My iPhone is Ruining My Life

This morning at 4:48, I woke up feeling restless.  I was a bit hot, hearing “lovely Rita, meter-maid” over and over (beginning to hate that song) and my brain just wouldn’t calm down.  I tried singing some lines from a very soothing song; “you can fall asleep by being very still.  You can close your eyes and slow yourself and when you think your thoughts, be sure that they are sweet ones…” but I couldn’t think sweet thoughts.  I got up, went to the bathroom and there I found myself googling on my iPhone, “My iPhone is Ruining My Life”  I did. I googled that exact phrase.  I’m not one to pass the blame on to something or someone for whatever troubles I might be facing.  I’ll be the first to take the blame for most of what goes wrong in my life.  I have a full sense of awareness of my bad decisions and how they tend to affect myself and others.  So I will admit that it’s not the iPhone per se, but my addiction to it, that has left me feeling lonely, bored, and not creative anymore.  Oh, and sucking socially.

I think the iPhone is a wonderful device, and thank goodness it was around to help me level a picture I hung the other day, and yes, it takes great insta-photos of my daughter and my sandwiches and the cat sitting in a cardboard box.  But I think my feelings on its merits are best summed up in a great chart I found while googling the iPhone’s destruction of my life this morning.

 

I stared at that purple section of the pie.  What could I be doing with that purple chunk of valuable time instead of playing word games, checking Facebook 500 times an hour, my email 200 times an hour, Instagram 100 times an hour, etc?  I am not going to lie to myself and pretend that I used to be a fabulous writer.  I was never one to keep a regular journal, even before the invention of The Seemingly Necessary Time Waster, but I DID do probably a half dozen fun, creative things a week and I wrote at least once a week.  That’s better than once in 6 months.  I sent care packages to my friends, I had UNINTERRUPTED conversation with those friends.  I feel proud that for the most part, my coffee dates with friends are still phone-free.  But what about my dinners with my family?  iPhone is there.  Sometimes it’s a reference tool, and great – I am glad that I can look up what ridiculous thing someone said on Facebook so that I can gossip about it with Matt.  But what about Olive?  What are her little eyes already getting used to seeing?  Mom’s face, illuminated by a tiny screen and looking slack-jawed and spaced out while checking in to see what someone less important is doing with their time.

I want my life back.  My old life.  I want to have the opportunity to follow through on my creative impulses, again.  I can’t count how many times I think of something fun to do and then find that I’ve wasted 30 minutes to an hour staring at my phone, and then my opportunity is lost. How many times have I started reading a book, only to have the irresistible urge to check my phone and end up foregoing my book to see what crafts or recipes someone else ISN’T doing on Pinterest?

I’m not going to say “I’m finished” and chunk that valuable piece of metal and plastic out the door.  But I will say that games I’m playing will be dramatically decreased.  So if I don’t play with you, guess what?  I still really like you.  I’d just rather spend those 5 minutes not staring at my phone.  Where I can cut back, I’m going to.  How to cut the addiction of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, though?  Other than Instagram, those things are on the “regular computer” as I’ve gotten in the stupid habit of saying.  I’m going to make a cyber-space vow that my phone will be on the charger during meal times/coffee dates/walks around the block, far away from the impulse to grab, swipe, check and then fade away from reality.  I want to participate more in my own life.  I want to breathe in the air and feel a pen and paper in my hand again, and more than anything, I just want to not be addicted anymore.  And I want for Olive to see my face illuminated  by the sun,  her sweet smile, or by something snarky her dad just said. It might be a little lonely as every other person in the world has the same addiction.  But I can at least be the change I want to see, right?  Right.

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6 Comments

Filed under General Hoo-Ha

6 responses to “My iPhone is Ruining My Life

  1. libby

    Love you sweet friend:) I hear ya-we could have bonded this morning, I was up also and playing on my phone….it really is a time suck, let’s try to do better shall we?

  2. Peggy Palmer

    So proud of you:). You put it so perfectly, it does do all those things to me too. Love to read your words. You know how to convey things with lovely writing. I am going to do make some changes too. Thank you.

  3. Mom

    Alisa, this is great and I’m so happy you thoroughly considered what the use of technology is stealing from you. Great marketing of these items is effective and addiction is the outcome that is sought by the marketers. Television is the idol that stole life from us when we were young parents. Your dad still cannot be in our house without a remote control in his hand. Before he says “good morning” each day, he has to turn the Today Show on. It is a very brave and insightful person who can realize what is happening and do something to turn it around. I hope you will be persistent, because only a few hours will pass before you are tempted again. This is basically why I don’t want a phone that will do anything besides receive and send calls. I hate texting now, because I find myself texting you something that would be a whole lot more fun to say while also hearing your voice on the other end of the line. Your blog inspires all of us, but let’s do more about it than just be inspired.

  4. ava

    So im just now finding this article from being bored doing homework assignments and wow, nice to know someone feels the same way i do. we are the minority. I pray that you’ve broken your addiction right now. or at least gotten a little better. Sometimes i hide my own phone from myself. Sick right, yea i know. Well great great great blog. Funny and everything. and i read this on the computer which makes me feel a little better.

  5. Amz

    Hello,

    Just came across this article as I typed the same thing into google. I am 25 and living in London but right now I dont feel like I am living at all. All my days are clouded by the incessant need to “grab, swipe and check and fade from reality”. Instagram & facebook mainly – and they are ruining my mind! Its starting to feel physical now – I feel disgusted at myself but I cant pull away. And then I look up and everyone else is hunched over doing the same thing! My partner noticed a while ago and really has a problem with it. I brushed him off. But now I realise how addicted I am. I know you posted this in November last year. Dont know if you will get this message – but I would love to know how you are now with your phone. Did you put it down? I am thinking of dropping it alltogether and getting a nice simple brick nokia.

    All the best

    • Hello, there! My iphone is still a challenge for me, but I’ve done well with a few rules. 1, I have made it a point to keep it away at mealtimes. 2, I try my best, since I’m a stay at home mom and photographer, to keep my phone just a phone and on the charger with the ringer on to just answer texts and phone calls. It’s a challenge because I have a few friends who like to text a LOT and so that gets the phone back into my hands a little too often. I think no matter what it is, if you are prone to distraction and lack of discipline, you will let any medium be a temptation. Before it was phones, it was email, before email, it was tv, before tv it was newspapers or radio or books. I think removing the tool is part of the battle but the other part of the battle is getting your mind used to longer forms of entertainment and engagement once again. Smart phones get us so used to instantaneous gratification that it is a necessary discipline to work on gaining back our ability to wait, again. Whatever you do, don’t decide to do nothing. Any little step is a good one. Try mealtime phone-off rules first. It’s an easy 2-3 hours a day you could not have the blasted thing lighting up the room. :) Good luck and thank you for your honesty!

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