My son rolled his eyes as he explained to me what “IRL” meant. “IRL” (in case you didn’t know) means: In Real Life. Funny how these days, “in real life” needs an acronym. I mean, when I grew up, everything was already “in real life” and did not need clarifying. There was no “cyber world.” We did not exist “virtually.” We existed “in real life.”
When he told me what those 3 letters stood for, I chuckled, but the weight of “IRL” felt heavy. The fact that there are such blurry lines between reality and false reality is unsettling. The fallout that is to come from a generation of minds that spend too much time in virtual reality will be VERY real.
Do you feel the same way?
My son loves video games. I wish he didn’t, but, like many of his friends and classmates, this is just a fact of life today. Recently, my husband and I dragged our reluctant kiddos out of the house and away from screens for a nice, long hike. Their complaints were expressed on the way to the trail, but once everybody stepped into the woods, those complaints turned into shrieks of joy and excitement. The kids came alive. Suddenly, as the result of UNPLUGGING, parts of their brains that had fallen asleep from staring at screens reawakened. The smells, sounds, sights, and “feels” were very much IRL….In Real Life. The feeling of the sun’s warmth; the moss on a log; and the smell of damp leaves created magic. Just like that, those beloved screens were forgotten.
How many rich IRL experiences do you have each day? I ask that question as I’m sitting at my desk, staring at this screen and typing this blog. Some days, I’m out training clients, helping others sort through their refrigerators, or meeting at a park for a nutrition consultation. Other days (like today), my work dictates that I’m online more than I’d like to be, or behind my computer creating and editing content. My body and brain usually tell me when enough is enough and I push pause on my “to-do” list, UNPLUG, and go for a walk.
How many of our minutes, hours, and days, are filled with in-person meetings, or dipping our toes in a stream, or having lunch outside on a bench? How often do we (literally) stop to smell the roses, or play with our pup in the backyard, or put our bare feet on the grass and listen to the birds? I’m not trying to sound like “Pollyanna” here, but I know that something elemental is missing from our lives today. I am extending a challenge to you and to me. UNPLUG. Put down your phone, step away from your computer for a little while today and see what surprises just might be waiting for you “IRL.” When you do, share! I would love to hear what you find!
In Real Life,