I read a quote “write down the top 10 happiest moments of your life. They will all involve people, and none will involve wifi.”

It made me think about what my moments would be, and it lead to some reflection time. In the vet profession, do we need to start looking up at what is going on around us, and less at our phones?

If I had to write down the top 10 happiest moments of my life, they would be as follows:

1.Picking up my dog as a puppy.

2.Graduation (x 2, ok, cheating I know)

3.Meeting my partner

4.Holidays in Wales with my family

5.Sea fishing off the coast of Lembongan, Bali.

6.Skydiving over NASA

7.My surprise 30th birthday party

8.Christmas with my whole family

9.Watching the SpaceX shuttle launch

10.When I realised who I really am

Eight of these moments were within the last three years, and indeed, none of them included a wifi connection. I think I would go as far as to say, I don’t think I even had my mobile phone with me for most of them. I attribute the timescale of these, namely to the fact that I had a sudden shift in consciousness four years ago, when I learned that not everything that my subconscious tries to persuade me is true. I realised that the negative voice in my head was not me, but a preprogramming that I did not choose. I look back and wonder how many truly brilliant moments that I missed, because that voice had me replaying past cases, worried about the future, or consumed by client reviews.

This distinct irony hit me again whilst on holiday in Ibiza last September. We were sat on a beautiful cliff, on a small peninsula. The white isle is famed for its amazing sunsets, which is a particularly magical part of the day, and we were excited to witness the natural beauty for ourselves. Drink in hand, we talked about how lucky we were, and what a great time we had. We watched a boat coast across the sea in the distance, wondering who might be on there and joking about owning a yacht. The wind was gentle, but warm and you could faintly hear music from the restaurant further up the hillside. The sky was a beautiful, deep red and the clouds were unlighted by the slowly disappearing sun.

There were several other people around us, all on their mobile phones. Zoned out. Groups of people, silent, just face down towards their screen. Others were posing for photos, repositioning their outfits and repeating until the perfect shot was captured. They sat back down, back to their device and not even lifting their heads. Others got their photo and left. Everyone was capturing the moment, but not in their mind. Gary Vaynerchuk says people strive to get things to impress people they don’t even like. This was one step further, people were striving to get the perfect shot to impress people they don’t even like – but missing the moment in exchange.

Look up, don’t miss the moment.

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