So, let me start off by saying, I’m fully aware that the title of this post, plus the image (the only image, mind you) of this post being a falafel sandwich….probably makes me look like a giant hippie stoner, but I assure you I’m not at all. Imagine me getting high with a falafel in hand… with anxiety? I wouldn’t even ever want to see that. Okay, yes, I’m a little bit crunchy, I’ll take that, but that’s pretty much my guaranteed extent of it. It just so happens that this image (plus one of my feet propped up on a friends coffee table, eating pizza— again not helping my cause) is the only picture I took in a whole entire weekend. Not this weekend, but the one before.
It’s a little bit crazy, right? In a world where my smart phone lives in my back pocket, and we’re so tuned into every current event, pop culture success or fail, or breakfast meal someone is eating on the other side of the world… to not have my phone, turned on, tuned in, and living my life with me. But I like when that is my normal, the occasional disconnect. Don’t get me wrong. I love my phone. I love the internet. I love the speedy and positive connections of social media. It’s all a huge part of my life. But man, I also love to just turn on, tune in, and drop out. I like to put my phone down for hours or almost days at a time, sometimes. Because, let’s be real, unless you’re a doctor or in another emergency profession, or unless your kid is off somewhere where they might need you, it’s probably a good thing to put down your phone. I mean, if you decided to be like “you’re right, shutting laptop now!” in the middle of this post, I wouldn’t fault you or be hurt. I’d give you a virtual high-five….. except you would miss it since you just intentionally decided to turn off… but hey, that’s more than okay, that’s life.
I’m not sure I remember the world of cell phones before the smartphone, photo taking capabilities, instagram, and whatever else. I know I had a phone in college. I got a phone when I started driving, but other than that snake eating the apple game, I don’t remember much. We’re all tied to our phones now, myself included. The more my phone could do, the more I loved it, especially when it had the power to take decent quality photos. Breast-feeding? My phone was my best friend. Post breast-feeding, I was still on that damn phone all the time. It was like an easy, no harm, addiction I created in the hours of silence. I still use my phone a lot. I still take a lot of photos when the moment strikes. But now, I’m okay putting the thing down and forgetting about it for a little bit… or even a really long time.
I’m trying to figure out that balance. A year and a half after breast-feeding (the peek of my cell dependency), I’m figuring out the proper time and spacing of how long is okay or not okay to be on my phone (a self made guideline, of course). A lifetime of being obsessed with pictures (most crappy and some good ones), I’m trying to remember that a camera on a cell phone is not a reason to ALWAYS have it by my side. Sure, it’s a bit different in blogging, or any more social type profession, when the point is to be tied to and sharing— but regardless, there still needs to be and always is a balance of what is for here, what is for my friends and family, and what is just for me. In the rare, awkward moment that I try to describe my take on this blog to someone, it’s: live first, write later—- something I suppose could apply to outlets of social media. I’m not at all saying that there’s something wrong with wanting to connect instantly. Instant gratification always feels good, no one can deny that. And we as humans, thrive off relationships with others, even our relationships through boxes. I’m not an expert, nor would I want to be (or try to be), but balance is key.
I think it’s a good idea to intentionally tune out for a while. To be present in whats in front of you, good and bad. To really experience something without the disruption of a screen lighting up, or a sarcastic text from a friend, or the stack of emails you might have to get back to. It can be a hard task these days, sometimes it feels impossible. But it’s good to put all of that on hold for a bit, to thrive in our current experiences. A balance of tuning in and tuning out— to be fully alive, and not half there in our lives. I’m working on mine.