My phone runs my life.
Seriously. It owns me. I spend entirely too much of my day wasting it as I look at a freaking screen.
Anyone else out there who's troubled by the current trend of our society to disengage and retreat into our technology? It seems we need to be entertained all. the. time. or connected all. the. time.
But, oddly enough, not connected to the actual humans in our presence. Connected to the ones on our screens.
I'm preaching to the choir on this one, of course, not just ranting about what everyone else is doing. Guilty as charged. Fingers pointed back at me. Throwing stones in a glass house.
I lose track of friends and family simply because they don't show up on my FaceBook or Instagram feed. I ignore the kids who are in the room with me because I'm reading some (usually useless) crap on my phone. I can't be troubled with boredom for 25 seconds at the red light -- I pass the time by checking my (stupid) phone while I sit there idling.
I am frustrated with myself in this area, so I'm trying to fight back.
Mere seconds ago, I set my Disney Circle to limit my time on social media and the time I am able to spend on my phone. I'm going to discipline myself not to open it while I wait in lines and at red lights. In a waiting room, I'll read the book I brought with me, or I'll play peek-a-boo with that cute baby nearby. I'm going to leave it in a room with a closed door while it charges so that I don't have it quite so accessible all the time.
Because I'll be damned if I'm going to let my life be run by a metal box with tiny wires and computer chips inside.
But that's not all: I've decided to use my phone to actually stay connected with other people. Just this week, I called my neighbor. I've passed her house a thousand times and thought, "I need to call her and catch up." Every single time, something popped up and distracted me. The other day, I decided that enough was enough and I stopped procrastinating. I sat down and called.
You heard that right: I dialed a number, hit "call," and spoke to a real, live HUMAN with my PHONE. What total insanity! Using a phone to TALK to someone! :)
Which led to my new self-discipline. When someone pops into my mind, I am going to text them and tell them so.
Don't bust my chops for a text instead of a call: I am the mother of 6, wife of 1, with a side business and a part-time job and more chaos in my life than I can even describe, so I can't always call everyone who pops into my mind. But I can at least let them know that someone was thinking of them, caring about them, giving a flip about what's going on in their world.
And let me be real here for a moment: In my own, personal, me-focused, self-centered world, that's saying something. Because a lot of my time is spent thinking about one person: ME. (Cue Toby Keith song: "I want to talk about ME. Want to talk about I. Want to talk about #1, oh my me my. What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see!)
But also don't bust my chops for a text instead of a call because: baby steps. I didn't become this tech-focused overnight. So I don't think I can push it all back overnight either. Rome wasn't built in a day, People.
My aforementioned chat with my neighbor was simply lovely. She's lovely. But she lives within 100 feet of my house and I haven't spoken verbally to her in weeks. How totally weird is that? Uncool. Not okay. Unacceptable.
Not only that, but I'm missing out on the enjoyment of personal relationships and interactions because the things that were supposed to make us more connected -- phones, technology, the Internet -- have done just the opposite in many ways.
So I vote for a reset, People. Let's opt to fight against the technology-induced hermit inside all of us.
Let's set the bar higher for ourselves in this area.
Let's be people who look other people in the eye without the urge to check our (blankety-blank) phones during the conversation. Because they are important. Let's show them as much through our undivided attention. (Unless you're holding a toddler. In which case, all bets on undivided attention are off!)
Let's silence our phone when we have coffee with a friend. It -- whatever "it" is -- can wait for a freaking hour. Consider this: what if our undistracted focus on our friend's face will help us detect that something is off inside her -- and that she needs a listening ear and a caring friend to help shoulder the load she's carrying? What if we miss detecting it because we were glancing at our phone the whole time?
Let's be people who set limits on ourselves for screen time, just like we set limits on our kids.
Let's be people who take technology breaks and walk away from our phones and pads.
Let's do something, go somewhere, participate in an activity -- WITHOUT worrying about getting the perfect selfie or spending 30 minutes crafting a great FB post.
Let's read books and magazines with paper pages.
Let's play games that have boards and pieces.
Let's take walks instead of watching TV.
Let's eat dinner at a restaurant and hand our kids some crayons instead of our phones.
Let's wander the aisles of the grocery store with a bag of gold fish, making silly faces, having a conversation with our small humans. (Or with a Coke and our tall, teenage humans, discussing life, boys, school drama, or the upcoming stressful week.)
Let's turn the tide on this technology craze and re-engage with living, breathing people who we can see and touch in our own space bubbles.
As for me, I'm going to make some adjustments. Implement some changes. Alter my course.
Because: You don't freaking own me, iPhone.
SIDE NOTE: Please know my heart on this topic, and be assured that I'm not judging anyone. Please don't get offended. I am not calling anyone out or thinking of anyone specifically. This was written because of my own personal issues with this subject and because of what I see as a slippery slope with regard to family/relational connectedness in my own life. I write about what I know. And THIS I know firsthand.