The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.
– Margaret Heffernan
Back in the days when smartphones or even the cellular phones were non-existent my friends and I would plan to meet-up on the weekend and we will just set the time and place. Saturday comes and we will show up early, late or on time. Most times, I would be early and I would wait 30 minutes to an hour, there was even a time I waited 2 hours without the convenience of texting “where are you?”, I just had faith in my friends. If a friend failed to show up, i go home and move on, maybe something came up and we hope for them to be alright. Then I will just either call my friend on the landline if they have one or wait until Monday to confront them “you flake! what the heck happened?” And we are still friends. Now, with just sending a text you can get a last minute update if they can make it or not. If you don’t get a reply or you’re being ignored a.k.a. “Ghosting” you feel bad and you have all this bad thoughts popping in your head. Then you decided to push the button “unfollow” or unfriend”. Just like that, relationship is over.
I attended a seminar recently and while on a 10 minute break I went to the restroom. There were 4 people in line before me and as I look at our reflection in the mirror in front of us I thought it was funny, all four of them with bowed heads and their two hands on their phone. Exactly the same posture looking like robots, their noses down their digital devices like they were chained and is slave to it. You get the picture?
At that moment I wished i had my phone with me, not because I want to be like them but because I want to take a picture of them and show it to my husband. Who for sure will have a look of disapproval and probably laugh and say something like this, “You can be one of them, a phone addict.” When we are together quality time for him means getting off any digital device and be present in our moment. I would often come up with reasons like… but it’s for work, it’s family, i’m doing research or googling for learning, shopping for pantry, for business, for study, … and so on and so forth. They are all good reasons mind you BUT, we are so glued to it that we forget how to socialize, connect and be fully present with those around us at the very moment. I get it, there is so much that we can do with this small device it’s so amazingly powerful we can do anything and everything with it. Wrong, it actually runs our lives. If we are not mindful that we get so obsessed with it, we become crippled. Life seem to be over and the world stops turning when it’s not there. Nomophobia. To many, it’s like a security blanket.
How can you tell when you are a phone addict?
- It’s the first thing you reach for the moment you wake up. Seriously, your phone doesn’t feed you. Say a prayer to start your day and reach out for those who gives you warmth.
- You always take a selfie, not a day goes by. Maybe you are a Narcissist maybe you are not. When I was grieving few years back I did it very often, I can’t explain why really probably out of loneliness and the desire to be acknowledge that I was doing great or that I was still cool despite of. It helps maybe for a time just to stay connected and not shut others out of our lives. But at some point you got to live in the real world and not let the likes or thumbs up define you because you are enough maybe even more than enough. So get out there and live. Never mind if it doesn’t get posted as long as you know you seized every moment. And you savored it. Here’s a secret: The world doesn’t care how you look when you wake up in the morning. But people will remember how you made them feel.
- If you are not taking a selfie you take pictures of your food in every single meal. Unless you own a restaurant, food blogger, chef or a food critic doing food reviews, I don’t see any reason why you need to let the world know what you eat all the time. Just enjoy the food and have good conversation with the people in your dinner table.
- You have the Tech Neck. Always looking down on your phone gives you a bad posture. And then you whine your neck, shoulder and back are sore. You scroll down on every newsfeed for all the social media app in your phone and you don’t even notice you wasted hours you can never get back when you could have done something more productive. Move more. Look up and notice things around you. Don’t let life pass you by.
- You stalk. STOP. If it’s something to do with trust, know that it’s a waste of time. Talk and express yourself, you get answers faster. If you still do it after you have answers maybe it’s time to ask yourself, Is this how I want to live? Do I need this in my life? If it’s anxiety or insecurity get your shit together and focus on constantly improving yourself instead of comparing yourself to others. Get off your phone.
- You are so engrossed with your phone that you don’t notice you got robbed, a kid gets kidnapped, you got hit by a car while crossing the street texting, you forgot the food in the oven it burned, you were too busy taking videos in the crowd and there were gunshots out of nowhere, heck you may be one of those unfortunate ones if you were not paying attention of your surroundings. These are events that can happen to anyone and sadly it did happen to some people. Please be mindful of your surroundings, it only takes seconds to lose something, even a life.
- It’s the last thing that you look at before you close your eyes at night. *Sigh* We have a rule in the house, No phones in the bedroom. We used to have it as an alarm but now we got this vintage looking analog clock to wake us up. It’s so loud it might wake up your neighbors. LOL! But it gets us up in the morning without having to look at our phones first thing that probably has tons of notifications. Anyway, end your day with gratitude in mind. Enough said.
The smartphone is a great invention, it does make our lives easier. However, be ever mindful how you use it that it doesn’t control you and your relationships. Be present and give someone your full attention today. You are not only doing the person a wonderful thing but you are giving yourself a life that doesn’t need thumbs up or validation from others. Own it.