Linc and I took a nice little trip back to our hometown in Virginia Beach this past spring break! What happened on the way home was pretty eye opening for me. Linc and I were standing in the security line waiting our turn to take off our shoes and pack our bins when I realized… oh my gosh, I left my phone in Papa’s chair! I double checked my bag, even triple checked my bag just to make sure I was mistaken but I could see it lying there in the corner of his brown leather chair and I can even remember getting up, throwing it down as I rushed about trying to get Linc dressed and the bags out the door so we could head out to the airport in time to hit the security lines early. Now, here we were standing at the front of the almost non-existent line and there was my cell phone, still lying in papa’s comfortably worn leather chair, right where I had thrown it down… left behind.
Now most of you would panic! Heck, I thought I would panic but oddly enough, I was calm and even relaxed at the thought of not having a cell phone. The incredible TSA agent heard me talking with Linc and checking my ticket offered to lend me his phone so I could call my parents and have them run it up to me. He even went as far as to offer to personally run it to my gate since I had plenty of time to spare. I didn’t want my parents to have to make an extra trip, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me so I politely thanked him but told him it was totally OK and my mom could just package it up and send it to me. He looked at me at me like I had three heads. “What will you do without your phone for that long, I would be panicking!”
This it when it hit me, how crazy attached we are to these little electronic devices, and why?! Didn’t we grow up without them? Our parents didn’t have them and they raised us to be perfectly healthy and safe adults! So the past few days, I’ve been really mindful of my time and I’ve learned a lot! Here are some of the things I’ve noticed about cell phones and leaving my own behind:
(Here’s a caveat though: Tuck did activate my old one so I did have a cell phone to use, not a very good one because it would shut off every 30 minutes or so! I don’t want to mislead you into thinking I was totally without when I wasn’t!)
CELL PHONES & ELECTRONIC DEVICES HAVE BECOME OUR “FILLERS”:
We don’t allow ourselves the time anymore to just sit and be! It seems like today as a society (and this is just my opinion) we have to always be doing something! We always have to be on the move, on the go, on top of the game, whatever the game may be and in the know and I think the cell phone (because it has every single app and all the information up to date at your finger tips) gives you that in an instant is the perfect answer! It’s the perfect filler of time! We don’t like to still anymore and to me this is a bit sad because there is so much you can learn in the stillness! I realized that I need the stillness and silence and as uncomfortable sometimes as it is, I have to create the space for it. Leaving my cell phone behind (and having one that shuts off all the time) helped me to create space for stillness. I wasn’t able to scroll through social media as often or check amazon as often. I actually had to be in the moment and focus on what I was doing, or not doing, and that actually benefited me in so many other ways, especially my creativity!
INTIMACY AND CONNECTION:
This one is a bit tricky because we all know and love that cell phones can create such connection especially when you talk about social media! BUT and this is a big but, have you ever gone out to dinner and looked around and see “those people”… you know the ones who are on a date but they aren’t talking or looking at each other at all because there eyes are down and totally focused on their electronic device screens! Have you ever been “those people?” I think we all have! It’s so hard because these days we are so extremely connected and locked in that it’s hard to put the phone down and actually be present with the people you love! So on one hand, you gain connection and intimacy with people but on the other hand, your losing connection and intimacy with those your living with and have chosen to spend your life with! It’s such a hard balance! Tuck and I have a rule, no cell phones at the dinner table or after 530 pm. It’s a great rule. There’s a problem with the rule though… once dinner is over and Linc’s in bed it’s like the rule is lifted and it’s ok for electronic device time and it’s right back on. It’s like permission granted and eyes down once again. It’s such a hard thing to navigate and who’s to say what’s too much time or what’s right or wrong. It’s a personal choice and every family is different.
We all laugh about the dinner couple, we laugh because we know it’s true. We laugh because we’ve been the dinner couple. We laugh because it’s awkward and we hate to admit we’ve all been there. We laugh because we all want to change it but we accept that it’s a truth too!
IT HELPED ME REMEMBER MY CHILDHOOD:
I grew up in the 80’s (shout out to everyone else who did!!) and we didn’t have cell phones! When we played, we came home at a time our parents had designated or when the street lights came on. When we went out as a family, that was our plan for the day and that was it. If someone wanted to reach us, they called the house phone and left a message on the machine. It was so simple and actually in hindsight much better for the family unit. You made your family plan and you stuck with it. There were no interruptions during the family outing and guess what: mom and dad weren’t constantly checking in on social media or taking work calls or checking e mail! Family time was exactly that: family time! Everyone was completely plugged in, 100%. A beach day was just a beach day! There were no status updates or pictures taken to shout to the world “hey look at us, aren’t we so awesome and cool!” Pictures were taken purely for family legacy! Baseball games were enjoyed by the whole family and dinner was just a family dinner were stories were shared! What a great time to grow up a be a child. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing Linc a disservice. I document his every move and is that a good thing or a bad thing?! I think for our own family legacy it’s a great thing, but sometimes I wonder about social media. I realized this week, I’m all too distracted by my phone. I need to worry more about giving him my full attention now while he demands and wants it before that’s gone and he’s off with his friends; and worry less about likes on social media!
Sometimes I even notice a difference in his behavior. If I’m on the phone, distracted and not giving him my full attention; I notice that his behavior isn’t as great as sI would like it to be. He becomes frustrated easier, has more tantrums and generally is just grumpier. And why not: his mom isn’t fully present with him. Moms: Have you noticed the same?
Why would I not want to change that when the solution is so easy!!!
CREATING A NEW INTENTIONAL ROUTINE:
Leaving my phone has opened my eyes and allowed me to see that I need to create a new intentional routine! Seeing all these things that I’ve listed above: that I’ve been using my phone as a filler because I can’t sit still or focus on just one task. That we are so connected on our phones that we aren’t truly connecting and investing time into the people we are doing life with and then probably most importantly remembering how I grew up! I realized that I want to truly be mindful and intentional now of how I use my phone and my electronic devices. I mean hey, I have to use my phone and social media for my business so I can’t truly escape it, but I can choose HOW I use it and WHEN I use it. I do want to give Linc the same kind of attention and family time that I had when I was a kid, so I am going to start shutting my phone completely off when I’m with him, that way the temptation isn’t even there to start! I think on weekends when we are out as a family that’s a great place to totally disconnect! During office hours, I will keep my phone on but after that in the evenings when Tuck gets home from work, my phone will be turned off as well so I can truly be present for him as a wife and Linc as a mom. We have a house phone so in an emergency situation we can be reached and that’s really all that matters! I realized I have less anxiety when I don’t check in and I’m not plugged in and that’s a great feeling!
What do you think friends?! Will you join in with me on this challenge? Are you feeling the same way I am with the cell phone connectivity and push and pull?!
Do you struggle with wanting to disconnect?
Have you ever done anything like this or left your phone behind?
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!!!!
Photo Cred: The amazing Terri Z