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.