I have not posted on my blog in awhile because I have been focusing all my writing attention on a book that will be published in April. I am very excited to share more details about it soon!
I am also revamping my blog with a new layout and name on the way.
In the meantime, I’ve been taking a bit of a retreat from technology. A year ago I permanently deleted my social media accounts because I found that, for me, personally, the risks and distractions outweighed the benefits. The change helped me to be far more present and focused in my life.
But apparently I’m highly distractible. Cutting social media wasn’t enough. So I decided to cut the smartphone. Now, I’m not sure how long it will last and I don’t think everyone should do it. But it’s been a great experience so far and I’ve come to a few thoughts, realizations, and theories:
- I don’t need a computer with me all the time. Some people do. But I don’t. My job does not require it. And having one with me all the time, while sometimes convenient, is mostly just distracting.
- I think I want to be one step behind technological progress. I’m not sure whether or not the world was a better place before the Industrial Revolution or the automobile or the telephone. But there’s no doubt that technology tends to shake things up, and oftentimes, we don’t know the consequences of the latest gadget until it’s been with us for awhile. I think of the 1960’s parental mantra: go watch TV! People didn’t know any better back then. Now we do know better… at least about the TV. We’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg with the smartphone.
- Not having a smartphone means being more prepared. If I want to listen to music in the car I need to make sure I bring my old iPod. And I need to make sure I plug in directions to my car GPS before I start on my way. But that’s probably a good thing, right? That I’m not trying to plug in directions at a stop light?
- Smartphones can distract from memories. Sure, they’re great for capturing, sharing, and commenting on memories. But we all know how much they can interfere with our ability to be present in the moment. Scientists are even saying that our memory capabilities are being distorted by the constant smartphone documenting. I find that without the smartphone, I am taking less photos now and sharing less photos. But I’m also more present. And the photos I’m taking are more intentional. And I’m not worried that my kids won’t have enough photos to look back on. My parents definitely took enough photos of me and they didn’t have a smartphone.
- The smartphone is more immediately interesting than so many other wonderful things. And that’s dangerous. Now I know that some of this is a self-discipline issue, but, far too often, I seemed to choose the smartphone over a book or the kindle or the piano or trying to bake a new recipe. It’s sad, really. But it’s true. Even after getting off of social media, the smartphone still sat on the counter calling me. There’s just something about that dopamine rush that comes with scrolling and tapping and browsing. I often found myself checking email… but not responding to anything. Just checking. Sometimes, I found myself checking the weather… in other countries. And I can assure you, with four kids and lots of interests and hobbies, I had no reason to be doing that. Except that these machines are designed to be highly addictive. And I’m a millennial, perfectly wired for the addiction.
Now the one problem (besides sometimes forgetting to plug in directions or the fact that I’m having to relearn my high school texting skills) is that my two year old thinks the flip phone is SO much more interesting than the smart phone. Because he can actually press the buttons, intentionally. And call people. Over and over again. Like he did the other day at 6AM.
Other than that little glitch, I’m loving the experiment and highly recommend it if your situation permits!
Brenda Steele says
Why it is that a young mother your age can redirect me to what matters most is both disturbing and delightful! Thank you, Elizabeth.
Always speaking truth!