I know I just read Feed, and that that could be why I’ve been thinking an awful lot about my dependence upon the technological devices I own. But, to be honest, it’s something that has been on my mind since I got my first iPhone back in 2010.
A little backstory…
My first cell phone was a Nokia. My family, all 4 of us, got the same phone and had a family plan and it was part of a Christmas present in the year 2003. It was really exciting! At that point for me, cell phones were basically used to keep in touch with your parents if you needed a ride home from the movies or to see when your friends were going to meet you. Texts were not the norm, but they happened.
After a perfect storm of cell phone usage issues involving every person in my family, my father decided to stop the plan and I went cell-free for my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. Fun fact: My dad still doesn’t use a cell phone, save for a Tracfone that is never on and is only used for emergencies. My mom doesn’t have one at all.
I took it upon myself, once I started working at Blockbuster in 2007, to get a Virgin Mobile phone. It was cheap and basic. I had a small minute plan and a small text plan. It did me fine, but I always seemed to go over in minutes and need to update my month…it got really annoying and I was spending more than saving. That’s when, in the beginning of my senior year of college, I decided to join AT&T and get a real phone. I picked a super cute, white and red Samsung QWERTY keyboard phone that would make it easier to text, which was definitely a popular form of communication in 2008/2009. I got a small minute plan and unlimited texts and I felt pretty cool.
The phone did me well for a while, but my clumsy self dropped it multiple times and it suffered some water damage. I was patient and dealt with it’s fickle ways until it was upgrade time in 2010. At that point, iPhones had been around for about 3 years. I knew 3 people who owned one. My sister, her Apple-obsessed boyfriend, and my friend Dana. I never really thought about getting one, and even debated an Android phone (Brad had one at the time), but I saw the video Apple released about the iPhone 4, with it’s Retina Display and it’s HD video and it’s sleek new design and suddenly…I NEEDED IT. There were no other options…I was getting an iPhone.
I vowed to myself that, despite what I saw with other people, I wouldn’t let myself get too involved with my phone. I was silly. It’s not just that everything I could ever possibly imagine is at my fingertips (I probably buy more things through Amazon Mobile than through the actual website). It’s opened a whole new world to me, a world of social media, of sharing photos on Instagram and tiny videos on Vine and all of my thoughts on Twitter and communicating with people in a whole new way. iPhones, Androids, tablets like iPads and Kindles have done wonders for the world. They are amazing devices, and I believe they do a lot of good.
Cut to now…
When Brad and I first started spending nights together, we would wake up in the morning and talk and cuddle and laugh and slowly wake up and ease into the day. It was fun. Granted, I think a lot of relationships have those amazing moments in the beginning. Do you want to know what happens now? Do you want to know what happens even when I am at home, without Brad? I check my phone. I say “Good morning” or I turn off my alarm and then I immediately check Instagram notifications and make sure I’m up to date on the Twitter world. It’s like I don’t even know how to actually look around at my life, the world, without first checking a tiny device first.
(Let it be known that Brad does this too, I’m not a total jerkface!)
My phone is always on the table, the couch, the chair no matter where I go. If I’m having a good time it’s like “PHOTO OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, MUST INSTAGRAM AND TWEET IMMEDIATELY.” If I’m bored, I have to play Candy Crush Saga. If I hear a song I like, I have to Soundtrack it and share it. If my coffee or my sandwich looks cool, it has to go on Instagram. If I’m at a store and I see something cool, I have to check Amazon to see if I can find it at a better price.
The sad truth is, sometimes a weekend with Brad ends and I worry I’ve spent more time looking at the iPhone screen than I have at his handsome face. I feel like I’m missing out on life, despite the fact that I feel like putting everything on social media and on my iPhone means I’m living it more. It scares me, it does. I want to be able to step away. I want to be able to unplug, but the thought scares me.
There is no doubt that technology rules the world in so many ways. I’m so thankful for the doors that have opened to me because of it, and those are just a few. Think of all the ways it’s helped the WORLD. Still, I don’t want to be a girl with a phone for a hand. I don’t want to keep having conversations in which I only hear half of what you said and respond with a lot of “hmms” and “yeahs” that don’t correspond.
I DON’T WANT A CHIP IN MY HEAD, YOU CAN’T CONTROL ME.
I know I’m going to try and take more measures to step away from the phone. And the computer, I guess, but trust me, I can walk away from the laptop. It’s leaving the room without my iPhone that’s the hard part. I don’t know if I can do it…if WE can do it. I love how I’ve been able to document my life in teeny tiny ways. But I don’t want to miss my life documenting it. I still want to LIVE.