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!