Well friends, tis true…my cell phone did die; however before any of you rush out and buy me a new one, I should point out that this happened in December and I have since replaced the ol’ girl. Thus the story begins…
If you’re anything like me you suffer from a terrible case of the “dropsies” when it comes to the safe handling of your device. On any given day my phone will fall several times (well, not my new one with the blinged out 24K gold case…yeah I’m cool like that…tbh…totally scored it on sale…but still…its genuine folks…stepping up in the world apparently) ANYWAYS….where was I? Oh, right…dropsies. So, unfortunately, (or perhaps it was fortunately? I’ll let you decide later) on this particular occasion in which my phone fell…it was only wearing it’s birthday suit…and when it hit the ground…it hit it hard…it’s poor little face was smashed to smithereens.
Was it coincidence that the day it fell was Christmas Eve – Eve (on a Friday of course) and that any shipping would have – not only the regular wait of the weekend – but an additional two days to make up for the fact that Boxing Day was on the Monday and Christmas (which occurred on the weekend) would be observed by businesses on the Tuesday? I think not. Was it also co-incidence that when my warranty replacement arrived on the Thursday I would discover that it also had issues and would need to be sent back immediately if I wanted a refund so that I could end my contract and begin a new one? I think not – again. So if we factor in New Years….that left me without a phone for the entire duration of Christmas Eve – Eve (I’m making it a thing now if it isn’t already), right through to New Year’s Day….and more than halfway into the first week of January….so in total: 12.5 days without a phone…unheard of in today’s day and age…but quite ridiculous to make a big deal of only 10 short years ago (might be aging myself now…I care not…30’s are the new 20’s as far as I’m concerned…spread the word.)
Anyways, so here’s the power punch…what I learned from my time in the dark ages so to speak: after almost two weeks without access to a phone and very little access to Facebook (computer’s just aren’t as portable) I realized this:
I didn’t miss much.
I know you’re probably looking at me like I have two heads right about now…but it’s 100% true…and this is coming from a girl who carried her phone in her back pocket and checked it regularly…E-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest…you name it…I checked it (except Snapchat…I just don’t get it….and likely by the time I did..that ship would have sailed). Now I will admit that the first few days I experienced withdrawal symptoms, but thank the Lord, I had the busyness of Christmas to keep me preoccupied. However, as the days passed I began to discover that I had a new-found freedom from my constant addiction…I could come and go as I pleased without the pressure of immediately responding to texts, e-mails, or Facebook comments, likes, tags, and messages…after all I had a wonderful excuse with no phone…I could go to bed on time, without the distraction of a phone by my bedside table, and begin my day without checking what I may have missed during those precious few hours of sleep…I began to look up and discover little things that I would’ve been missing had my phone been present.
I discovered that while I had been so busy trying to “keep up” with my social media life…I had been missing out on real life…with the real people who were closest and most important to me…not in huge obvious ways…but in the little things; the cues and clues that we take for granted in daily life.
Sound too good to be true? T’wasn’t. But here’s the thing: I knew that my day’s were numbered with this new-found love affair and that when the shiny new device arrived, the lure back into that crazy world would be waiting to pounce on me like a Cheetah would her prey (picture that…it would be exactly like that). So what did I do about it? Well, I made some very key decisions there and then; simple and small, but key to keeping this change. For starters, I decided to purge my personal Instagram account (as that was what could devour most of my time)…I asked myself why I was following so many people whom I only knew of from a distance…musicians, actors, artists…and if the only reason was because I was curious about their personalities and lives…than I deemed that as inadequate and unnecessary time baggage for my screen life…and gave them the axe. I also changed the amount of notifications I received from various groups and pages on Facebook, and when my new phone did arrive, I chose to keep apps with several notifications (you know – that little number bubble that pops up in the corner to say how many actions have happened since you last checked) off of my home screens so that the temptation was at bay. I limited my amount of downloaded games, and lastly decided to keep my phone on the counter rather than in my pockets when at home. In addition to changes involving the amount of time on my phone, I also decided that instead of always reaching for my phone to entertain me…this year I wanted to begin a new habit of reaching for a book…not a Kobo (which I don’t actually own), or any other electronic device…but a real book with real pages. I also decided to return to an art form that had been pushed to the back burner…keeping a journal…not to write in every day so it becomes just another chore…but a place where I can find inspiration leap off of my pen and onto the pages at will…and I decided to dig out my beloved coloring book and use that as another way to find creative inspiration.
It’s been about three weeks now since I’ve re-entered the world of cell phones and I’m happy to say that the boundaries I have set in place are definitely helping…although the temptation is still there to keep scrolling until I’ve caught up on everything that happened since I last checked my phone…I’m way more mindful of how easy it is to get sucked back into that place where it becomes an addiction…and when I begin feeling that pull I know it’s time to just put the phone down. And hey! I’ve even had more enlightenment since returning to phone land….brace yourself because this may hit home…but Pinterest…that page we all know and love to get “inspiration” from…well…I realized that unless I’m purposefully looking for something on there, it actually does the opposite of inspire me…it entertains, and gift wraps the ideas and inspiration so that instead of looking at the real world for relevant, genuine inspiration, I’m only regurgitating the inspiration of another. Now that’s not to say that I’ve eliminated it completely from my life…but it’s definitely no longer my main source of inspiration.Less screen time = heightened awareness, leading to meaningful connection & genuine inspiration. Click To Tweet
Maybe you’re not quite ready to turn back the dial on your screen time…but I’d like to challenge you to put at least one limitation in place…for a week…and see what you discover about yourself, and those around you in that time. You may discover that you like it. While technology is a wonderful thing, it’s important to remember that as it continues to advance and we continue to keep up…the real world moves at an even faster pace and if we don’t look up soon…we’ll miss it….and I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather miss the screen world than the real world.
PS: I’d love to hear some feedback about your similar experiences! And if you take me up on my offer, please check back in and share with me how it went!