Thursday, August 23, 2012

Smart Phone, Stupid Habit

This morning I spent an hour looking for my iPhone. I searched in all the usual places: under the covers of my bed, the bathroom counter, my desk... I even went outside onto the back porch to see if I left it on the railing when I let the dog out and opened the washing machine to see if it could have fallen in. It was nowhere to be found. I checked all of its usual hiding places again... and again... and again.

In a near panic, I opened my laptop and sent my husband an urgent message. "I can't find my phone anywhere! Will you call me?"

I was ready to make my rounds again listening for the familiar vibrating I hear 10,000 times a day. I'd have to move quickly from room to room so I wouldn't miss its subtle buzz.

Finally, my husband answered. "Dude. I have you phone!" (Yes, my husband addresses me as "Dude" half the time. Isn't that sweet?) "I have no idea how that happened. I'll bring it to you. Give me 15 minutes." Phone thief. He must have picked it up by accident thinking it was his.

Relief.

As I was waiting for my beloved to arrive (the phone, that is... well, the husband, too), it dawned on me how completely ridiculous the whole interaction was--and how dependent I am on my iPhone. When I lose it the first places I look are in my sheets and my bathroom counters? What is wrong with this picture!? Ridiculous!

Then I panic. What if someone tried to send me a text message and I missed it? What if my daughter does something cute and I can't take a picture of it and immediately post it to Facebook? What if I wanted to walk away from my computer.. and I couldn't refresh my email inbox every 30 seconds? What if it was lost forever?!

It's true. Smartphones have dramatically changed our lives. But they also have robbed us of the ability to live our lives without constant worry. Actually, it's not fair to blame the technology--I should blame my inability to create boundaries for the use of the technology instead. It's ironic, though, that I feel like I can't be without my phone for an hour because I might miss something, when on a daily basis I actually spend so much time refreshing the browser on my phone--or computer, or tablet, or other tablet (I have one upstairs and one downstairs.. yes, really!)--that I'm missing out on things that are actually happening right in front of me. You can bet that when the day seems to get away with me and I've accomplished little it's because I was so worried about what was happening in the virtual world that I wasn't present in the real world for an entire day. It's sad. And it's STUPID.

How do you create boundaries around technology so you can enjoy your life more fully, more mindfully, and live in the present? Obviously, I could use some pointers.