Today, I walked into a Verizon store, a woman-on-a-mission. To the stunned amazement of the salesperson who greeted me, I proceeded with my customer request, “So what-da-ya-got that’s not smart? You know those flip phones, do you have those?”
This was not as he initially presumed when he first asked, “Are you looking to upgrade your I-Phone 6 plus?”
Giving him a moment to recover, I explained that because I am a writer and an artist, I want the dumbphone to eliminate distractions on days I need to focus. I didn’t think it was important to go into the other hard facts, like: when I am dating my husband, I would like to focus on his face without trying to take selfies - so I can post us having a date. Or when I’m bored, or tired, or relaxing, or waiting in line, I would like to be more aware of the life going on around me than I am on the feeds scrolling before me. I would like to be present enough to know it’s my turn, before someone has to honk, saying “Hey!”, or prompt me forward - the way I have had to do for so many others.
He actually thought that was a great idea and set to work to find my cheap, dumbing-down device. I believe his exact words were, “Wow, I get it! I admire you wanting to have control over that.”
For a brief moment I was so tempted to post his comment! Look at me, I’m getting a real live “like” here! Thankfully, I resisted and pressed on to acquire the means to choose when I disconnect - to be connected. Amputate to thrive. Let go to take hold. Anonymity to be known.
Several times I had to ask myself, “So what’s my end-game here? After a full year of downloading all my favorite apps, learning how to master them with all their latest and greatest capabilities and guaranteed entertainment and guidance, won’t I miss the thrill of convenience, connection, and instant access - to everything!?”
How will I handle not being in the continuous information loop on the days I opt to leave my smart phone at home? What if I’m invited to something spectacular and I miss it!?
How about the endless hours of cute animal videos, amazing recipes I intend to make, or inspiring quotes to pass on? And for a learner like me, what about the blog posts, articles to read, and how-tos of all the things I appreciate. The never-ending moments that can be viewed, liked, disliked, loved, chimed-in-with, shared, encouraged, or that makes me feel like a miniscule part of people’s lives.
I’m intensely drawn, (dare I say, addicted), to the overflow of fun that is on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all of my interactive apps: Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, poetry reads, art lessons, meet-ups, Groupon, and the boundless others that promise to make my life a little easier, or better yet - improved!
Then, there’s the camera. Okay, don’t get me started on the joys of snapping multiple pictures so that one day I can paint a beautiful painting from this captured moment. 14,335 pictures later, I am still waiting for the paint to pop onto the canvas so it can one day inspire another.
I detect a potential problem here.
This is why I must make a change that sets me up for success. Rather than watching, I need to be doing - for I have dreams to conquer and life goals to manage on a daily basis. This is my end-game.
My sales hero returns, “Okay, we do have a flip phone, and it’s $49.00. You can get it today for only $2.00 a month (what a deal!). So for the sake of my technological sanity and ushering balance into my real world, I say yes to only $2.00 a month. How can I pass that up?
His fingers fly across the IPad screen, creating my new account and number. I’m fully committed to my need for space - to think, feel, create, and engage with my surroundings in real time. And with my transaction complete, I have purchased the freedom to choose my level of connection with the world around me. I have decided that I will not be the one on the cell phone when I am with someone, enjoying somewhere, or writing a book, or painting a picture. I will not be the one distracted while reading, taking a walk, meeting a friend, dating my husband, or playing at the beach. The pull to post it – in the middle of the activity - and solidify its validity by shares and likes has now been contained.
On the other hand, I will also be thankful for times I choose to surf the web, post a picture, or share my day with others - as I count this a blessing too – along with celebrating their thoughts and adventures.
What I accomplished with this simple decision was giving myself options. I now have the ability to say no to distractions and hindrances when I need to, and say yes to the moments and dreams I desire most.
Happily, I am now the proud owner of a dumb phone. Let-freedom-ring!