I’m still amazed how difficult it is to break my smartphone addiction. I spend hours on the damned thing mindlessly. And this is with me actually making an effort to quit. I paid attention to when I actually reach for my iPhone and here’s what I discovered.
…do I really want to admit most of my waking hours are tedious? That I’d rather be doing something else than actually living?
YouTube is my main source of entertainment. I mean, come on, movie clips, music, humor, life hacks and news all in one place? What’s not to like? YouTube is the center of my entertainment universe.
So when do I crank up the app?
Mostly when I’m doing something boring; driving, exercising, eating, sitting on the potty and (I hate to admit this) even when I’m watching movies. Yes, I watch YouTube during my Netflix n’ chill sessions. If I could only get my wife to stop it with the stank eye, I’d be fine. YouTube is always on during the passages of my life that I find tedious.
Thing is, do I really want to admit most of my waking hours are tedious? That I’d rather be doing something else than actually living?
I gave this some serious thought. How could it be that most of my life is better spent distracted? Why even live? Might as well spend life asleep b/c that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been lost in digital dreams for most of my days.
I’ve come to some conclusions.
We are meant to live; but our existences have become desperately empty. Screens and snacks fill some of the holes in our souls but it’s killing us.
Life is set up to distract us.
Screen time takes most of us out of our lives. After work, after the pisstifying (where you hold a pee till you get home) commute and the slow decompression from eight or more hours doing what only money could get you to do, you need a break. Digital distractions are the latest salve for our sufferings; TV, laptops, and smartphones quickly help us numb ourselves on micro-doses of dopamine and finger scrolls.
Meanwhile, we fill up on dinner, mindlessly, unthinkingly, blessedly relieved of the need to fit in, to perform, to produce. We satiate our bodies and minds because the knowledge we have to do it all over tomorrow makes our spirits sag. We weren’t designed to slave in the cubicles of corporate hell. We aren’t meant to turn in every diminishing circles, our life force spent in pursuit of little pieces of paper, that diploma, that degree, that paycheck; even as our network of friends and family is whittled away one by one. Lost to time, distance and disconnection.
We are meant to live; to create lives worth living -but our existences have become desperately empty. Screens and snacks fill some of the holes in our souls but it’s killing us.
We’re set up to become slaves.
If you haven’t seen the story of your enslavement, do yourself a solid, click the link.
We have been cynically and heartlessly herded like cattle into corporate pens, encouraged at every political level into a meat grinder that vomits money into the coffers of an untouchable elite. Meanwhile the rest of us are buried alive beneath student loans, mortgages, taxes and impossible deductibles for our health care.
This is why we must be distracted. This is why we numb ourselves. This is why we can’t find meaning in our lives or why our life expectancy is falling even though we are alive and well in the first world. We can’t stand the lives we have been conditioned to live. This is why our entire civilization is in turmoil, we want better. We want more. We know a better way exists, just as we know this ain’t it. And the biggest piece of the puzzle is mindlessness. We have surrendered our present because to confront it is almost too much to bear.
And you thought Apple screen time was just a way to control time spent on devices. Turns out, when you start thinking about why we are so willing to lose ourselves in electric hallucinations, you come to some startling conclusions.
All is not lost however. Now I’m aware of the slave plantations. Of the desperate need to control our minds and our narratives. If you’ve stuck with me this far, maybe you agree with me. Maybe you too want more out of life. To live when you’re alive (as JBJ insists).
To this end, I’m gonna switch my phone off when I’m at home. I have a good ol’ magicjack and that’s going to take my calls. If you miss me, send me an email. I plan to read them once a day, just before bed. I’m not sure how I’m gonna survive this, there’s no Narcan for netheads.
Right now I’m still torn between dumping my unlimited data plan with Metro and getting a basic Tracfone. I mean I might want to check my email when I’m not home and Waze needs an online connection. I will just have to take that one on the chest.
I’m also actively considering talking to my wife again. She’s not happy about this, Candy Crush makes her eyes glaze over. (Ever see a woman fall asleep playing Candy Crush, her finger still on the screen?) I’d be getting in her way. Still, she’s prepared to try once I don’t bring up politics, in-laws and lollipop hammers. She spends way too much on in-app purchases of lollipop hammers -luckily we found a good 12 step program to help with that.
Pretty much I am going to try to be mindful once more. If anyone is interested how this goes, lemme know in the comments, I don’t mind sharing.
Oh, and before I go, I’ve also decided to hire an expert to help with time management. His name is Bruce.
He’s going to help me stay off my phone, loose weight, spend time outdoors and play Frisbee with my wife. He’s been with us for a week and every day since then, I’ve done 10,000 steps. He’s a good boy. Smiling. He really is.
Somewhere in all of this, I’m going to get my life back. Don’t let the phonies get you, srsly, live while you’re alive. Can’t do it when you’re dead.