You are my best friend, my smartphone. You communicate with me every minute of every day. If I would let you, you would snuggle me at night, wake me in the morning, and keep me company all day. You tell me the time whenever I want it, you play games with me, you let me write and edit and read all day long.
We go everywhere together. You’ve introduced me to new friends and reconnected me with old friends. You have encouraged me to call my mom when I am in the grocery to ask her about recipes, and you have let me know that my husband needs more ketchup. You show me pictures of PopPop’s garden and remind me that I need to make a hair appointment.
My kids think you are my best friend. My world came crashing down this morning when the baby said, “Mommy, phone down. Play.”
The sad truth is that I didn’t. See, I was in the midst of a really important article about alcoholism. Or perhaps it was about the gender wage gap, chicken dinner recipes, sugar detoxing, building your business, fun Halloween things to do, or…or…or….
(SIGH) I GIVE UP…
I have been fooling myself that I am present in the world because of you.
I can get things done (look, job search online at the DMV) or veg out (Candy Crush at the doctor’s office). I talk to people I haven’t seen in 20+ years more frequently than members of my own family. I like and pin and thumbs up and comment and tweet more than I actually speak to anyone. Every now and again, I have a conversation on the phone and IT FEELS WEIRD.
I have gotten so used to hiding behind you and having an edit button. When I actually speak to another human, I am not as smart, witty, kind, inspirational, or generous as I would like to be. Because you’ve made it really easy for me to measure my words, and get people to like me.
Yuck. I’m a phony—a phony who hides behind her phone.
What has me not want to be present to the life I am presently in? Why doesn’t the baby’s need for attention have me put you down and play with her? I used to know every freckle on my husband’s face, and now I know “Five Simple Steps to a Better Marriage.” I used to play on the floor and have dance parties, and now I turn on the TV to get away from the kids—if they are distracted, I too can be distracted. With you.
Smartphone, I can no longer be overstuffed on information and empty on substance. I can no longer scroll endlessly and click through in the hopes that this article will make me smarter, better, or well-informed.
I recognize that in writing this, I am adding to the junk, and for those that read this, most will do it on their phone, a phone that looks just like you. I am adding to the problem. I acknowledge it. I don’t have the answers; I am only on the journey.
Here is my commitment. When I have the urge to pick you up, I will wait. I will ask myself if I own you, or you own me?
I will get bored and read a book, or do laundry, or wash a dish. I will dream and write lists and have conversations. I will connect back to me, and what my goals and ambitions are, because, let’s be honest, I’m not sure I’ve really thought about that in a while. I will watch my kids discover, I will kiss and snuggle my husband more. I will get out from behind the endless scrolling and picture taking and posting and get on with being fully present in my life.
And you smartphone? You get to take a vacation in the kitchen cabinet, and I’ll come visit enough to make sure you know I am still here. I want you to know it’s not your fault. It’s mine. You are just doing your job.
Now it’s time for me to do my job of being present and active in my precious life.