How often are you on your phone? Every five seconds, like me? No?
Despite my efforts to practice mindfulness and to stay in the present moment, I look at my phone all the time. Just yesterday, I took my phone out waiting for the crosswalk. I checked the weather. I was outside.
I’ve been aware of this issue for some time — even making a conscious effort to keep my phone away during “waiting” times, i.e. waiting for the elevator, waiting for the check, waiting for the train. But it’s almost like a tick; I’ll take my phone out and start scrolling through Instagram before I realize I’m doing it.
SO. Today I downloaded the Moment app. Have you heard of it? It tracks how much time we spend on our phone (apparently it’s around 4 HOURS A DAY!!!!), and I’m going to take a long hard look at myself. I keep thinking about how I feel after a few days of vacation or unplugging. You know that feeling? When you haven’t opened your laptop or looked at your phone or checked Facebook and you feel this expansive clarity and you’re centered and light and free? Why can’t we take a hint and try applying that to our every day lives, even if it just means leaving our phones behind when we go to the bathroom? Plus, there are so many studies that show being bored is GOOD for the brain and for creativity.
And there’s so much that we miss when we’re on our phones. “I do get a deep pleasure from looking,” says artist David Hockney on seeing the world around him. “I mean, I can look at a little puddle on a road in Yorkshire and just have the rain falling on it and think it’s marvelous.”
Here’s to more puddle watching. Won’t you join me?
Photo by Justin Chung.