Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: October 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just Say No to the Phone

A few weeks ago there was a needle that broke the camel's back. I had been thinking I was becoming  addicted to checking Facebook or looking to see if anyone had sent me a text message, but one final phone call induced me to leave my phone off and in my desk drawer. I have been far happier since.

Have you been sitting at a table with friends who all have their phones out sending texts or checking their Facebook accounts? You might have even been one of those people yourself. I have been in that position many times and I can tell you from personal experience, it makes me feel unimportant to them, that whatever random think being posted on Facebook or whatever texts sent, are more important to them than the person sitting right across the table. We spend more time looking at screens than at faces. It feels like we have traded gold, our relationships with each other, for a cheap imitation, silly updates we can always check later instead of invested time with another soul.

For myself, I realized I live on an edge, subconsciously wondering if anyone sent me something on Facebook or  wondering when the phone is going to ring. I also realized how much time I waste on Facebook checking updates when I could be doing something far healthier for myself such as writing, reading or designing a book, or taking care of household chores. I also realized this is not the kind of life I want.

Ever since I started leaving my phone at home a lot of the time, I have noticed how many people walk around looking at their phones or who neglect to turn their phones off during a meeting. We let technology overtake our waking lives before stopping to think if we wanted it to.

Ask yourself, are there really that many phone calls coming through you would need to take right away? If you are truly honest with yourself, the answer would be no. Think back to what we did before cell phones, before Facebook, before text messages. We called our friends to see how they were, we wrote out our maps, we planned more time together, we even wrote letters. When is the last time you wrote someone a letter and mailed it? When is the last time you went out with someone and turned your phone completely off or better yet, left it at home? We miss so much when our attention is divided. What is going on around you is more important than what is possibly going on online.

Leaving my phone at home in my desk is still a struggle sometimes and sometimes I do need to take my phone with me. But I'm working on not picking it up so often, remembering to pay attention to the world immediately around me, and not being so attuned to Facebook. I'm learning to just say no to the phone.