(Before I begin, day 75 of this journey saw, apparently, another game of the season, with my Bombers snatching a one point win. No, really, this is going great!)
I often feel too connected.
One of the subjects I have been engaging with over the past couple of months has been this ‘issue of connectedness’. Having an iPhone means that I am constantly aware of incoming emails on top of the usual texts that come my way. I am not someone who is able to ‘leave it until later’. I like a clean house and I like a clean inbox. This leaves me with a grating feeling if something has buzzed in my pocket and I haven’t checked it, or got back to someone who has been in contact with me.
I wish I could just let it go; I really do. But I hate unfinished jobs and only really relax when everything at hand is under control. I am therefore, set to be a shockingly anxious parent. tmi, I shall move on!
I am amazed at people who say, ‘Oh yeah, I meant to get back to you on that,’ or (3 days later), ‘Sorry, I was going to call you.’ Please note that I said, ‘amazed’, not ‘p!ssed off’ or ‘ready to smack them upside the head’. I have learnt that some people just aren’t quick repliers. In many ways, I envy them. (It’s the complete non-repliers who have a mortgage on busyness that deserve the smackdowns. I’ll move on before bitterness sets in!)
Add to the this the fact that I have non-stop net access and my brain struggles to switch off. Like most, I love the web and access a whole host of different sites, though that has decreased these last 78 days! Whether it be at breakfast, toilet, waiting for someone for a drink, long red light in the rubbish Melbourne traffic – out comes the iPhone for the latest news, Words with friends or (rarely) Facebook viewing.
The added element of sport
Having internet access on my phone also means that, although I am not watching sport, I can have real-time access to scores at any given time. I am handling the ‘no sport watching’ pretty well so far. 10 weeks has past so far and in some respects, it’s ‘just what I do’. That doesn’t mean that I have lost interest altogether, however.
It’s taken some discipline to get to this point and will take even more to ‘step it up’ and remove myself from in-game score updates or game by game results. And even that is at a level below Devin Rossiter, who wouldn’t even engage in sports talk and fined himself money for receiving sports news, which he then passed on to charity.
The end goal here isn’t to replicate Rossiter’s strategies. This started for me before I even knew of him. It’s not, however, exactly a profound lifestyle shift when I get multiple score checks during the course of a game. I may as well be watching the damn thing.
A chance for a change
The thing is, my phone contract is almost up.
In a couple of months, I have the opportunity to go ‘back’ to an old flip phone that I used to use and love. I’ve got one at the moment as a business phone and it’s fantastic. Easy to use, compact; no web access.
At the moment, I am limiting the quality of my down time and not allowing myself to mentally switch off by having non-stop access to the net. So, like soft drink and junk food on weekdays, if it’s not in the house, I can’t have it.
I don’t want to replicate the mindless mentality from the classic ‘I don’t care’ clip (please excuse the french) and just ‘upgrade’ because I’m due. The decision hasn’t necessarily been made to go back to an old phone. My wife’s eyes widened when she knew I was even considering it!
But I love the concept and discipline of going without. Always have. It’s laughable I know for a middle-class Melbournian to proffer such thoughts, considering the pervasive poverty in other parts of the world, but we live in the tight grasp of the disease of more.
I want to thoughtfully wrestle with these types of decisions that affect my ability to both engage with the important and transcendent in life and to purposefully disengage from all the noise of a day in suburbia telling me what to watch, buy and how to perceive the value in myself. I’ve even been encouraged by Erica Douglass’ idea of going a month without email. I’m yet to hear how that has transpired, but stories like these promote different choices in this increasingly pressurised consumerist environment to keep up.
Plus, the ease of opening and turning off the flip phone vs the iPhone? It’s not even close!