Do you own a cell phone? Or does the cell phone own you? Likely you own one or more, and it is almost always within arm’s reach. We have our chargers, USB stations, cute cases, special purses, pockets, and compartments to house them. We rely on them for our cameras, music, email, text messages, internet, heart rate, steps, news, and weather to name a few. We simply cannot leave home without them. What if someone calls! It is impossible to not be available. And since we are all connected most waking hours, we guess that everyone else should be available too. Dubbed the new cigarette, we scroll while we are impatiently waiting online, at a red light, after meals, in the morning, before sleeping, and in free moments when our mind has a chance to just be. Instead, we reach for the phone.
Enter summer, where the short season on the east coast forces condensed relaxing, partying and downtime. We are making plans and in perpetual motion so of course we need to be reachable. At the same time, summer is for spending time in the water, on a surfboard, riding horses, boating, golfing, bike riding, and various activities in which it is nearly impossible to check our phones. Some still manage to do so, but it all can be a break from our phone habit. Most people start and end the day with what is on the phone, which is not only detrimental to our brains from the blue light but also to our spirit, as the information thrown at us clouds our thoughts for the day. We are not determining our own thoughts once we open the phone. Content on the phone will sometimes tell you what to think but always tells you what to think about.
If you are naturally easing off the phone because you are busy enjoying real life, maybe it is time to incorporate that into your routine beyond summer. Tolerate lulls on a line by observing your surroundings rather than wrecking your posture to stare at the device in your hand. Engage with people around you. Strengthen that mental muscle of embracing quiet time without the impulse to search for outside information and acknowledgement. Do you find yourself casting a wide net for attention, or are the target of someone else’s emotional lifeline for validation too often on that phone?
With spectacular weather, windows, and doors open, sunshine, and warm breezes, we may still depend on our phones but hopefully a little less as we soak up the limited season to be outside and feel freer. Let’s keep that going.
You are not missing anything when you do not check your phone, it will be there once you do. Instead, you are missing out on life around you when you constantly check-out. Own the phone. Not the other way around.