An Intentional Disengagement

12 Dec

Husband asked me the other day if I remembered life before I had an iPhone (which was, in my case, my first smart phone). An only-slightly-exaggerated answer? Not really. It’s hard to remember a time when I couldn’t use my phone to look up movie show times, check for directions while driving, do my Christmas shopping, and keep constant tabs on what’s what on Twitter.

I would say wholeheartedly that these things have definitely made life more convenient. I would probably stop buying groceries before I’d give it up. I would say without hesitation that these things have made my life better. But, I cannot honestly say that it has made me better.

It is with embarrassment that I reluctantly admit that my attachment to my iPhone might not be particularly healthy. I am, perhaps, unnaturally attached to it. You can usually find it within a 10-foot radius of my person. Furthermore, the once or twice when I’ve left my house without my iPhone left me with a strange sense of unease. I’m normally an optimistic person, but I couldn’t help but think, What if this is the time my car breaks down? What if no one stops to help me because they just assume I have a cell phone? What if I get lost in the middle of nowhere and no one knows where to find me? What if a new trailer for Game of Thrones comes out and I don’t have a way to immediately watch it?

You see my point?

I sometimes have to remind myself that there was a time before smart phones. Before cell phones, even. And yes, I am old enough to remember those times. When my mom would tell me she’d be running errands, she was basically just off the grid. I didn’t know which stores she would be at and for how long. If I wanted to get ahold of her, for whatever reason, I was SOL.

Now, technology has made it so that there’s no such thing as being unreachable. When I call someone, it’s with the expectation that they will answer. When I text someone, it’s with the expectation that they will respond. When I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I find myself checking for responses within minutes. It’s assumed that we are connected, always. Working and sleeping are pretty much the only excuses for not engaging with someone via technology, and sometimes not even then. Gone are the days of I-just-don’t-feel-like-answering. After all, what’s the point in having a cell phone if you don’t answer?

At least that’s what we say in the off chance that we get someone’s voicemail.

Most of the time I am happy for this ubiquitous connectedness. I like engaging in social media. I love my Twitter family. I love my blog. I love the engaging in witty banter entirely through gifs and emoticons.

But again, I wouldn’t say it’s made me better.

There are times when I’ll be watching a television show and I’ll find myself Tweeting/Pinning/Facebooking and realize that I’ve missed an entire chunk of dialogue. Sometimes I feel like I am actually physically incapable of doing just one thing. If my phone is there (which it always is), I must be on it. Is that what technology has done to me?

At least when it comes to television, it’s not that big of a deal. There’s a rewind button on my TiVo remote, after all. The issue is that it’s not just television.

True Mom Confession: Every now and then it’s my children. I feel like a horrible mother even admitting it, but there will be times when I’m on the ground playing cars with my kids, and my hand will gravitate toward my phone. Let me just state for the record that there is nothing in this world more important to me than my children. I know that these moments with them are literally once-in-a-lifetime, and that time spent playing with them will be over all too quickly. There is not a rewind button for these moments.

Because of this, I have started making a concentrated effort to disengage. To not be so connected, all the time. That’s not to say that I won’t ever Tweet or blog (clearly). I’ll still take my iPhone with me to work and I’ll have it with me when I’m driving. But, when it’s during my children’s waking hours, don’t be surprised if I don’t answer that text immediately. I won’t like that status immediately.

It won’t be because I don’t care. It’ll be because my phone is in a different room. It will be because I’m playing with my children, the way my parents played with me, before iPhones. Because life before iPhones wasn’t half bad.

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2 Responses to “An Intentional Disengagement”

    • Andrea December 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Ha ha, so funny. Not.

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