So, it didn't go so well.
Not my trip. My trip was fantastic. I hadn't been to Arizona since I was a little girl and had forgotten how beautiful it was.
No. I had trouble unplugging.
The first two days I had to have my phone on because Nicholas hadn't joined us yet and I needed to be accessible. Once I'd slid that little button across to text him back or return his call, it was virtually impossible not to check my email with it's bright red number alert growing larger by the second.
So, I tried moving Facebook and email to the last screen so I wouldn't always see it.
That helped a little.
I told myself once Nicholas arrived I would stop. I'd plug in the phone and walk away. But...my friend thought she was in labor or we were going to be separated or I wanted to have a camera with me. One excuse after the other and there wasn't a single day I didn't check my messages.
It wasn't a complete failure. I didn't take it to the Grand Canyon. I spent a lot of time sitting quietly...although I felt like all I ended up contemplating was other people (including my relatives) on their phones. I did enjoy some quiet moments and finished a book while I was gone with time usually spent reading blogs.
I also felt like I saw faces again for the first time. I realized how in the those moments of waiting in a line or at a redlight I automatically go to my phone. It was fun to look around and see what the people around me were doing instead...even if it was checking their phones.
Still, I'm disappointed in myself. I had this grand vision of sitting my a lake (despite the fact that I was going to Arizona) and really meditating on the deeper things in life. I could have done a better job. I know that. Nothing was going to fall apart without me.
For the first time in months, I went several days without thinking about a recent betrayal that I have a tendancy to stew on. When I realized I hadn't thought about it in days, I felt lighter. Why didn't I give myself more room for that type of break through? Why was it so hard to put down the dang phone?
Part of the reason is I use my phone for stress relief - especially in my role as a mom. When the boys are stressing me out and I can't phsycially escape, I can mentally check out. If I feel overwhelmed witht the grabbing and the needing and the crying, I can touch a screen and be reminded of my life beyond the constant demands of my children.
Perhaps I should take a deep breath or walk around the block, but that isn't always feesible and it certainly isn't as easy as checking Facebook.
Of course, the ugly truth is often an quick glimpse at my email or scroll through my news feed leads to more stress not less. I'm reminded of projects I should be doing or work that needs to get done. However, sometimes I see a picture that makes me smile or a supportive message from a friend.
In other words, I wish I didn't need it but I can't give it up.
What type of role does technology play in your life? Are you the one in control or do you wish you used it less?
~ Sarah Stewart Holland