I thought of this little phrase the other day when I caught myself reaching for my phone out of habit. I've been doing that a lot lately. Whenever there is an instant my mind is not immediately occupied, my hand reaches for my phone—usually without conscientious consent—and from there my mind goes blurry with media I really don't need to see. And how much precious time is wasted scrolling down my screen? That, I don't think I want to know the answer to...
I remember how the days before smart phones seemed so much longer and so much more detailed. My attention wasn't so limited; and I remembered things far better BECAUSE of my breadth of attention. It's easy to dismiss this as the glory of a younger mind, but I know I could still have this clarity, because I have it every time my phone dies or has no service. When I lived off the grid, this was one of the most liberating aspects: I reached for my books in place of my phone, because my phone had no service.
And oh, the number of books I read then...
Since I transitioned from that off-grid life, can you believe that I haven't finished a single book? In case you didn't know, it's been more than a year. I've tried reading several books, but my attention is wasted on the social media (and depressing news articles) I spend far more time on.
And besides reading books, I've become far less productive in many other ways.
I think many of us can agree that our phones, and social media, have a toxic effect on our lives. While it may be impractical to remove ourselves from them totally, we can certainly stop our hands from reaching for them every chance they get.
I, for one, am sick of this toxicity. I consider myself a highly sensitive creature, and the media (not to mention the radiation) I consume truly harms me as a person. So I'm going to retrain my brain to reach for a book instead of my phone. When I'm home, I'm going to set my phone in a location I cannot easily reach, and instead, keep a book or two accessible on the counter top. Hopefully soon I will forget about my phone in most instances, and, even if I don't immerse in a book, free myself from the media-trap I've been ensnared in for months. I will also carry with me my DSLR camera to prohibit the convenience of using Instagram to capture all my favorite moments as they happen. To reinforce this, I will do twenty push-ups every time I end up surrendering to a mindless scroll. (I like this kind of reinforcement whenever I try to break a habit, because I end up getting SUPER SWOLLLL)(juuuust kidding)(kinda).
Now, I'm not bidding a forever farewell to my phone and social media...just my compulsion to scroll for no good reason. So if you see me online, (hopefully) I'm on there for a purpose, like to post this! And if it's not for a purpose, know I'm doing my 20 push ups and getting ripped for summer.
If you feel the same way I do, I would love for you to join me! You can either try it my way or come up with your own method. Let me know if you do it, and how you did it, so I can learn from you. <3
(Let's do this now so we don't end up like Gaston later)