On breaking up with my phone – week three

Life

I am on week three of this experiment and I have a lot of random thoughts about it. I will share them here.

I have reached a point where I can leave a room and not have my phone attached to me. In fact, I have ditched my phone as an alarm clock and I keep it in another room at night to charge. Since I’ve done this I have slept better.

In general I am feeling happier and more at peace. I also feel more resilient. Before I started this, for awhile I’d lost my desire to do things that I like to do.  I didn’t really think it was depression. It was just a general sense of ennui. That is starting to lift and I’m finding my interest in things coming back.

The thing that I’ve liked about this program is that I don’t have to cut social media entirely out of my life. This has been really nice because I like checking in on what my friends on FB/IG/Twitter are up to. But it feels easier to place boundaries on it when I’m only doing it on my PC and not my phone. Though, I do feel like I could work on limiting my Social media visits even more. I’d like to limit my FB and Twitter visits to once a day or less.

The only two apps that I’ve deleted from my phone that I miss are Instagram and Strava. When this whole thing is over, I will reinstall IG, but maybe only focus on my photography account for awhile before diving into my personal account. Strava is nice because it gave me useful running stats that I’m missing. I don’t miss Facebook or Twitter or any of the others.

I decided on some ground rules for using my phone (and this comes directly from the book). I am not going to use my phone when I’m around other people. If I’m hanging out with another person, my task is to hang out and enjoy the company of the other person. If I am going to check my Instagram feed I’m going to set aside some time when I can look through it and enjoy it. Multitasking never worked for me. Also: no phone at the table while I’m eating!!

Yesterday I was working at the Mt Hood Farmer’s Market, representing the library booth. I didn’t have much to do except greet people coming and going. So I did a lot of people watching and I noticed the people in the other booths had their faces buried in their phones. Then later on when I was at the grocery store I noticed  that two kids  were wandering around the store staring into the phone. I’m totally not writing this to be judgmental because I am one of these people, I think we all are. It just struck me as odd yesterday when I noticed it.  There is this world happening right here, how on earth can  the phone be more interesting than what is going on out here in the real world?

I decided to stop using the website Goodreads entirely. A couple of weeks ago I went to edit some of my book information and Amazon was totally in-your-face trying to sell me books. I mean, it wasn’t even subtle. It bugged me. They are comodifying my reading and are so blatant about it. So I’m done. I’ve been keeping track of my reading in my Hobonichi anyway so I don’t really need it. Making this decision, I feel this intense sense of relief. I can just read a book and not share what I’m reading with the world, unless I want to. Wow. It’s weird how that makes me feel so free. I had no idea that the website had that effect on me to begin with until I felt the freedom from it that I do now.

The book is now instructing me to take 24 hours off from all screens. So no texting no email, no computer, no television, etc. So tomorrow after my run (because fuck that, I’m not turning off my music during my run), I’m cutting myself off from the Matrix for 24 hours. I’m kind of excited to see what I accomplish.

A note about the featured image: Almost exactly a year ago today I went on an unintended technology break when my phone’s battery died while camping. I spent 24 hours away from a screen of any kind. It was fucking fantastic. I took the featured (pinhole) photo during that time and I had to guess as to what I thought the exposure time should be. I think it turned out just fine without having to using the Pinhole Assist app!

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Plantation Garden, Norwich UK

Photography, Travel and Other Adventures

The last day we were in Norwich we visited a really beautiful Victorian garden tucked away amidst the busy city. It was a really nice, relaxing place. The place is called The Plantation Garden and you can read all about it here.  I took some pictures there:

 Plantation Garden Norwich UK

Plantation Garden, UK

Plantation Garden, Norwich UK

Secret Garden

The color shots are pinhole and they were made with a Terrapin Ace and Ektar 100 film. The black and white shot was made with an Olympus XA and Tri-x.

