Hello World, Goodbye Phone

    I recently went through a break up… with my cellphone.  It had come to my attention that I was far too attached to the 4 1/2 by 2 inch box that I carry around with me.  I spent a great deal of time staring at that screen, unaware of the things happening around me.  It was an addiction, and it needed to stop.
    That last paragraph was written entirely in past tense, I ought to rephrase.  This is still a struggle in my life.  My relationship with my cellphone is one that needs to be addressed daily.
    For a while I struggled with how to make changes in this relationship.  You see, it would have been silly to say I won’t send texts to my friends at all anymore.  It would have been unnecessary to completely rid my life of all forms of social media.  It would have been impractical for me to forbid myself to use the internet on my phone to look up the original cast of Newsies to prove to my guy friends that Batman is also Jack Kelly (deep conversations, always).  It was all very frustrating.  What was I to do?
    We must step back and ask ourselves why we seek change, before we act in pursuit of that change.  So, why do I want to reign in the amount of time spent on my cell phone?  Because I see that there is greater value in being in the moment, than being connected and unaware of the people around me.  

Practically, what does this look like?  Here are a few ways we can redefine our relationships with our cellphones.  
  • Embrace the awkward.  I’ve found that, when I am feeling socially awkward, I usually pick up my phone in order to give myself something to do.  It’s a security blanket.  Instead we should observe the room, smile at strangers, be friendly.  Don’t let your phone be your security blanket, you’re too old for that.
  • Log out.  Logging out provides me with one more conscious step to do before I log into my accounts.  It removes the option of mindlessly checking my feed.  
  • Set time limits on social media use.  You might allow yourself one hour per day to check social media, either at one point in time, or throughout the day.  You could pick one or two times a day to check social media - try to decrease that number as you go. 
  • Realize that you don’t always have to answer right away.  There are a few people in my contacts that I answer right away (mostly family), but most other texts can wait.  Have discernment and answer urgent messages, of course, but otherwise take a chill pill.  ;)
  • Take a break.  Some days I am all too consumed by social media and I’ve found it’s is often necessary to take a week (or two weeks, one month) long break.  It’s refreshing, try it sometime.

    Let’s be a society that is engaged in the world around us.  We cannot impact the world if we don’t know what’s going on.  Look up, friends!

    I would love to hear about the ways you’re attempting to disconnect and be in-the-moment.  What have you seen when you look up?

Dear iPhone, I'm sorry, but we are never ever getting back together.

Mary Grace