Monday, March 7, 2016

Chuck It: A New Old Way Of Living.

I washed my phone in a load of laundry one hopeless Saturday morning a few months back. I thought, "Oh, sheeeet!" (because it was a load of sheets, of course) as I pulled it out of the washer, fully emerged in non-allergenic, scent-free detergent and water.

When a bag of rice for a day, then a week, then a month, didn't make the magic apple sign flash across the screen, I gave up, and gave in to carrying my husband's flip phone around for the purpose of sending good old fashioned T9 texts and making emergency calls. (Side note: I used to think T9 was easier than touchscreen, but, take it from a chronic mistyping, auto correct queen, with fat thumbs, it's not).

While I thought I was simply giving up a phone for a week or two until a new one was emailed, uh-hem... I mean mailed to me, that simply didn't happen.

Because, I grew to find that I was responding to my "By the Seaside" sound alerts like one of Pavlov's dogs, conditioning myself to live for the sound of an electronic device, and when it was stripped from me (another sheet pun), I found life was simpler in a way I'd secretly really missed.

All of the time I'd spent mindlessly browsing social media in moments of lull to relax and check out, the constant responses to text messages and phone calls to stay connected, and the keeping up with notifications and emails to stay informed... I began to see how much time I'd been wasting living in a glass world of 3 x 5 inches.

It all had felt so normal until it was gone, that world I'd chosen time and time again over the real one I was living in.

You know where I am going with this deeply profound blog post, right? I am supposed to write something really nice about living in the moment, not comparing yourself to others on social media because it's all staged, and then you'll say, "That was a nice reminder."

But, of course, you'll go on mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed as you were doing before you browsed through this post, and move on to why Susan Q. refuses to vote for so and so in the 2016 election, or why Tom T. is so excited about his new job.

So, here's my plot twister!

I don't really want to inspire you about why social media is hurting "the moments" of our life.

I simply want to tell you that you are ruining your life.

I know, because I was ruining my own,

Something I did that was really living in the world, My phone was dead, I didn't miss it.

If you are *that person* surrounded by friends or family right now and you are choosing to sit on your phone instead of being in the moment, I want to take your phone and CHUCK it across the room. And, if you are a teenager, I want to slap your parents and tell them to wake up and put restrictions on it. I want them to make you get outdoors and explore the world around you because you are young and sprightly and full of energy and life is just waiting outside your fast texting fingertips.

Woah, it just got violent up in here, didn't it?

The truth is, I am starting a CHUCK IT initiative.

When I find I am choosing my phone over my family, I am chucking my phone (lightly, on carpet, of course) and breaking the phone trance.

When I find I am wanting to post a certain thing to look cool, I simply don't post it.

I look really cool here. I didn't post it on social media, though, but my sister did ;)

When I find I am checking out on social media before bed, I am asking myself, "What could I be doing that would be good for my mind, my soul, my relationships?"

When life is busy and noisy,  we crave an alternate world to escape to. I feel it just as you do, friends, but I simply cannot live any longer wasting long sessions of checking out in an alternate world that leaves me feeling empty or emotionless.

 I am choosing to read more. To pray. To reflect on the day. To Journal. To talk. To write. To do old-fashioned things that our ancestors did before this alternate world was always at their fingertips.

I know we argue that social media connects us to others, and I agree it does, but only just a little bit, because when people choose to only show the best glitz and glam of their life on their feeds, then they are feeding you the perception that all is well and dandy, and what good friend settles for that as truth? A good friend digs deeper than the surface, a good friend connects in more meaningful ways than pushing a button on their phone...

I like a little social media in my day. I always probably will. I check my Facebook once a day for five minutes. I scan my emails, and try my best not to be rude and actually text people back.

But, mostly, these days, I try my hardest to take part in my own initiative, and when it's putting me in that trance, I CHUCK IT.

I will not waste all of my precious brain cells, my family memories, my fleeting hours, on a 3 x 5 screen, and I hope you will not either.

Will you join me?

Chuck that thing.

Let's get back to living.

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