Let’s go back for a minute. Back to when going up a shoe size was exciting (because you were in competition with your friend, of course) and ice cream had no calories. Do you remember what morning grass smelled like and how it felt on your toes? Do you remember looking up at the stars and thinking simultaneously that you were so small and yet had the world at your fingertips?
I remember taking in so much more then and so much less at the same time. I took in the world around me; whereas now, I take in more “information.” I read emails, scroll social feeds, read books, and check the news – all on my phone and in between activities. Our mind doesn’t wait anymore. As we stand in line to check out at the supermarket, we check our phone. Traffic light? Check the phone. Waiting on the elevator? You got it.
Now, I like I a smart phone. It keeps me in touch, informed, and entertained. Problem is, I’ve noticed I don’t “see” my environment the way I used to. I used to think it was because I had become and adult and there were just too many things to think about and do. That’s probably true. However, I think the majority of the blame could go to the smart phone. Shoot, you don’t even get to awkwardly stand on the sidelines until you find a conversation to join at parties or get togethers. You are important, so you’re on your phone. You have a crutch.
What do we do? I could tell you to put your phone away, turn it off, etc. But, if you’re like me, your cell phone is your only phone – you have no landline. I have a few practical suggestions, but the fact is nothing will change if you don’t want it to. If you wish you had more time to: read, cook, sleep, play – then cut the information umbilical cord.
- Be conscience of what you’re doing! It’s easy to subconsciously whip out your phone and get lost in the rabbit hole. But, if you catch yourself on your phone while your kid is playing, put it away and get out your imaginary tea party invitation.
- Turn the volume up – and leave it on the counter. If you get a call, you’ll hear it. Text messages or push notifications? Leave it. I could suggest turning off the notifications, but again, these are practical tips.
- Play Candy Land or Go Fish. Do you remember how much fun “real” games used to be? Your children may not if they are always playing electronic games. A little nostalgia is always nice too. I’ve been to board game parties and they are super fun. Just ask guests to bring over their favorite game and play a few throughout the evening.
- Set expectations. If it’s work or someone you talk with regularly, let them know that you may not always answer right away, but you will get back to them within a certain amount of time. We’ve let technology dictate that we are, and should always be, available. Why is it if you don’t answer a text within a couple of hours you wonder if that person is upset with you?
- Go outside. It’s easy to sit on your duff and play with your phone. But, outside activities can make your phone vulnerable to the chance of getting smashed. For such reason, you’ll put your phone away and perhaps enjoy a skinned knee or a mosquito bite. Takes you back doesn’t it?
All I’m suggesting is we be more mindful in what we’re doing, because in the long run time is all we have. I want to remember the details, not just a blur of highlights. Stop and smell the roses, honesysuckles, burnt spaghetti, coffee, dog poop – whatever is around you. Take a big ,deep breath, and enjoy the day.