It's the tiniest twitch.
First, it's something you think you hear. Did it buzz? Did it beep?
Then, it's visual. Is my notification light blinking?
IS SOMEONE TRYING TO REACH ME??
When did this become a constant worry? These days, we're ALWAYS reachable on our smartphones, and have an endless amount of choices at our fingertips.
We can read a review of any restaurant before choosing to eat there, we can change plans last-minute at the swipe of a thumb, and we can find events, friends, and activities at any moment of any day. We're constantly in contact and so is everyone else.
So what if, for one week, I decided to shut it all off?
I recently took a week-long vacation to Missouri to visit my bestie, Megan. It was the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge my personal batteries.
For one week, I couldn't reach anyone and they couldn't reach me. I couldn't check my calendar, my Instagram, my texts, or anything else. Not-so-surprising news: I survived just fine! I even learned some new things about myself.
I'm breaking this post into three parts, as I wrote journal entries about my experience in a few separate installments during the week.
I can tell I'm still adjusting. Nina and Megan are still using their cell phones, and it's difficult to resist the urge to ask who liked that picture they posted, or ask if they tagged me in the photo. Then I asked myself: "Why do I care?"
In a week, not only will I forget about that post but so will everyone else. It'll be buried under a million other posts and completely forgotten about. Everything on social media is so fleeting, and yet we spend so much unnecessary time and interaction there.
It has already been a huge stress relief, I can tell you that much. I don't wear a watch, so normally I just use my phone to tell the time. Since it's been off, I've slept until I'm not tired anymore, eaten when I felt hungry, and poured a glass of wine when I wanted one. That has been wonderful. Living with only my instinct of time (rather than a measurement of it) has made the days seem longer and more relaxed. It's very peaceful, as the only distinct change is the rising and setting of the sun.
I am grateful for this type of solitude. I'd forgotten about it. I only know what is happening right now, with exactly who I'm spending time with.
Of course I catch myself wondering what others are up to. But I don't have a way to find out, so it's easy for me to let go of.
It's funny that there was a time in my life where needing to "shut off" didn't really exist. Not just because I was young, but because there wasn't an app for that. I didn't have a cell phone for a long time, or even email for that matter. I grew up without texting or social media. It was a different world.
But for now, this is great. I don't miss the twitch, and it's only been a couple of days. I also already have noticed that I'm beginning to dread turning my phone back on!
TO BE CONTINUED...