Soon to be 2018
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night panic-stricken and the first thing I do, in order to calm myself down, is check the time. I grab my phone, realize it’s 3:00 am and tell myself I need to go back to bed. The panic leaves, reality sets in and in an instance I am back to sleep. Sometimes this panic comes from unchecked notifications, that’s when I realized I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone.
This unhealthy relationship with my phone has been something that has been consuming my thoughts a lot lately. I absolutely hate how much I am on my phone, and I even hate seeing other people on their phones as well. This has, unfortunately, lead me to become one of those people who complain about how much they hate something but has done absolutely nothing to change my present situation. Phones have become both annoying and inevitable.
I have found that my entire problem can be summarized into two main categories.
One, I love the fact that I can get so much done on my phone all the time. It’s a camera, a database of information, a note-taker, it provides me with entertainment, it instantly allows me to connect with anyone, I can check emails, deposit checks, read the news, listen to podcasts, and all the while it conveniently fits in my hand.
Two, I have found myself on an Instagram rabbit trail and have been lurking for hours only to find myself consumed with another human beings identity and am frantic and confused about how I got there and then find myself waking up in the middle of the night to check my notifications.
See the problem?
Back in July of 2017, I picked up a book called Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, that tells a love story that happens in Italy over a summer in the 80’s. I fell in love with the book immediately as it was the first to actively pull me out of the haze of nonfiction and biographies that I had fallen under over the past years. Then I heard that it was already a movie that played at Sundance in January of 2017, the general release wouldn’t be until December 2017. I waited, impatiently.
On December 15th I saw the film.
The movie was great. Not as good as the book, but great. I loved the whole story all over again, I loved the direction Luca Guadagnino took, I loved the picturesque setting, I loved the depiction of Elio and Oliver (right to left: Timothée Chalamet + Armie Hammer), and I loved how in the 80’s no one had a cell phone. Yep, that is exactly what I took away from the movie. Not one single person had a text to reply to. Not one single person took a selfie. Not one single person sat around by the poolside looking at Instagram photos. Instead, they read, they wrote, they rode bikes, they talked, they danced, they lived.
The movie made me green with envy of a time when I didn’t have a phone. In fact, I have even allowed myself at times to leave my phone at home when I don’t need it, and every time it feels as if I have taken a shot of espresso. I am awake, alert, aware.
Whenever I have taken moments away from my phone I feel as if I have just escaped mentally from the madness of the world and entered into a wormhole where the sky is bluer, the trees are greener, and everyone doesn’t know I exist because they are all glued to their phones.
I feel like since phones became a necessity, we have allowed habitually bad behavior into our world; which, if I had to guess, stops mental-expansion. In fact, I was reading something just the other day that stated that since the development of GPS we use our hippocampus in our brain less than ever before, which could reduce the function altogether as we age. Meaning, memory and navigation processes, like the ability to find new routes and identify shortcuts, might become less and less innate.
So what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to do anything? I have turned off my notifications from all of my apps and have even gone so far as to remove them from my screen and place them in a folder five pages away so I don’t rely on them as much. Will I still be connected? Will I seem out of touch?
I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but that’s where I am today. Which is also why I have been avoiding posting anything on Instagram of the late, as for my absentee month-long break from blogging, I can’t comment. I am beginning to feel like I want to be living alone on some beautiful island in the south of France, picking blueberries, and eating soft boiled eggs in my garden while listening to Chopin. Am I alone in this fantasy?