I have a love/hate relationship with my mobile device. Since I was a teenager, I’ve owned a cell phone. And no, not because my parents gave way and gave me everything I wanted, but because my dad is always ahead of the times, and dropped his landline in 1999. The next year, after he grew tired of his daughter using his personal phone to call her twenty-five eighth-grade friends, he bought us cell phones.
And I haven’t used a landline since. (Pause for dramatic effect.)
While I feel very grateful for this, and am by no means wishing I grew up in a log cabin, I also feel the tiring effects of being hyper-connected. All I’ve known is connectivity and constant availability, as I’m sure many my age feel the same. I’m available all the time because I always have my phone, and if I don’t respond to texts, something is surely wrong. When in reality, sometimes I just leave it at home, because I want to go somewhere and be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually present. Let’s face it, I’m a spaz on my own; I don’t need the help of technology.
So if you’ve texted me lately and I haven’t responded until the next day, it’s because I’ve started turning my phone off before I go to bed. Or if you called me a few nights ago and I didn’t call you back until the next day (or the day after…), it’s because I left my phone in the car before I went into our friends’ house, so that I could just focus on the people I was with instead of checking my phone/email/texts/instagram/Facebook/Twitter/etc. every hour making sure no one desperately needs me (as if I am that important).
I think all of us could learn a bit from disconnecting. Not in an extreme, “I’M NEVER GOING TO BE ON FACEBOOK AGAIN!” type way. But in a, “You know what? I need to make steps to be more present with the people I’m actually sitting with,” way. What about you? Do you feel hyper-connected? Have you taken steps to disconnect from technology to be more present with the people in your day-to-day life? What have you found that works? What doesn’t work?