I like my smartphone. I like it too much. I reach for it when I wake up in the middle of the night. I have a tough time turning it off at the movies or keeping it in my pocket at dinner. My heart skips a beat when I drive away realizing I left it behind on the counter. I like to have Robin drive so that I can read Facebook. I’ve got it bad.
Social media felt like my only connection to life for the year I spent laying on my couch either hoping for a transplant or recovering from the transplant that came. I’m serious. I think I might have gone insane without it. My phone and my xbox was about all I had day after day when Robin headed for work.
The problem is that I’m now addicted and need to break the dependency. Weird, huh? I mean, I came through the whole transplant thing having taken a number of class 2 narcotics without a single addiction. These were the type that you have to show your license to pick up and have the doctor prescribe every single month. I have built up a tolerance to pain killers because of them. The docs watched me for signs of dependency. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I hated the foggy feeling pills gave me even though I loved being in less pain.
I’ve watched the videos of families sitting together but far apart, each person holding their own electronic device. I watched packs of teenagers walk past my office not talking to each other but all either texting or talking on their phones. I am genuinely sad each time I witness people separated by electronic walls.
But, I am one of them.The truth hit me the last time my oldest son and his wife visited. At one point I looked around and counted the forcefields each of us had around us. I had my tablet on my lap, my son Josh had his oversized phone in front of his face, his wife Kristen’s laugh while watching a video on her phone was what made me even look up and my wife had a laptop computer on her lap. The only one not absorbed by some electronic gadget was my dog, Pompom. Perhaps she was the one watching the TV mounted in its prime position on the living room wall, blaring away unnoticed.
“These are the people I love,” I thought, “Why am I looking through Reddit? Why do my 1024 friends on Facebook get this time while my family is here with me?” (Yes, 1024 friends. I told you it was bad.)
I am determined to break my addiction in 2015. I may have to be the annoying dad who takes everyone’s phones and computers and locks them away when we gather. I’m going to leave my phone at home on purpose. Airplane mode is going to get more use in 2015. I may even rename it “presence mode.”
Forgive me if I don’t get right back to you when you text … or comment … or tag me …or snap … or Instagram … or email … or …
I’m sorry. I’ll be walking my dog and paying attention to my wife. I’ll be playing “The Game of Things” with my family, watching a movie with my dad or enjoying conversation with whoever I am with at the moment. Maybe I’ll even read a real paper book or two. Maybe I will start writing again. I’ll get back to you. Leave a message at the beep.
This year I don’t really want presents. I want presence. I want to give presence and I want to receive presence.
Sorry clickbait, you’re going to have to wait no matter how “incredible” or “mind blowing”whatever it is that happens at 1:08 in your video is. No, I don’t care what number 18 is on your list of 38 things that I have to see. It won’t take me from people present anymore.
No, I’m not going to post that I’m leaving Facebook so I can see how many people beg me not to. I’m not leaving, I’m just going to try to consume less.
It’s time for me to break this addiction.
Where should I start?