No one here gets out alive

Life

During a discussion at my meditation group one of our members recommended an app that reminds  users that they are going to die at random times throughout the day. I thought I’d give it a whirl so I downloaded it.

The idea seems really morbid. Indeed, the idea of thinking about death seems really depressing.  But my gut was nudging me to try it.

So the next day I downloaded the app (We Croak is the name of it) and proceeded to have my day interrupted by notifications on my watch and phone saying “remember, you are going to die.” The first few days in my head I would read, “remember you are going to die soon” but I realized the terrible error of my ways and corrected my brain.

So yeah, five times a day I get a gentle reminder that I am going to die, with a quote to ponder.

I like it.

Instead of making me depressed it has given me a profound sense of clarity. This little gentle reminder of my inevitable demise is like a knife that cuts through all of the bullshit. It is making me realize that my time on this planet is limited. So how am I going to spend my time? I feel like this tiny bit of clarity is helping me make better choices.  Do I want to spend the next 20 minutes scrolling through Facebook, or do I want to spend the next 20 minutes reading my book? Or sketching? Or writing a poem? Or, or, or.

It’s been an eye opening experience and one I highly recommend.

You can find more info about the app here.

Elm Hill, Norwich UK

Photography, Travel and Other Adventures

While we were in Norwich, our flat was near a really charming cobblestone lane that we walked on a lot to get from one place to another. It turns out that this is an historical place (but to be honest, what doesn’t have historical significance in Europe?). The place is called Elm Hill and I took a lot of photographs there. I watched a television documentary on Norwich that mentioned something important about the thatched roof building in a bunch of these photos, and I can’t for the life of me remember what that important thing was. And I can’t quickly Google it. But you can read about the history of it and the rest of Elm Hill here. 

 
Elm Hill 2

Elm Hill 1

Elm Hill

Elm Hill

Elm Hill
Incidentally, I had the best chat with the lady sitting on the bench in the Black and White photo. It turns out, she knew exactly where Portland, Oregon was because she had family living here. What are the odds?

Geeky Bits:

Cameras:
Reality So Subtle 6×6
Terrapin Ace
Olympus XA

film used:
Ektar 100
Tri-x

On Breaking Up With My Phone

Life

On a whim I picked up the book “How To Break Up With Your Phone.” It was on the new book shelf at the library and I thought I’d thumb through it just for laughs. It turns out, the book is really good.  As I read through the first half of the book I slowly realized that I am, indeed, addicted to my phone (as most everyone probably is these days). I decided I’d give the author’s 30 day plan to “break up with your phone” a try. Let’s just call it an experiment. To see what happens. To see how it affects my mental state and general mood.

I am on day 8 today and I already feel like a new person.

About 3 days in she instructs her readers to delete all social media from the phone. Don’t even think twice, just delete.

You know how when you pull a band-aid off and you know it’s best to just yank it off as fast as you can and it stings badly for a few moments but then it’s all fine? That’s how it felt the first day I deleted everything. I felt this moment of panic and then a sense of emptiness and then I realized that I would be OK. Deleting social media from my phone didn’t kill me.

She doesn’t say to, necessarily, delete social media from your life. Just delete it from you phone. So I’ve been checking in on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter a couple of times a day from my PC.

I also downloaded an app that monitors how much time I spend on my phone and can figure out how many minutes/hours I’ve spent on specific apps. The app is called Moment for those interested. The day I installed the app it stated I had spent 4 hours on my phone that day! And that was just from “momentarily” checking social media to fill in the empty spaces during the day. Four hours!

So now I have a 4 hour void to fill every day. It’s kind of nice! To start, I’ve been catching up on things I’ve neglected, like editing photos, and blogging. I actually read for an hour everyday last week. I organized my closet and books yesterday.

But I think the best thing so far is that I feel so much better mentally! As the book states, when we scroll through our endless feeds we experience a plethora of emotions as we see posts from different people. As a one of those Highly Sensitive types, this was making me insane. Today I feel less insane.