As easily as things come, so, too, can they go. Apparently, monogamy is not sustainable anymore, or people aren't willing to commit to the long haul. Nothing lasts forever, or at the very least, there is no guarantee. You'd think that with all the tragedies that are occurring throughout the world, we would feel reminded to hunker down and appreciate the people we love. I've been hearing of both relationships and marriages crumbling at the drop of a hat. Little slows us down anymore, or has the power to stop us in our tracks and be thankful for who we choose to love. If anything, we give more attention to those who are less important to us, because we have to work harder to control the outcomes of those relationships. It's like watering our neighbor's lawn when we should be watering our own. It's not smart, it's frustrating, at best, and damaging to the relationship that we are taking for granted.
I believe that people just have expectations that are too high, or that they aren't willing to commit to what matters anymore. Everything, and often times everyone, is replaceable. No, not our children, but our significant others seem to be. While in actuality that's not the case, it is how many people treat those that supposedly matter to them. In this hyper tech world, we are distracted by television, the internet, and our information-super-powered cell phones. Some phones even have apps that check us into places and log it in our facebook statuses. I don't need to know that you had dinner at Applebee's, or that you are at a Justin Bieber concert, but your phone still posts it. Somehow, we feel that we are so important that we have to report our every move to everyone we know. Narcissicm is being taken to a new level.
In contrast, we have become less communicative with the people that really matter. Those people seem to fall to the wayside because they get face time, even though that face time may consist of less conversation than we have with other people who may not matter as much. Our face to face conversations become less critical, the sharing of our experiences decline because the virtual world handles that for us all day, on demand. Emails and texts pass factual information, are quicker, and ask less questions. No need for sitting together, talking. While I yearn to have a conversation with someone without the constant interruption of a text alert, email alert, alarm, or phone call, it hasn't been possible. For many it's not about who matters the most, instead it's about who is more persistent (read annoying/pushy). That said, I am starting to understand how things decline as quickly as they seem to do.
There are people who commit to taking the time and making the effort to tend to their relationships. I've met those couples. They work hard to try and understand the needs of their partners, and do their best to support those needs. They are the couples who sit together at social gatherings, holding hands. They carve out time to be alone, and to make that alone time matter. They exist, but are few and far between.
My cell phone is always on when my son isn't with me. He is often at his dad's house, and I want to be reachable in case of an emergency. I can say with pride, however, that my cell phone rarely rings otherwise. I get an occasional text here and there, but on the average, I'd say my cell phone is fairly quiet. I don't get a gong sound every time I get an email. I only get alerts for texts, and phone calls.
Thinking back, I remember spending entire nights with friends, talking and listening to music. On warm summer nights, we'd sit on the roof of a car, or a house (yes, a house), and talk. Dates went the same way. Just the two of us. There was no one else. No one texting a reminder, or sending over an email. No one calling, unless it was an emergency, and those emergency calls came in on a house line. We were with whoever was in the room, and no one else. Those days have passed. Whoever beeps in a text, an email, or a phone call, becomes the most important person at that moment. Our minds immediately go to that person, like it or not. It really ruins everything. I miss the days of landlines, and answering machines with tapes that rewind. I miss giving out the number that I will be at, in case of an emergency. I miss being able to have an entire night alone with just one person, without the blasted cell phone making some sort of noise to interrupt us. Progress isn't always progress, after all.
Tiffany Palisi is a freelance writer and the author of the book, "Mama's World: Essays From the Inside Out." She has interviewed actresses, designers, and entertainers; her favorites include Cynthia Rowley, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, and children's singer Dan Zanes. She is a contributing writer for Mountain Lakes Living magazine. Palisi lives with her family in New Jersey.