I think we can all agree that we are much too immersed into our smartphones, spend way too much time the devices, and for not entirely productive purposes (if at any). Personally I wish I don’t linger on twitter for hours on end when I fire up the app every morning; sadly its gravitational pull is very strong. Up to a certain point I think it’s probably better to be watching television than losing ourselves in the mire of social media apps.
But then again, who amongst us haven’t reflexively picked up our phones during the particularly boring parts of a show? We can’t escape from its clutches even when there are other things to occupy our attention. Shame!
So lately I’ve been trying to be more deliberate with forcing myself away from my iPhone, especially on the weekends. The primary strategy is basically leave the house and go hang out, either with myself (that counts, right?), or with friends or family. I’ve found that when I stay home on the weekends, my fingers often itches for the phone, as if on impulse.
Hanging out with myself accomplishes the task quite easily because it means I’m out driving the GT3, and it’s rightfully against the law in California to operate a cellphone while piloting a vehicle. Not that I would otherwise anyways because driving the Porsche for fun demands a bit of attention and concentration, plus I’m having way too much fun to care about the latest outrage on twitter. Going on drives for multiple hours offers an opportunity for me to meditate and reflect; to detach and take a different perspective on things in my life.
This past weekend I did not go on a drive, but rather hung out with my friends for an entire day instead. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival was happening in Japantown, and one of my friends happens to live a block from the epicenter. Her place served as the perfect base of operation: we did a round of the vendors, got some festival food, and then went back to the place to chill. We laughed through three Netflix comedy specials consecutively until it was time for dinner, which we then headed back out again for.
At the end of evening I remarked to my friend how little I used my phone during the day, so infrequently so that the music app still remembered its place from when I previously paused. That’s a sign of a good day spent.
Admittedly it’s not the most exciting itinerary on paper, but it was a great time with my friends – I’m a huge fan of just milling about and chatting. As a known recluse, these sort of hang outs aren’t the norm for me, but I’m beginning to discover that actual human-to-human socialising is crucial to a person’s overall well-being. It’s not enough to simply do chat over messaging apps on our phones – we need to see, hear, and truly pay attention to each other to reap the benefits.
There shall be plenty more days like this.