Cell phones have changed the world. At their first conception, they allowed you to transmit your voice to someone that was not near you. They then evolved to allow you to send a text message to someone digitally. Nowadays, you can be tethered to the world-wide web, creating an online business with people you have never met, and generating an income all from your toilet seat. And it appears that evolution has only just begun.
Phones are now being combined with things that are always with you so that you can never forget to stay connected. You can wear them on your wrist, you can wear them on your face, and there are even conversations of having them injected into our skin. This way you can always get offended at Uncle Tim’s political views 24/7 with literally no effort. Thank goodness.
With all of this advancement in technology you have everything you could ever need at your fingertips. If you are hungry, just order food from your favorite restaurant, instantly. Need a new book or TV show to binge? Download instantly. Need to poop? Get up and go poop. Seriously, how lazy are you? But what is now harder than ever to find is…. Happiness. You can’t sleep at night anymore. You wouldn’t dare sit in silence without turning on that always ready tiny glowing screen. You are crippled by that little piece of glass so much so that if you went as far as the car to your apartment door without the thing in hand your heart skips a beat and you experience a brief moment of panic.
So, when is it that these devices cross the line? When is it that we have advanced this technology too far that instead of enhancing our abilities as a human race, it actually begins to hinder us as individuals? The truth is that that line was crossed a long time ago.
You have already been conditioned to function only in the radius of a cell tower or WiFi hotspot. Now you struggle to sleep at night without getting your last little dose of tiny screen light. Now you have no idea how to solve a problem without first consulting your Google assistant. Now people are giving up what it means to have a real relationship with another human being for the chance to swipe right on a few more people that you are not even sure are real. You phone is sucking you dry of the only real currency anyone has: time.
Don’t believe me? Fine, the next time you have to go take a crap, don’t bring your phone or tablet with you to the bathroom. It will literally be the shortest poop you have ever taken, yet it will seem like you sat there forever.
What happened to us being able to think. What happened to people actually talking to others face to face? What happened to being able to figure out how to fold your child’s diaper without googling it first? Have we really continued to develop, or have these tiny blessings come in disguise as a sinister curse and has caused us to develop backwards? Children have trouble learning how to read and write and do basic arithmetic, but they could tell you how to connect to the WiFi and pull their favorite TV show up within seconds!
So, what is the point of all of this? I am not all that against cell phones. I think that it is awesome that we can stay in contact with everything that is important in our world no matter where we are, but what are we considering important anymore? When was the last time you scrolled through your Facebook feed because you were genuinely curious how your friends from high school were doing? When was the last time you went to sleep without staring into that tiny glowing abyss?
What if I told you that the reason you can’t sleep at night is your phone? What if I told you that you couldn’t find happiness because you have been expecting it to pop out of that screen like a genie from a lamp? What if I told you that your anxiety issues begin with that little piece of plastic because you have become terrified of being alone with your own thoughts for more than a second?
In my experience, I have learned that temporarily severing the ties with my phone and the rest of the world has enhanced my life beyond measure. The conversations I have been able to have with people, and the level of connection I have been able to create by setting aside my phone for a couple of hours is incredible. The level a conversation can go when you are giving it your full attention as opposed to pulling yourself out of it every minute to look at your phone is amazing. The depth is so much more satisfying than anything a phone can provide. Some people say that they have trouble creating a connection with others. That they don’t feel cared about. But then when they are in a situation where that can really strengthen the bond with another person, they spend the whole freaking time on their phone. How many times in the past week have you been in a room with others and everyone is on their phone? They are interacting with things that mean absolutely nothing to them, rather than spending time with people that matter the world to them. Does that make any sense? NO! It doesn’t! Yet this has become the norm. That is terrifying. I fear that the generations to come will never even meet each other. They will all exist digitally and nothing tangible will matter. The machines are taking over in a much more terrifying way than any movie or TV show has portrayed. They have taken over our minds. We worship these things and don’t even realize it. Our attention span has been shortened to that of a guppy. Even as I write this podcast/blog, I feel an urge to flip my phone over and scroll through my feeds. I’m not immune to it, either. It is a constant battle we all face, and it is quite possibly the most important war that has ever been waged. The war for our own minds.
I’m not suggesting we all move to the trees and revert back to cavemen. What I am suggesting is that you learn how to live without your phone. If that sounds crazy, that means that it is that much more of an emergency. Be able to fall asleep without checking your social media feeds. Be able to sit on a bus without looking at your phone. DEFINTELY be able to go on a car ride without checking your phone while you are driving. If you do this, you will notice that there was so much you were missing. The important things are often not on your phone. The important moments. The parts of your life that are going to flash before your eyes when the bell tolls are the memories you made when you were laughing with your family and friends. When you were holding your kid close and listening to what they did at school that day. When you were doing yard work with your brother and fixing up the living room with your mom. Never ever give up the little things for what your phone offers, which is what so many of us have done without even asking questions. You can’t live in the digital world. When everything comes to an end, all you are going to have are the memories you made. Do you want all of those memories to be all of the memes you shared or the followers you got? Set yourself free. Turn off the data to your phone so only emergencies comes through. Be free. Don’t watch a video of someone else flying. Spread your own wings. Feel the breeze on your own skin. See the world with your own eyes. I’m begging you. Set the cell phone down.
Thanks for reading! If this podcast meant something to you, share it in the place that you share things, be sure to check out the podcast of this post here, and stay tuned for the next post when I talk about happiness and what that even means.
Get out there, and get after it!