This video was such an eye opener for me. I am so bad for clutching onto my phone for fear of missing a message or a notification. I scroll through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more times a day than I can count. I have full conversations with friends through texts, when, with just a little effort I could be spending time with them and physically laughing out loud. I am always so anxious to share my pictures online rather than absorb the moment that I'm in. I put conversations on hold as I'm filtering, sharing and checking back for 'likes' as if it really matters that people know what I'm doing or where I am at. As if it really matters if they approve. My phone has found a place on my counter as I cook, near the table as we eat, and on my nightstand as I sleep.
I'm going to challenge myself to be less present in the social media world and more present in the real world. I have way too many books to read, too many places to be, too many things to see, and so many people in my life who deserve my undivided attention.
Yesterday I took a step in the right direction by putting my phone where I couldn't see or hear it as soon as I walked in the door. I was home with my husband and didn't need to be a part of the group texts or watch the snap chats that were blowing up my phone. I wasn't expecting it to be so extremely difficult to cut myself off from the friends who were trying to connect with me; for just those few hours between coming home from work and going to bed, I felt as though I was missing something. Maybe I'll just look at my phone real quick... I wonder what the girls are doing... What if something is wrong? This feeling only confirmed that I am way too dependant on that little device and I desperately need to get a grip, because surely, if there was anything wrong I wouldn't be informed by a snap chat.
I took it a step further today. I deleted the social media apps from my iPhone because I don't need to check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram a hundred times throughout my work day, while I'm driving in the car with G, or when I'm meeting friends to hang out. I even asked G to do the same so I couldn't so easily get my fix using his phone, and I have yet to reply to the thirty-seven text messages I received last night. Thirty-seven messages and get this, not one of them was urgent or pertinent to my well-being.
I can't deny that I truly love how social media is a window into my life and the lives of friends and family near and far. It's connected me with people I'd never connect with otherwise, and it allows me to keep family and friends in the know. I can't deny that I truly love the random text messages I get from my husband throughout the day or the fact that just a few texts amongst friends can plan a date in less than five minutes. And yes, I'll admit to getting a certain thrill out of sharing a photo of an impressive meal I've created... But there needs to be balance, everything in moderation, right?
Going forward, taking baby steps, I'll keep my apps installed on my tablet only. This is limiting me to only having access in the evenings when I'm home in my WiFi zone. Hopefully, even then I won't feel the need to check in so often. As for my Blog, being that it's never consumed my time or energy to the point of neglecting anyone else, and being that it's my escape from routine, a therapeutic outlet to express myself and a tool that's helped me grow as a person, I don't feel it's something I need to part with. However, like everything else, I will sign in when I'm not taking time away from something or someone important. I'll find a place to set my phone when I'm home to relax, and I'll find other ways to cure boredom when I'm sitting in a waiting room or trying to fall asleep. I'll keep my phone in my purse on outings, and although I will still snap a few pictures, the new me won't make sharing those photos an immediate priority.
Ultimately, I don't want to be a dumb person using a smart phone. I want to learn, explore and grow as a person from experience. I want to connect with people and be present, and I want the same for my future children. I don't want them to miss out on opportunities to meet new people, experience something new or witness something special. I don't want to read the fifty ways to achieve happiness when I can figure it out myself.
All I have to do is look up.
All I have to do is look up.