Over the past few months, I’ve become one of those people who are very much into “no screen time”. Ugh, if only 9-year-old me could look at what she’s become – she would be horrified haha.
Being in a “long distance” relationship for over a year meant that I had become glued to my phone – even more so than I was before. Now, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I did find that when James and I visited each other we barely touched our phones because we finally didn’t need them. But there was[is] always the TV and the computer. We love each other and get along great, but we are surrounded by screens.
I can’t remember exactly when/what triggered my big grumpy moment – you know the one, where someone suddenly realises JUST how sick of something they are and declare to completely change their ways, starting from NOW – but during one of those visits it just clicked. Our entire relationship was based on screens and that sucked.
If we weren’t texting or talking, we were binge-watching Game of Thrones (no regrets) or whatever else we could find that was remotely appealing on Netflix, and if we wanted a break from that, James would jump on his computer and I would either grab my laptop to do uni work or on the rare occasion – read.
Sure, we did things. We went places. We had great conversations and laughed lots. But we had a relationship supported by technology. But hey, that’s normal in this day and age. It’s a statistical miracle that we didn’t meet online, for god’s sake!
After my big realisation (I’m sure this was in correlation to a book I was reading at the time…The Happiness Project perhaps?) I was determined to make sure we did ‘things’. I drag James on drives and we visit waterfalls and we made plant shopping our #1 couple’s hobby/bonding time. I got back into reading and became comfortable enough to write with him around, and James began drawing and making terrariums. We went through an intense puzzling phase which I am partly still in (just waiting for a new puzzle tbh) and we usually spend a good half hour before I go to bed just chatting about whatever. Sometimes, we get to the beach and sit on the rocks with chips and calamari and just enjoy the salty air and lovely ocean sounds.
One of my little resolutions for the year is to be more present. Similarly to the screen bubble, last year I started picking up on how much my mind wanders. Yeah, I know, everybody’s minds wander. But mine was going WAY out bush in moments that were supposed to be really special. My mind was wandering seeing my favourite bands. My mind was wandering when I was listening to a song for the first time (a big no-no in my books). My mind was wandering when I should’ve been listening to others speak. My mind was wandering when I should’ve been asleep.
I resorted to mediation, which helped a bit, but I got tragically slack and lost the resistance definition I had built in my mind. Soon, my mind was back to wandering what it would be like to live in a hut in Guatemala with some locals for 6 months when I was really supposed to be writing a summary for an assignment.
I’m yet to find a magical cure or something that works other than me having to work really hard to BE in the moment. As soon as I start to notice the distracting thoughts, I literally have to think to myself “be present right now. Be present NOW” almost sternly. It seems to be doing the trick, but I know I have a long way to go.
We live in a really bizarre world where technology is assisting us in literally everything we do, but we as a species are beginning to loathe certain aspects of it. Or rather, certain devices and/or apps that we’ve become addicted to and have made us become REALLY GREAT at using emojis but not so fab at chatting to a stranger whilst waiting in line.
I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m glad that at 23, I’ve woken up and started really paying attention to my mind and all of its silly little habits. Yes, it’s a great ol’ thing that keeps me running, but it can also quickly become my demise if I don’t look after it properly.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this whole screens thing. Are you too finding yourself retreating and looking for more tactile hobbies and pastimes, or have you fully embraced the digital age and never want to look back?
Till next time,