Okay here goes…. Dear friends, I have a confession to make. I have a really bad addiction. It’s one that is always on my mind. I can’t function properly without it. I get cravings when I’m not using it, and I seriously don’t know how to get myself to walk away. A few weeks ago I realized (as if it was some big secret before?) that I am majorly addicted to my phone.
You know the feeling, right? You leave for work and get halfway down the street and realize your phone is most certainly not in your purse. The inner debate begins. Do I turn around and risk being late for work, or do I keep going and risk being phone-less for the day? What if a tragedy happens? What if someone is trying to text me? I never responded to that snapchat that my friend can so clearly see that I already opened. It’s obvious I MUST turn around. Right?
It’s time for this addiction to stop.
- I struggle with being alone in a moment. Being a hairstylist and talking to people all day leaves me with the need to turn my brain off and not have to talk. I love the idea of sitting down and shutting off. So I go to my couch and attempt to relax. But, instead of being alone and shutting down, I am sharing my downtime with those on Facebook and the people on the other end of my cell line. I’m reading about the funniest clips from Jimmy Fallon last week on my laptop, while watching said funny clips on Hulu, and texting my girlfriend about how sexy Jimmy Fallon is when he laughs at his own jokes like that. This is my version of “relaxing” after a long day. I am definitely someone who needs to be alone to rejuvenate, yet I surround myself with all these other people constantly without even realizing that I’m not allowing myself to be alone. The idea of leaving my phone in the other room makes me feel naked. I don’t know how to function without having my social life attached to my side. Which leads me to the next point.
- I never disconnect. With text messaging being our most common form of communication, we are constantly leaving this window of communication open to everyone never allowing ourselves to separate from conversation. When there is a phone call happening, there is a beginning and end to the conversation, but with text messaging it is always left open to be communicated further, and this is entirely overwhelming for me. I would say that I’m not someone to sit “waiting” for a response to a text. However, my mind is subconsciously in the midst of one, four, or seven conversations just depending on the day. Did I respond to that email the other day? I’m still waiting on an answer from a friend or two about our plans for the weekend. I’m carrying on convo with two other people and would feel rude stepping away from them for too long. I never allow myself to separate because I know there is always someone on the other end that I’m either waiting on, or that is waiting on me.
- My expectations are insane. There’s kind of an unspoken standard that there comes a point when its just been too long to wait to respond to someones text. Which goes back to not being able to disconnect. I feel like I am constantly at people’s beck and call. I know that when I am waiting on a response from someone it is draining on me to not know when that response is going to come, and I would never want to do that to someone else. I get so tired of feeling like I have to respond to every text, Facebook message, instagram comment, and snapchat that I receive. And in a timely manner to add to it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not overflowing in people trying to communicate with me, but I still set a standard for myself and for others on the timeliness and courtesy that is shown through each outlet of communication when it does happen. How can we possibly keep up with all of these things? I slack constantly and then feel guilty about it. Or others slack a little and I allow it to disappoint me. Again, that’s just too much pressure. None of us need to be that reliant on the communication of one another, yet we are, simply because we know that most people have their phones by their side or in their hands 24 hours a day. If they don’t respond then it feels like a personal offense.
- Its a time sucker. Because my phone is next to me every moment of the day it’s so easy to get caught up in the multitasking that comes about with a smart phone. I pick it up first thing in the morning to shut off my alarm. One thing leads to another and suddenly it’s an hour later and all I’ve done is watch adorable videos of sleepy otters and stalked Taylor Swift’s instagram feed to find out if she’s still dating Calvin Harris. I will walk away not knowing what I’ve done with the last hour and still not feeling ready to get out of bed. And that’s just the beginning of the day. Lets not forget the 100 times per day that I pick it up to respond to a text and end up learning how to get my eyebrows to be Youtube worthy. Seriously… just stop, right?
- I don’t explore things the way I’d like to. This seems like a crazy thing, but how often to do you think, “ I want to go for a walk today,” or “It would be fun to learn how to play guitar,” and although you really mean both of those things, you allow yourself to believe that you don’t have the time for it? This happens to me multiple times a week. Whether it’s doing a load of laundry, or if it’s getting out and going on a new adventure I will catch myself sucked into whatever it is I’m doing on my phone and never step away to do the thing I’m meaning to do. I never want to miss out on my life because I’m distracted by menial things, but I’m doing it daily.
- My relationships are suffering. I’m spending all of this time “connecting” through my phone in a hundred different forms, but what do my relationships truly look like? When’s the last time you really looked around you and recognized the lack of real life communication happening. There can be four girls in the break room at work, and not one person will be speaking, because we all have our noses buried in our phones. You go to dinner with your girlfriends and spend 30% of the night taking pictures together that are Instagram worthy and texting other friends. My favorite nights are always the ones where we all have our phones shoved away and are able to get face to face time digging into the hearts of one another and sharing life. THAT is a real friendship, and yet we are so quick to accept a surface level relationship that is distracted by tweets and texts from others instead of truly investing into the person sitting right in front of us.
- It’s lonely. With access to so many people at my fingertips one would think I would feel more connected than ever, but the truth is, it is incredibly lonely over here. Being constantly aware of what everyone else is doing at all points in time is a constant reminder that I’m not doing it with them. I know I can’t be alone in this, and I realize that others must feel the same about me and the version of my life they see online. But the truth is we all only see the portion of life that has been specifically chosen to be shared. We are all sharing the best parts, but are rarely sharing the empty moments. The moments where we are sitting on our couch looking through other people’s lives wishing it was ours, or wondering why we don’t get to be a part of it. Those are the real moments. Others are in the same boat as you. The Pin-vy feeling. The IG jealousy. We all suffer, wishing we had something more, and recognizing that our life may never look like that, but never recognizing that people are probably thinking the same about our lives. So, I sit investing all of this time and energy “connecting” with people around the world, but never feeling satisfied. And in the real world my relationships are suffering because I am too invested in these other forms of connection. I’ve realized how vicious of a cycle it is. How will I ever cure my loneliness if I continue seeking fulfillment in a form that only drives me to need more?
Im ready for a real life. And real relationships. I want to be a part of the world around me and truly experience it without an electronic device having to capture every piece of it. I don’t want my self worth or appreciation of my life to be determined by what other’s lives look like on social media. Knowing that my phone has become such a distraction and pure addiction in my life has led me to want separation. I don’t want to be tied to those things. It’s so empty.
Now, the world I live in (being a blogger/ brand advocate) I am required to spend a certain amount of my life in the world of social media. But I’m ready for separation. So I am committing myself to go for a trial run of disconnecting for seven days. I will allow myself an hour a day for the next 7 days to catch up on my blog, comments, texts, and snaps, but the majority of my time will be spent with my phone far from my side and my television and laptop powered down. My phone will be used as an actual telephone that makes real live phone calls instead of distant connections. Wish me luck. I know I’m going to need it.
I would love to see you take part in this challenge with me. Lets spend the next 7 days living our lives. I’d love to have some partners in crime, and we can join together next week to evaluate how it all went down! What do you say?