As I approach my 40th birthday and the world starts to end, when half my day is spent online looking at which Corvette to buy. I know that social protocol practically dictates that I go for the red one, the designer in me wants matte black. Oh yeah, like the Batmobile.
While I have a certain disdain for my rapid travel towards the afterlife, there is something that I am rather fortunate for.
When I was a kid, cell phones didn’t exist. You had to use the landline or a payphone. You wanted to call a city over? That shit was expensive! When someone called you (no caller ID) you dropped everything because God forbid it was your grandma calling long distance.
It wasn’t really until the pager/beeper came around where we started to feel the need to be “connected”. I loved that thing. I felt like a professional drug dealer. Cell phones were bricks and nobody had them. Soon systems were in place to avoid having to stop at a payphone. Yes. There were codes one would invent to say this is important, or to get here or to bring tacos. It was a way to text before cell phone availability.
I liked that freedom to not be available. The freedom where you had one obligation; you had to be home when the street lights came on. And you know what? As a kid, you were fucking FREE!!! An experience that kids today have no clue about. You ran things. You ran the world. Baseball? Ride bikes? Go find bugs (I didn’t like that activity)? You made the rules. And while I adore my iPhone, being able to Google anything at anytime, to have a map of anywhere in the world at my fingertips, to connect with anyone around the world at any time, to check bank accounts and so much more that is incredible, that freedom I had as a kid is gone.
It’s that reliant connectivity. It’s an intoxicating drug. It’s that if I am not connected, the world will end or at least I won’t know about it. What if someone texts that we should go have drinks? What if a fucking unicorn walks down the street pooping rainbows and I have no ability to take the picture? That happened once by the way. You wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t have a phone.
While I am one who tells the bartender “check please” when I am at 2% battery life, I gave myself a goal. And it has been far from easy, but each time it gets easier. It gets better. It makes me more free.
On a side note, every time I use the word “free” I kinda feel like Morpheus from the Matrix. Which is ironic because in the Matrix they solely relied on phones to plug and unplug into the Matrix. But I digress…
What I have been doing is I make myself leave my phone at home at least once a day and for a period of four hours once per week.
It’s become surreal. It took awhile to get used to it. I missed a unicorn and a stripper running down the street, but eventually it got easier and easier.
It got to the point where going to a bar or a park and whipping out a book without being connected turned me into not having a care in the world. I had no way to connect or to look up stuff so the book had to give me all my entertainment.
I highly recommend that you try it. Just that little bit of freedom. Even for an hour, turns out to be wonderful even if it is scary and miserable at first.