Let me tell you a little story. My oldest daughter and I were rushing out of the house through many little children saying bye, needing another hug as we rushed out the garage to meet a friend. I hate rushing and here is why. My oldest (just turned 12) was holding my coffee and while trying to put it in a cup holder, spilled an old coffee (hey don’t judge…or do. Whatevs). Not wanting to go back inside to say goodbye 20 more times to five other children, I said we’d clean it when we got to our destination.
From the time it took to get to our house to meeting my friend (ten minutes), I put my phone in the spot with spilled coffee without thinking. The go go go frenzy as usual kept me from realizing what I did until we got to where we were going.
Oh crap. I now have coffee on my phone.
“At least it smells good,” said my daughter
“Shit.” I silently said to myself as I tried to clean it up.
It seemed to be working but I couldn’t swipe it. We ate lunch and I went home to put it in a bag of rice. Doesn’t that do the trick?
On the way home my daughter was feeling bad because she spilled the coffee. For the 20th time I told her it wasn’t her fault…it was mine. She asked me if I was upset. I assured her I wasn’t.
“But aren’t you stressed? It’s a new phone!” she asked.
“Actually, I’m not. I’ve been through enough in life to not be upset about this. Being upset won’t change anything. Besides, I think the universe is giving me exactly what I need.”
I proceeded to turn up the radio and we sang at the top of our lungs to All About The Bass the rest of the way home.
I did put my phone in a bag of rice and it proceeded to get worse. I messaged my grandparents and asked if they still had their old iPhones, because of course I let my warranty lapse 11 days ago. I also have a Life Proof case not on my phone. My life is a constant example of Murphy’s Law. My grandmother let me know they did still have them and she is sending them to me. I told her I’d pay the shipping and she laughed at me and told me to pay her in cute pictures of my kids. Deal.
In the meantime I am phone free and I’m not hating it. Here’s what happened though.
I very quickly went through withdrawal. Wait, are we talking crack or a phone? These days, it’s a blurry line. With the constant access at our fingertips of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, emails, kindle app for books, games, etc., to all of a sudden not have that, you realize very quickly how much you rely on it to distract yourself to stay busy, busy, busy. Especially when a lot of your ‘work’ is on social media. I went into what felt like a depression very fast. What the hell? My life is amazing! I had to sit with these feelings without turning to my most commonly used distractions.
“What’s going on?” My husband asked as we sat at the table eating tacos watching the kids play on their new swing set.
“I’m trying to find the words. The best I can come up with is I’m tapped out. I already knew this, but I’m really feeling it today. I have a wonderful life, but I’m exhausted and my cup is completely empty. Having a bath, while wonderful, is not the same as having time to myself. I can hear the baby crying, the four year old comes in to ask me something 32 times, and I end up on my phone yet again. I need time like you get at the gym. If I was there needing you while you were trying to listen to your music and do deadlifts, how would that go?”
“Uh, that would be bad for our marriage,” he admitted.
“Exactly, that is how my alone time is lately. Part of that is because I don’t get out by myself and part of that is my fault for always turning to my phone.”
So, I went out. Alone. With no phone. Gasp! Guess what? We haven’t always walked around with mini computers called phones and we survived just fine.
I didn’t do anything special, but it was the most peaceful two hours. I was able to think, process, and get back in tune with what makes my soul feel delightful. I wasn’t worried about negative comments or people, or answering questions and emails. I wasn’t checking in on kids, but instead put faith in my husband who is just as capable as I am. Just me, myself, and I. That’s not selfish, that’s self care. It’s necessary for me to continue being a great wife and mother and to positively do my work. If I’m running on empty, I will putter out and won’t be any good to anyone!
I bought a few books, not on my kindle app. You know books that smell like fresh paper and ink and feel good in your hands? Ya, those. I bought a few activities for myself and I tuned into how I really do love to do acts of kindness and make other people happy. I came up with a few ideas for that as well. All it took was an hour and a half and I felt my cup filling and ready to go home to tuck kids into bed and nurse my baby.
So, I’m going to enjoy this forced break from my phone and social media. I’m going to thank the universe for doing what I wanted but didn’t have the strength to do on my own. I’m going to read paperbacks, go out for some me time with no distractions, and be overall happier for myself and my family.
Put your phones down. Give yourself a challenge to not touch it once for an hour or three. See how it goes. Then maybe a whole day or three. You will be surprised how attached you are to it and as equally surprised how much you don’t need it.
The convenience of technology is amazing and a blessing. Heck, I’d be lost most the time without Google Maps. It’s also not a necessity every moment of the day. There is peace in not having it accessible and walking away for a bit to enjoy what’s right in front of you. Sometimes we find ourselves when we allow ourselves to get lost for a little bit.