I’ve seen a commercial recently that has a guy playing a baseball video game, alone, in his nice urban living room. The narrator begins to talk about how when you used to play video games it meant sitting in your mom’s basement for hours, missing out on friends gatherings, but now you don’t have to choose. The guy then gets up, the game is now on his handheld device, and he is walking outside. The tag line is, “You never have to choose again.”
Recently, there has been a lot of critiquing about people who, because of the mobility of devices, the availability of wifi, and data plans, seem glued to screens. The common critique is that they are missing the life right around them, are losing the ability to be present in a situation, and to have actual relationships. While I agree with some of what critics are saying, a new thought occurred to me as I watched this commercial.
If hoarders are suffocated by their inability to choose to throw things away, then what about people who can’t stop doing. I would say its more than just playing video games while walking down the street. I’m talking about people who are loaded by the number of online and offline activities that they have said yes to.
In our striving to be both pleasing and to never let an opportunity go by, perhaps yes has lost its true power, its true value. Its a word meant to affirm approval (of my time, my thoughts, my actions). Not something done to placate someone. When we are talking about your time, your attention, your energy, what are you saying yes to? What are you allowing to take your time? What are you making time for?
Its like the common argument about the phrase “I love you.” If you say, “I love Justin Beiber,” “I love chocolate,” “I love you.” What is the true value of love? (A favorite musician AGAPE talks about this at every concert/worship service.)
I recently tried to stop saying, “I just didn’t have time.” I instead replaced the phrase with “I didn’t make time.” In reality its the truth. Everyone has the same amount of time, it is our responsibility to choose what we do with that time. We will always have to choose. If we just say yes to everything and don’t de-select the things that no longer fulfill us, we end up with a hoarded life. A life that has become cluttered with things we used to do, but can’t see giving up because we have been doing it for so long. We can’t imagine our time without that activity, but in reality we wish we didn’t have to spend more time there. Remember, when a hoarder can’t give something up, it is because they can’t let go. They are paralyzed by the inability to choose, by their inability to imagine a life without that item.
So when a marketing company tries to tell me that I don’t have to choose, that I can do everything. I tell just shake my head because I am glad to choose to just walk, just enjoy the birds, and just enjoy the fresh air without wondering if I should move my outfielders in for the next batter.