My second home is a Southwest airplane. On average, I fly every other week either for business or personal excursions. Due to the frequency at which I travel, I like to think that I have established a pretty decent routine that helps me make each flight on time and in one piece; however given that I am human, snafus occasionally occur.
A few Saturdays ago at the West Palm Beach airport, I thought that I had lost my cell phone. I carried out my typical routine: dropped off the rental car, took the shuttle, checked my bag, went through security, ordered a drink at an airport bar. Except as soon as my drink (tequila on the rocks with a lot of lime, in case you’re wondering) landed on the bar napkin in front of me, I realized that my cell phone was nowhere to be found. My first reaction was “Ack!” and I thought about downing my drink and retracing my steps in hopes of recovering my phone ASAP. But after the initial shock wore off, strangely I found myself lingering to get up and find it. Partly because I thought it’d be a bad idea to guzzle a cup of tequila in the middle of the afternoon, partly because I started fantasizing about what it would really be like to be phone-less for a few hours or *gasp* days. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to Insta-stalk my network or respond to all of my texts in real time, but aside from those inconveniences – what would I really be missing? All that mulling lead me to ask myself the real question – what could I actually gain by paying more attention to my surroundings instead of defaulting to my iPhone for endless entertainment?
The unexpected happiness I kinda sorta felt at the prospect of not having a phone for a weekend made me realize how unhealthy my relationship with it is. I compulsively check my phone, day in and day out. I check it when I’m sitting at a red light, as soon as my get out of yoga class, while I’m cooking, before I go to sleep – you get the gist. Basically all the damn time.
On really busy days I may not respond to every ding, buzz, and alert immediately but somewhere in my subconscious I start processing and mulling over the barrage of information that I constantly receive on my purple cover-clad time thief. My phone is my lifeline to work and to my loved ones, many of whom live many miles away. While it is the tool via which I am able to capture and share many memories with my family and friends, it is also the barrier that often prevents me from fully living in any given experience.
Since that incident I’d like to say that I have implemented new habits and effectively kicked my addiction, but truthfully I have not…just yet. They say awareness is the first step change so now that I know that I have a problem, it’s on me to start correcting it.
Wish me luck! (in person though, not on my cell phone). 😉