I’m taking a few days away from screens. Here’s why.
I had a moment of clarity last week when I tried to read a book. A book I’m really interested in, that when I saw it on my friend’s shelf, I immediately got it down from the shelf and wanted to start it.
I sat down to dive in, and literally after 30 seconds, I wanted to check my phone, that I had just checked 30 seconds before.
I noticed this happening. And made a bigger effort. “I’m going to read for 5 minutes without stopping,” I declared to myself.
I could not do it. I kept having intrusive thoughts of wanting to check my phone.
It was an ‘aha’ moment.
I saw that I have no attention span at all to read a book.
When I was a kid, I never had issues with focus and concentration. I never understood kids that did. To me, it was effortless to focus on reading, writing, or studying, depending on my interest of the subject.
Now I have a better understanding of not being able to focus.
And it’s because of the phone.
I catch myself judging people when I see them in public engrossed in their phones, looking down at them. Whether it’s a family out together eating and staring at their screens, or someone alone scrolling away, I feel a slight disdain.
Yet I have enough awareness to wake up as I stop on my morning walk the second I hear my phone ding and think I’m just like all those people I’m judging for being on their phones.
As I tried to read the book last week, I had the sensation that my brain was wired differently as a result of the phone. It felt different to read static words on paper pages. I noticed a subtle hyperactivity in my mind.
As a result, I decided to do a digital detox.
To see how it would feel, and if it is even possible, for me to go without my phone for a span of time.
I wanted to do 3 days, but events of today have not allowed that to happen.
So I am starting once I post this, and will not turn on my phone or computer until Friday morning when I have my first call of the day.
I’m honestly afraid I’ll cave. That I’ll make up some super-compelling reason to HAVE to turn it on and check something vital.
But there isn’t anything. And if there is, so be it, but I am committing to be technology-free for over 48 hours.
In addition to the digital detox, I will also spend the time in silence mostly at home. I will pray and meditate. I will be still. I will enjoy my beautiful new place that I live in and feel into the depth of the present moment while the jungle and cicadas whisper around me.
I will read the book that started this idea – Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. A friend recommended it 20 years ago, and I wasn’t ready. Now I am.
I will write. With pen and paper. Intentions, ideas, plans, thoughts, I don’t know and it’s not important. Whatever comes will come.
If this idea appeals to you, but you’re unable to totally unplug, make a goal to restrict your usage for the next days. The details are up to you – only you know yourself and your habits.
I’ll see you all on the other side – and perhaps when I return to the world of the screen, I’ll have some ideas on how to interface with technology in a more balanced way moving forward.
I’d also love to hear from you and your experience – especially if you’ve successfully unplugged enough to have a healthy relationship with social and digital media.