Recently, heading home after completing a long Friday night 12 hour shift, I had a brief nanosecond of anxiety as the realization that I had left my cell phone in my white coat pocket dawned on me.
Since it was a rare long weekend of no clinic or urgent care shifts, I would be without this “smart” communications line, calendar, browser, alarm clock, weather station, and electronic toy for over 48 hours-
Why did the thought of going 2 full days without it nearly incite a brief panic? Especially since less than 2 years ago I was still using a flip phone with a crude mini lens called a camera in it? Especially when, to the amusement of my college aged niece, her lessons on how to text have not really helped my texting speed so that I still default to the archaic “calling” and leaving a voicemail that my recipient may be irritated in having to take the time to retrieve?
If I’m honest, this angst, like for most folks come from thinking that this technologically magic conduit is the source or access to our lives-work, social, and personal-in addition to being an expensive distraction.
We egocentrically think we’ll miss something critical. But truly, those who really need to urgently contact me have other avenues like my landline (YES…I still have one of those), email, my husband’s cell (that is, if he has not lost track of this himself), snail mail (God forbid) or the ole’ “drop by” to chat (what!!??).
Have I missed one? Alas, it’s almost a sin, but I’m one of the 6+ billion who do not have a FACEBOOK account!
Once the decision was made however, to save gas and time and NOT to go back just for the phone, I fell into the familiar routine of yesteryear of a less distracted, less cluttered mental life for the rest of the weekend.
I was able to be 100% (well nearly 100%) attentive to my kids, husband and home life. The ambient “E” noise quieted to a peaceful soothing hum.
I had forgotten this peace and it harkens to blessedly being from a generation where I had enjoyed it without even knowing it in the past too.
On Monday, I oddly had a brief anticipatory excitement at seeing what this handheld computer had awaiting for me. Once reunited with my electronic life, I chuckled at the grand total of 3 texts that I had missed. And humbling me further, one was the automated Calvin Klein sale texts that I somehow got signed up for every couple of weeks!
Texting is like tennis or chess isn’t it? Only as occupying as how often both partners participate in the volley or move. If you don’t play, then the whole session stops. Somehow, we forget about how we perpetuate and create our own busyness and harried schedules in the name of success, pursuing popularity, being active and engaged or whatever else the motivations.
This humbling reminder helps point out the things that I allow to suck up my time and energy. I try now, more consciously to be E-free on a more regular basis-leaving my cell phone “accidentally” at work.
I make a point of having an e-free day every month and on the weekends we are as close to e-free as possible. I think it is important to up-plug and reconnect with our families and friends.
Good for you Kelly! I think going e-free once a month is doable. I should strive for that goal myself.
We have considered taking up electronic devices for family dinners or movie nights. I know some folks who all put their cell phones in a pile on the table when they eat out and the first person to give in and look at their phone has to pay.
Really nice idea you have there- pick up your phone, pick up the tab.
Technology can be a great tool or a huge distraction. You are so right. We should all unplug sometimes.
You could not have said it better April.
I think that cell phones can legitimize ignoring other people without it being overly obvious. It connects people from afar and makes distance with people closest (physically) to us. It’s hard to get away from it. But I do think it could be something to intentionally reckon with. There are some people who do technology fasts. Good thoughts!
I try to take a weekend a month and 3 days during the month and be free. Do I worry I will miss something yes but that is only a fleeting memory. When I stand back and look at what I accomplish with being tied to electronics I have such a feeling of confidence and pride in myself.
I don’t ever want to miss the bird singing or just the sound of contentment in my life 🙂