What are you reading this on? Your phone? Laptop? Whatever it is (if it isn’t your phone) I’m sure its nearby, will you make it to the end of this post without checking your notifications and getting distracted? You’ll probably try and justify it in your head, oh this post was dragging on a bit or it was boring. Well how often do you check your phone? Are you ever just sat there and have that itch to grab your phone and scroll pointlessly through Facebook etc? Do you ever just unlock your phone because you’re bored then have nothing to check so you put it down only to do the exact same thing a little bit later?
Now I’m not saying you’re addicted to your phone, addict is a term which is seen as serious but in reality it really isn’t. Recently I had to replace my phone and it was like a piece of me was taken away, I’m not even exaggerating to be quite honest. God, the things that went through my mind, people are going to think I’m ignoring them, people will worry, I’ve lost all of my login details, my photos, everything. But most importantly it was my safety net, I had so many moments during that day where I couldn’t reach to my pocket and distract myself from reality, you know? The world around us? It distracts us from being in the moment, a sense of complete diversion. Looking at stories and drowning in someone else’s world for a second before returning back to your own ‘boring’ world, as you wish you had it like them, right?
When you leave the house you typically need to check you have 3 things – your wallet/purse, keys, and your phone. If you could only pick 2 things… well most of you reading this are gunna end up locked out. Of course you’ll tell yourself now, well someone will be home… oh I need my phone for an emergency. Emergency right, when have you actually ever needed to use your phone in an emergency? Where there has been nobody else nearby with a phone? The only emergency is when you need to fill in that void. Would that void exist if we weren’t so obsessed with our phones in the first place?
Now I’m not saying you’re socially awkward just because you check your phone. I probably check mine more than you, a lot more. I’ve completely lost my train of thought, I’m listening to ‘most beautiful songs in the world’ playlist on Spotify and most of them so far have been background-y type songs and now Bon Iver is playing and its distracting me. Highly recommended playlist by the way, that’s my favourite thing about Spotify…playlists for every occasion, even migraines.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT. How often have you been to a concert or something and… ugh I don’t even know how to put it. Okay so you’re at a gig? You have something called eyes, I highly recommend using them and capturing real memories and taking everything in like a train coming right at you. Want to take a photo or quick video for ‘memories’ sake then yeah do it for like 30 seconds. You see I wrote ‘memories’ because most of those people who are constantly filming or taking photos are doing it so people know that they went. Imagine paying 70 quid for a gig ticket just to go and not even really fully enjoy it because you spent most of your time on your phone for instagram/snapchat story. Once, I went to a gig and my friend didn’t believe I went because I didn’t take photos etc. That’s the world we live in right now and I think that’s really shit.
We’ve become so subconsciously obsessed with knowing what’s going on if it’s not on social media did it even happen? You’re sat on a train, that train could crash and you could die. Unlikely but just go with me here for a second, what did you do? Probably spent your last few minutes alive on your phone being annoyed that your signal is shit on the train and that the internet keeps cutting out. Airplane mode on, airplane mode off, c’mon internet hurry up it’s the end of the world if I don’t reply to this whatsapp message soon!!! It’ll be the end of the world as they’ll have to wait an extra 10 mins.
Now I’m not talking about cutting communication with people, some loved ones are only contactable via our devices; I’m talking about the ‘wasted’ moments or moments in which things can wait.
As per usual I’ve started a post making point, only to end up somewhere in a maze. Live your life in the moment, use your eyes, ears, all of your fucking senses. Don’t avoid going on your phone because I’d be a hypocrite if I said it was that easy (I’ve bloody checked mine about 8 times whilst writing this). Infact the average person checks their phone over 100 times a day. And that’s me not even talking about accidents which are caused by our phones.
Make it a last resort, or make time in the day where it’s an internet free time, read a book, even TV, anything. You need a moment where you can condition yourself to think that it’s okay to cut yourself off for a bit, otherwise when you’re without your phone like I was that day, you’ll feel lost. I did that day and it was my fault. So much empty time is spent on my phone and devices that I hadn’t found other ways to use that time. I want to be able to go away on little trips or have a day where it’s like an internet detox. It’s not healthy how reliant we’ve become.
Try this, hope this makes sense as I’m just making this all up as I go along. Get a notepad or something and keep it with you for a day, every time you go on your phone write the time you went on it and what you did, don’t have to put detail but just a summary. If you’re texting someone constantly for a few mins just put ‘1:03pm-1:15pm = texting’ or something like that. Try and do it religiously for one whole day then look at it before you sleep. What did you mostly go on your phone for and when, try to spot the moments when you pointlessly went on it and around that time maybe set yourself a target of not going on it for an hour around that time and find other things to do.
As you can see that was a complete fail, but I tried. Also pat on the back if you can decipher those hieroglyphics aka my handwriting. Smarter people have bad handwriting though, it’s true I read it somewhere…. on the internet so it was 100% true.
Hopefully that super in-depth made up on the spot plan will be a start for you. Where were you last week? Do you remember that? If not why? Do you remember whose social media you were checking this time last week? Probably not, as in the grand scheme of things it means fuck all. Only being alive does. The bigger issue is probably social media which I’ve danced around but I’ll save that for next year.
Did it even happen if it wasn’t posted online? Yeah it did.
Update: 26/11/17 check this out https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/26/16701950/substitute-phoneklemens-schillinger-smartphone-addiction