Breaking up is hard to do

You wouldn’t think, after all I have been through in the past couple years, that the thought of turning my phone off for a while would terrify me – but it does. I think this goes to show just how addicted to my phone I am. I’ve known for a while that I have social media burn out, that my attention span is at an all time low, and that I scroll and scroll these days and retain nothing – but it is getting worse. I’m tried of people trying to constantly sell things to me, or coach me into living my most authentic life. I’m tried of all the great outfits I covet on a daily basis or all the beautiful spreads of books that I can’t afford to buy.

I’m tired.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to some things I am not proud of: I can’t read a book without checking my phone every couple of minutes. I use an obscene amount of tags on my Instagram photos just so other people will come along and see what I am doing and maybe even “like” them. But while I spend this time “maintaining my feed” or whatever you want to call it I’m getting nothing done.

I mean that – nothing is getting done.

I had already decided a week ago that I was going to bite the bullet and take a break from my phone but then this article came out today: 6 Reasons to Unplug Your Phone This Summer.

The average adult in the UK spends nearly 9 hours on digital devices each day. That’s more time than we spend sleeping! In the US, 84% of cell phone users claim they couldn’t go a day without their device, with some of them checking their devices every 6.5 minutes.

I believe this to be true for myself. And while I have made some amazing friendships through the world of social media I’ve also lost a big part of myself. There used to be a time when we would wake up in the mornings and turn to the person next to us – now we wake up and turn to our phones.

And I am honestly nervous. Like, what if my children do something really cute and adorable or smart and I don’t photograph it and immediately post it online to show the world? How will I get my validation if I make a fantastic meal and only my family knows about it? Yes, I’m joking – but the sad truth is that I am only half joking. Because that is reality these days, our whole lives are played out on social media and it is EXHAUSTING.

I keep thinking of all the things I can do this summer if I’m not checking my phone every 6.5 minutes but then I immediately think about how I am going to want to post about all those amazing things I am going to be doing. Sad fact: no amazing things, or even non-amazing things get done when I am busy hanging out with my phone.

So for the next month I am going to have my husband physically remove my phone from me. Maybe he will take it to his office? Maybe he will hide it somewhere in the house? I don’t know. I don’t need to know. I’m going to have to revisit this when the girls and I travel to Ontario at the end of July and I – hopefully – take a couple days break from them and head to Toronto to visit some friends.

Also, you would be surprised how much work goes into trying to get rid of your phone for a while. Some people only communicate via texting these days and I have had to let them know that I have a home phone and an email (we are old fashioned like that). I’ve had to write down a ton of phone numbers, but I’ve also asked for addresses so I can send some letters. If I didn’t ask for your address feel free to send it to me – I’ve also been heavily medicated this week due to back pain so I’m sure there are a billion things I’m forgetting. Either way, the phone gets turned off at midnight tonight and I don’t want to see it again for a while.

  9 Replies to “Breaking up is hard to do”

  1. kerstin
    June 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I hear you…I am feeling the same way at the moment – too much time on my phone checking and scrolling and checking again. We had no reception camping last weekend and it was kind of great. I found that with texting and the idea of always being reachable people often don’t just drop by anymore which is too bad. I found it scary how in switching from simple flip phone to “fancy” turned me from never having my phone to always having it with me. I am trying to use it less and put it away more these days.

    • June 20, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      I find that people rarely make definitive plans anymore because of phones. And no one just stops by (at least not often). And really, what is the worst that could happen if you did? Either people are busy, in which case they will tell you, or they aren’t and you can come in for a cup of tea – even if it is only for half an hour. I love how kids don’t have these hangups yet – like Oonagh inviting herself over to your house today so she could spend time with Hannah. What does she care if Hannah is more than twice her age? She kept talking about how nice she was. Feel free to stop by any time this summer.

      • kerstin
        June 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Same to you. We have an open door policy – I love when people just stop by. And Oonagh can come and make blue slime with Hannah any time☺ The other 2 as well of course. See..checking the phone and then checking again

        • Tanya
          June 21, 2017 at 9:29 am

          My house is also a drop by kind of place. I have good boundaries, so if it’s not a good time, I will say so. I may consider something similar, so thanks for writing this Melanie. It wasn’t even on my radar to do.
          Ladies, drop by anytime, with or without kids.
          2508 16 St NW

  2. Jennifer
    June 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I will pray for your soul’s redemption, lol.

    Ryan and I were considering the same, more for budget reasons, but I just couldn’t do it. Claiming that I travel so much and we need to stay in contact. HOWEVER, it would behoove me to leave my smartphone in the car, while I am at work, as I feel like I may be checking it every 6.5 minutes as well. (Anxiously awaiting news from ASET still). I have a flip phone for work, so if worse comes to worse…

    I promise I will call you, just like the olden days of the girls’ babyhood, before I was cool and learned how to text.

  3. Jaimie
    June 21, 2017 at 12:07 am

    This is exactly how I feel, but we have discussed this via text already! I look forward to seeing your lovely face or getting a beautiful letter soon. And I enjoy your words so much, thank you. ❤️

  4. June 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    In Urban Outfitters the other day, I saw a book called the 365 Digital Detox Diary, where you need to do an activity off the screen every day. I scoffed at it, but I completely understand why we need it. It’s possible that I got a concussion in Africa, and screens and staring at them are not good for the concussed. So it’s been hard for me to get off the phone/screen etc, and do things that are good for my head.

    Anyway, if you feel like it, you and the girls can write me a letter. I’ll respond. Take care, and hope the challenge without the phone goes well.

    • June 23, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      You are near the top of our list of people we are writing to this summer! 😉 Especially since I know you have to limit your screen time and do things that are good for your head. Where does reading fall into that category? Would that be considered good or bad?

      • June 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        I can read, and do everything now, but I just have to do less, because I get tired/confused/irritable/headaches etc. But I think I’m getting better every day. Some days are harder than others, because it’s a slow process. But some people have lost DAYS from concussions, and fortunately, that didn’t happen to me.

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