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How Watching The Northern Lights Through My Phone Changed My Life

This weekend, a historic geomagnetic storm caused a once-in-a-lifetime display of the Aurora Borealis above Wisconsin. In all my years of journalism, I have never witnessed anything as beautiful as the purple and green rays of light swirling across my phone screen that night.

I remember the moment vividly. I’d been waiting my whole life to experience this miracle (through a lens). It was around midnight when I stumbled barefoot outside, iPhone 15 in hand, brightness turned to 100 percent. Goosebumps covered my body the instant I looked up at my phone and pressed record. In that millisecond, mesmerized at the flashes of color on my screen, I realized what life is all about: turning life’s greatest experiences into content in a fleeting attempt to get a dopamine hit from notifications on social media. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the screen.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not ashamed of my steadfast commitment to shrinking the world to the confines of a screen.

And Jesus Christ, what a dopamine rush it was. I transcended reality, imagining the dancing auroras bringing my online engagement up like nothing I’ve ever fucking seen before. My notifications tab lit up a brilliant array of pixels as soon as I hit post. Witnessing the Northern Lights (as captured through my iPhone’s long-exposure shots) brought me true enlightenment. I think I even got twice as many likes on that Instagram reel than my wedding day carousel post. I will never be the same.

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