I WANT TO LIVE WHERE THERE IS NO CELL SERVICE

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I had breakfast with my best friend a few of weeks ago. We manage to squeeze these rare events in when we can, and I had been rushing out the door to get there. As I was scrambling out of the car, I quickly realized I had forgotten my cell phone at home. What do you suppose my next response was? That’s right, sheer panic.

Now, my bestie, bless her beautiful soul, is normally a wee bit late. That being said my brain instantly thought things like, “What if she can’t make it and needs to let me know?” Despite the fact that we were literally in touch a mere hour before.

Wait, what about my husband? I always let him know I have arrived safe. Will he think something has happened? What if a client emails, I miss a business call, one of my children need me, there is a weather bulletin or the earth is going to end?  But I digress….

I ordered myself a tea as I awaited her arrival and began to feel my tension dissipate. My head swirled with the hypocrisy of it all if I am being honest. How had I become this person? The same disconnected and dependent person I counsel my own clients about. Alas, there I sat eating humble pie.

When my friend arrived, I giggled telling her my fretful story. She had a message from my husband who had noticed my phone left behind at home. All was well, the Earth was still round for one more day. We were able to enjoy each other’s company despite the fact I was not able to photograph my waffles. 🙂

Over these last two weeks, I have done some soul searching and paid close attention to how my body reacts to the constant pinging of my phone. I have observed people as well.

I can recall being a child and hearing that piercing ring of the telephone. Far before the days of answering machines, it would ring off the wall, as you would attempt to ignore it or unlock the door carrying groceries to answer it. Rarely was there ever a sense of urgency. If you were downstairs doing laundry, you would not stop what you were doing to race up those stairs to answer. If it were that important, they would call back. If you were in the bathroom, you most certainly did not cut the job short just to answer the phone. There was a respected written rule that people just did not call you during the dinner hour. If you were not in the mood to hear it ring, you just took it off the hook. 🙂

I personally do not know how many times my adult children have called me while in the bathroom. True story. It is no longer about making sure we have our phone with us when we leave the house, but we actually take it from room to room. It has given us a purpose or an outlet everywhere we go.

When is the last time you read a newspaper or a book while tending to your business on the toilet? I bet Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest gets a lot of traffic though. What about your bedtime routine? Years ago, it was dinner, evening news and a bit of late night television in the living room prior to hitting the sack. Some of us progressed from that to having televisions in our bedrooms. Now? We can fall into that vortex of Netflix for hours, all cozied up in bed so easily. Climb into bed at a decent hour, glance at the time (on our phone of course), blurry eyed and be horrified that it is now 2:00 am and we have a mere four hours before our alarm will sound.

I myself can admit to more binge watching than I would like. Hitting that next episode button while justifying how many hours of sleep I will get. Bam, progression to television in the palm of our hands just watching it on our phones.

These powerful devices are the first thing we reach for as our eyes open. The alarms are set to wake us, as we shut them off, we begin to check weather, check the news updates and scroll to see what our fellow humans are doing in their lives.

That I have no issue with. We live in a technologically advancing time. My issue is this. Do you feel an addiction to your phone? When you hear a notification, do you feel you have to look at it immediately? Will you stop a conversation you are having with someone to check it? Do you hear the ping and have the ability to ignore it? Does your mind begin to wonder who it is? My phone is smart enough to have unique sounds for each notification. Text messages ping! Snapchat pong! Email bing bing! Facebook beep! You get my drift. The incessant barrage of noise has taken a sensory overload on my brain and body. 

We, as adults are very quick to jump upon those soap boxes when discussing the children of today and how they are doomed because of the screen time they have grown up with. 

What do you suppose the outcome is going to be for all of us? The average adult checks their phone 47 times per day. 1 in 5 people have answered their phone DURING sex!!! The average person uses their phone for 171 minutes per day. 61% of people sleep with their phones and 75% reach for their phones when they wake up. Our brains are getting far less time see the world around us. Our eyes are spending fewer hours seeing natural light instead of artificial light. Our necks slumped over text. You get the picture.  This type of addiction can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety, stress, depression, and injury. It is not just the youth we should be focusing on. 

So, what is the answer? I have had to have a real honest conversation with myself. It is no secret to me, that I have an addictive personality.  If I taste something I like, I will eat it obsessively until I will never eat it again. From 2009-2011, Jumbo Freezies made up most of my diet. I also drank most weekends when I was only twelve years old. I am mindful of the balance.

Addictions come in all forms. My own personal addiction to my phone is having a negative impact on my life. For me, I am challenging myself to do better. I am so jealous of my oldest son who does not bat an eye at letting his phone battery die…..for five days at a time. “Mom, if someone needs to contact me that bad, they will find a way.” 

Despite the anxiety I feel when I think about missing an important call, he is right. We are not meant to be connected 24/7. We need time to disconnect and quiet our brains. While doing so we can truly connect with others, ourselves or nothing at all. 

What can you do? A good old fashion digital detox. Be mindful of the times you spend on your phone. Is it when you are bored? Get up and find something else to do. Turn your phone off. When I started this process, I could not remember the last time my phone had been turned OFF. I am committing myself to turning it all the way off for three hours a day. Baby steps. Turn your phone off or at least to do not disturb by a reasonable hour each night. Remember, if here is an emergency, you will be contacted. I have asked clients in the past to set their alarm, and then place their phone just outside their room. It takes the temptation away to continue scrolling social media, playing games or watching Netflix. 

I for one am taking more breaks from the constant need to be connected in my life. I am not asking all of you to do the same, just a consideration. 

Much Love ❤

Christine

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