I wake up on day two and instinctively look over to the bedside table to see what’s happening in the world. I pick up the phone but notice its shape is slightly different, only to remember in that moment the task which is before me and that I was in fact holding my partners phone and not mine.
The pang of adrenaline comes back and subsides. By now I am getting rather frustrated.
My head is going round thinking about all I am missing, and then, tranquillity. It’s as if the stress and anxiety is relieved. I do not actually have to look at the phone, answer the calls or check social media.
There is another world going on and I am not a part of it. It does not affect me and I cannot affect it, the responsibility of amending my virtual alter-ego had ceased.
As I lay there I remember the self-indulgent nature of a lie in without thinking about how everyone else had spent their Saturday night and are spending their Sunday morning.
Something that does flash through my mind is the thought of my family. To see if they need me or if they are ok. Why do we always feel the worst has happened when we are not readily available?
In fact one of the main justifications for me delaying doing the blog was that my parents may need me at some point.
We go to breakfast and my partner sympathetically does not take the phone out of her bag. We chat and then I reminisce about how we would use our phones together at breakfast and talk. It has now become natural for us to talk to everyone else, and each other, on social media via our phone when what we really enjoy is being together in the moment.
As we talk my partner brings up how my mood seems lighter and I don’t seem so stressed. I am noticing the pangs of anxiety are slowly starting to wain and I am enjoying having some mental space in which to digest my thoughts for the future and enjoying being in the moment.
Not only that but instead of looking through the tweets and Facebook notifications I pick up the paper and read.
The question arises, why I feel it is more wholesome to read the paper rather than responding to others on my mobile?
I am reading for enjoyments sake, to learn and understand someone else’s work rather than putting my best food forward in the virtual world of the internet.
As we finish breakfast and start to wonder around town I notice I keep checking my pocket for my phone and wallet.
This didn’t happen once or twice but maybe four or five times. I was embarrassed and also astounded by the grip that the phone had on me. It is so engrained into my life that it had turned from a cognitive thought into an instinctual need to reassure myself I had my phone.
Was it my phone I think I had lost but something else? Almost like by not having my phone I was losing something else. Maybe control over something? As noted in a 2009 study (Found here) The act of announcing what you aim to do to friends and family–and hearing their approval–provides similar satisfaction to achieving the goal, giving you a “premature sense of completeness,”
Therefore could we argue that by sharing our best selves, our aspirations and what we are doing on the internet and getting feedback (likes or comments) tricks us into thinking we have achieved something or accomplishing the task when in actuality we have not only not achieved anything but used the time we could have spent achieving the task on something unrelated (effectively going backward instead of forwards.)
This is an area I would like to revisit when I conclude this blog topic in the coming weeks.
As day two was ending the pangs of anxiety had turned into pangs of excitement
I was thinking of all the texts, calls and social media alerts that were waiting for me when I turned my phone on. I was fantasying about texting everyone back and seeing what everyone had been up to, amending my virtual alter-ego.
As I returned home the first thing I did was get my laptop out and check my email. It was the first time in 36, or so, hours I had checked it and in all honesty nothing had happened. I thought I was missing out on something when in actuality my virtual world was not collapsing around, or rather without me.
Instead of looking at social media I get out my book and read. I have become accustomed to reading on the train and looking at social media and mobile videos in bed. As I switched the light off to get to sleep I realised how early it was and how much reading I had done.
I worked out (in that time) that if I watch 5 videos at 6 minutes each that’s 35 minutes, a night in which I could be reading or, god forbid sleeping. That’s without the time spent on social media sights before I sleep or checked throughout the day. How much time taken up by my mobile and social media is a topic for another day?