Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unplugged

In recent days, I've taken to noticing one very prominent thing about myself that I'm not entirely pleased with. What is it, you ask?
I have been self-diagnosed with 
cell-phone-glued-to-my-hand syndrome.
It's touch and go. 

This came up in conversation Easter weekend when we were visiting family a few hours away. We had traveled 4 hours with an almost-5-month-old and what do we do when we settle in to have a few beers and talk with each other? Surf the web on our phones.

Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, E-mail, Texts; you name it, I was checking it. 

The grand question I've been asking myself lately is 
why

What could possibly be happening in someone else's life they're willingly reporting to the internet that couldn't be ignored at that moment? What e-mail can't wait 24 hours when I'll be bored in the car and have time to kill?

As my daughter gets older, it becomes more and more clear that I put way too much stock into that tiny electronic device. I use it as a crutch. Awkward conversation that I don't want to take part in? Get out my phone. One SECOND of silence? Oop, better check Facebook to see what everyone's up to. 

It's become a very sad addiction and one that I want to rid myself of, if only for the sake of my sanity. Last night Matt and I had a fancy night out at Red Lobster [we like to live life on the edge] and every time the waitress came by, one or both of us had our phones out. I was embarrassed. We couldn't just talk to each other. God forbid. Granted, most of the conversation we were having revolved around pictures of airplanes my husband wanted to show me, but still. 
Then when we got Addi to bed and sat down to have an adult conversation while White Collar played in the background, all I could do was check my social media outlets to see what I had missed in the last hour. 

It's very easy to sit around doing nothing while life passes you by. The last 5 months of my daughter's life have flown by. I don't want the next 18 years to pass and say to myself, "geez, I wish I would've just put the phone down and enjoyed every second." I know it's silly that I've grown attached to such an inanimate object, but I know I'm not the only one. My husband is just as bad of an offender. As are several people I know. As is most of our generation. It's just something that's progressed and here we are.

Technology has advanced our society more than we could have ever imagined. And I think that's been a very good thing. But it can also be very bad.

Just imagine the liberation of putting the phone out of sight and worrying about the here and now? Worry about the pile of laundry. Imagine what a free weekend might bring. Play with your child. Take a walk. Have a conversation.

Change is never easy; I have a lot of things in my life that I'd like to change, all of which I have sole control over. The key is just doing it.

I'm challenging myself to unplug in the evenings and lessen the load during the day. If the phone rings, then I'll surely answer it. But no longer will I wake up and check Facebook first thing [what could've happened overnight anyway?!]. 
And if you're reading this and thinking, "Wow...that sounds like our family..," then I challenge you to do the same. 

Because life is about more than status updates and tweets and the latest e-mail promotion. 
It's about things that actually matter.
And it's time to give those things the attention they deserve.

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