As featured in The Reflector:
I don’t know what it is about the beginning of each year that makes us think it’s the appropriate time to change something we actually thought of back in October, but for whatever reason we wait. Maybe the symbol of a fresh start is inexplicably motivational. Or maybe it’s our way of delaying the hard thing we think we want to do.
I’m a pretty self-motivated person. If I become aware of something that I need to change I typically just do it as quickly as the change personally allows. But this year I joined the throngs of resolution makers as I put off something that I knew I should do this past fall.
What sort of thing would make me drag my customarily forward moving feet, you say?
I’m breaking up with my iphone.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not actually getting rid of that phone. I’m not exiling it to a deserted island and I’m not trading it off for one of those flip phones that I’m certain will soon join the ranks of vinyl records and eight track tapes. The dynamic of our relationship is about to drastically change, however.
I would wager to say that most people have had a breakup like this. The relationship just isn’t working. For whatever reason it has become an unhealthy situation for you. The relationship no longer inspires you to greatness, but instead stands in your way. Your significant other didn’t do anything wrong. Yet something in the quiet recesses of your soul tells you that you’re not on the right track. You worry over the decision. You lose sleep over it. You don’t want to sever all contact and you may even want to remain friends. There’s a delicate balance there and it’s difficult to accomplish.
That’s what’s happening here. A smart phone is not a bad thing by any means. Technology is amazing and it has given us the capability to accomplish a lot of wonderful things. If you’re not careful, however, it also has the power to take over. Somehow everything on that phone becomes more important than everything off of it.
I know this sort of revelation might come as a shock to some, but I used to be able to wait to check my email until I put my kids to bed and sat down at night at my computer. Weird, right?
I also used to not be driven towards little bits of mindless drivel that people like to share on the internet. Now I can’t look away. It seems that nobody can. I love seeing photos and hearing updates from friends and family that I don’t get to see much, but I don’t honestly care what the kid I went to high school with ate for dinner or need to see any more posters of cats or be told to keep calm about one more thing. I am calm, okay?
I used to be able to wait until I walked in the front door to hear and return telephone messages. I also used to like actually talking to people. With my voice.
Would you believe that my memory was uncommonly sharp because I’d have to give myself mental reminders of things that I needed to do when I got home? Now I just type a note in my phone.
I’m a photographer. How shameful is it that I just snap photos with my subpar camera phone instead of lugging my nice camera around? In an emergency it’s great. As the tool by which my entire life is documented, not so much.
My relationship with my phone is making me sluggish. It’s making me lazy. It’s making me spend way too much time doing things during the middle of my day that I used to save until the end. This relationship is making me edgy. It’s making me inattentive. It’s making me snap at my sweet children when they interrupt my reading something to show me the contraption they made out of yarn, paper clips and masking tape.
Mostly this relationship doesn’t inspire me to greatness at all. And I expect that from a relationship, otherwise there is no point. I don’t care if a relationship is so awful that it drives me to my knees, as long as it’s enabling my growth. That’s what relationships are for.
So this relationship changes today. My phone and I are no longer together. We’re just friends. If I don’t respond to your email or your facebook message or your text right away, it’s because I’m busy living my life. I’ll respond in my down time when my kids don’t need me to laugh at their jokes or help them with their homework or teach them how to do somersaults. I’ll get to my work after my kids are asleep like I used to. It worked fine before. I’ll check in on the world of my friends when my husband doesn’t need me to listen to how his day went at work or to cook his favorite dinner.
I’m just too busy right now for a relationship that’s not actually making me any better.