for so much more these days, you know authentic and lasting connections based on understanding and love, not the thorny entanglement of ego. Our time is far too fleeting and miraculous to be squandered.

Talk to Me: 

Do you feel guilty if you’re not able to connect with someone right away? Why do you think so? How can you move beyond those feelings? 

Emelda De Coteau
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8 Replies to “I Cannot be Available to Everyone, Every Minute of Every Day, and it’s OK ”

    1. Yasss!!! Boundaries are key. And I think it’s easy for many of us to fall into this trap (given modern technology and all). I feel like we need a consistent emphasis on honoring mindfulness. Thank you so much for swinging by and reading + commenting! Appreciate you, sis! 🙂

  1. I just read this beautiful piece and I am like…well,isn’t this the absolute truth? Nowadays,many important things in life have been overlooked due to the constant communication on social and still it’s hard to find genuine love even with the seemingly endless talks.Many people still don’t even honour God’s time because of thisI pray that God will redeem all of us as a human race.Blessings!

    1. Amen!! I love what you say about how this even gets in the way of honoring God! We have to constantly remember why we are here; and it’s a much larger purpose! Thank you so much for reading, love!! Appreciate you!!

  2. Girl, I loved this post and I smiled when you talked about a time when few folks had a cell phone. I remember tying up the home telephone in high school whenever I talked to a friend. I remember us having a rotary phone too. Sometimes, I really miss those times, because people actually called each other more and had more patience with each other. Now, we live in such a microwave world in which folks expect you to immediately text them back or respond to their social media message. I have been guilty of that mindset, and I have put pressure on myself to immediately text someone when I was busy. Like you said, it’s really good and beneficial to take a break from our phones and just breathe.

    1. Thank you so much for reading!! 🙂 Ha!! Yes! I miss those times, too. Convenience sometimes means two steps forward and two steps back simultaneously. Ironic, huh? And you’re right, it is a microwave world. It’s so important to check ourselves when we fall into these traps as well. I’ve done it, too. None of us are immune. But I believe the critical piece is mindfulness and knowing when your soul needs a rest!

  3. This. I SO totally agree!! I admit I get caught up in my phone sometimes and I regret not putting it down….we can’t answer to everyone and boundaries are key! Joy is not found on social media or our email but in everyday life I remember the days of no cell phones too and I sometimes wish for them back…

    1. Yes!!! Me too! This incident was such an important reminder for me about the power of being present. And I do miss those days as well. I think many of us were more intentional about our communication back then. We can still be this way now it just requires a good bit of mindfulness.

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