What Matters

ImageOn Wednesday, I made a big change. I put the phone down, and started living.

I don’t carry it around with me like a small token, or like a child with a blanket. I keep it in my purse when I’m out. I put it on the charger when I’m home. I haven’t ever had notifications on, except texts, so it doesn’t whirr, buzz, ding, or ring a whole lot anyway, and when it does…sometimes I just let it go.

Because guess what? If my whole family is here with me, then whatever is in that little rectangle is not an emergency and I can get back to it when I have time.

Earlier today, my youngest son had our neighbor over to play. Her mom and I were texting, and when we were done, I (naturally) went to check Twitter. The kids started talking to me, and I was immediately annoyed with them, wondering why they couldn’t stop bothering me when I was trying to read. Read tweets. (Mostly) from people I don’t know. I was BOTHERED by my son, and my neighbor who I love like my own child, because they were talking to me. And I remembered having this same feeling often, with both of my kids, because my phone was constantly planted in my hand, and I have been constantly engaged in other things. That’s when I knew my 2 days of disengagement meant a lifetime change for me. 

I’ve read blog posts from others where they apologize for being not engaged enough or too busy tending to the needs of their household or job or both to tweet or be on Facebook and don’t know what Google+ is. Why are they apologizing? We should look to them for direction about how to live a rich existence outside of this small rectangle woobie.

“A telephone is not a toy, but a useful and valuable tool.” 

-Carson, Downton Abbey

I’m very thankful to my real-life friend, Lisa, for posting this, and Hands-Free Mama for prompting her to give up a similar lifestyle. Is it easy? No. But is talking to my kids, and seeing their expressions, and knowing that they can see my eyes and know that I’m listening? That’s what will keep making it easier. You know what else? I’ve talked a few times here about smiling more and generally trying to be happier. I think this might be the answer. My brain feels more relaxed. I know that might sound weird, but it does. I don’t think we even realize how overloaded we are. In just two days, I feel less frazzled, and like I don’t have as much going on…because I don’t. 

Granted, there is a certain portion of the day that I must spend online for work, and I like it. I like social media, and blogs…reading and learning. I love garnering information and sharing it and seeing that information shared. I absolutely love being surrounded by smart conversation and talk about music and TV and things that I enjoy and love.

What I don’t love, is that I was not spending all of my work time doing those things-or even my recreational social media or phone time. I was spending time reading tweets or Facebook posts about things which I didn’t need to concern myself, and voyeuristically looking in on people attempting to tear apart each other’s lives (and yes, you and I both forget, there are REAL PEOPLE behind these little devices). I worried why this person or that person (ones I didn’t know in real life or hadn’t seen in years) had unfollowed or unfriended me when people that wouldn’t leave my side are right here…and I’m so wrapped up in something else, that I don’t even see that my behavior is a problem, and it’s affecting our family.

The effort to change must come from me, and I want it. I like how I’ve felt over the past couple of days. I like that my thoughts are changing toward social media. I want to maintain a good working environment at V3, and with the awesome relationships I’ve built there. I want to go forth with that job and that kind of work in mind and surround myself with people and information that are going to bring positive energy and “good food” to the table. I think I can do it. I will do it. Could you do it too?

About Laura

"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." -e.e. cummings
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9 Responses to What Matters

  1. Li Li says:

    GAH! Love this!! And you!

    And you are so right about feeling more relaxed. What used to be a mindless distraction turned into a constant pressure to reply, comment, like, accept, click and NOT.MISS.ANYTHING.

    This has turned into so much more than being engaged with my children…it’s now being engaged with LIFE.

    PS– LOVE that you quoted Carson. YOU WIN AT BLOGGING.

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, friend. And thanks for your inspiration. It’s really easier and easier the more days that go by, and knowing that you’re doing it too is helpful. REALLY. xoxo

  2. Naomi says:

    I actually keep my phone on the counter in the kitchen when I’m at home so I usually miss calls… even so, I spend way too much time on the computer. Checking email, proofreading stuff, organizing junk for the parents’ group, looking for a job. This is a good reminder to step away.

    • Laura says:

      I have a job that keeps me at the computer. I’m making an effort to spend that time at the computer working, vs. messing around. It’s not always easy.

  3. You have made my day … no, make that my week! I am touched, amazed, inspired by your honesty and desire to change. Thank you, thank you for sharing your struggles and your triumphs so that other people might do the same. I am truly grateful for your hear-felt words tonight. Will you keep me posted on your journey? I see a beautiful future ahead for you and your family! THANK YOU!

    • Laura says:

      Thank you for inspiring us! Really…I think everyone probably has a story to tell of spending too much time on the computer or on the phone. How can we not, these days? But man, just over a few days, I can see how much I have missed, and how much I have to look forward to, NOT tethered to a device constantly. It’s a lot more enjoyable. I will keep you posted, and intend to follow your blog too. Thanks again.

  4. I’ve been trying this more and more this past year. It drives Jeff nuts because I don’t always get his texts or calls. I don’t want to be like the WALL-E people. How satisfying it must be to feel the confirmation and know what you need to do. I know it’s something I need to work on, too.

    As an aside, thank you for always being such a great support and cheerleader to me. 🙂

    Steph

    • Laura says:

      Steph, you’ve always been a great friend. I can’t believe we’ve never met in real life. I hope we can at the end of March! I’m glad we’ve had this community to bring us together, and I’m glad that we will still have it here, when we have time to enjoy it. I think there’s a balance that’s healthy. We’ll find it. 🙂

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