Yeah, seriously….I did.
For years I carried around my trusty flip-phone. Remember those? Mine was little and gray, and it fit perfectly in my palm. When I opened it up, the screen was clear and simple, with digital numbers and letters. No color, no bells or whistles, just pure function. I liked how I could smooth over the tiny screen with my finger and it was instantly tidy.
But the best part about it? The best part about my little flip-phone, was that I hardly ever used it. It fit neatly in my purse, and that was where it always was, unless I was using it for a short, pointed phone call, or it was plugged into the car charger. In it's later days, the charger was where it stayed actually, because it would no longer hold a charge for long. And then suddenly, it wouldn't hold a charge at all. That day came, unfortunately, while I was running errands in Anchorage, in bad weather, with all five boys and we had car trouble.
My wonderful husband had been asking me for several months if I wanted a smart phone. He thought it would be nice for me to have a more reliable phone. He thought I'd appreciate the ability to text, and that I'd like to look things up on-line from time to time. After brief consideration...ok, after barely finishing listening to him speak, I told him I didn't want one. He was convinced that I was just being polite, so he sweetly announced one day he would like to buy me a smart phone. I thanked him, but asserted that I really didn't want one. I assured him that despite what the ladies at the office thought, I wasn't being polite, and that I'd prefer to put that additional amount per month into our adoption fund. At that, he realized I really didn't want one, and that was the end of the conversation. That is, until the afore-mentioned day my little flip-phone gave up the ghost and there was no resurrecting her…not even after searching for parts through a four-foot tall, cardboard box full of old discards at the telecom office.
That day, my concerned husband came home with my new iPhone. He handed it to me and said, "I bought you this, and I want you to use it." And I cried, but said, "ok…thanks."
Why didn't I want this clever little piece of technology? Well, I think mostly because inside I knew that it could become problematic for me. I had been content with my outdated flip-phone, and I suspected this little gadget could complicate my life more than it helped. I felt annoyed when I saw so much attention being paid to smart phones. Though I hadn't given it much detailed thought, I had a notion that it would become just as big of a distraction for me as I witnessed it being for others. And really, all things considered, I was right.
Now, let me just say, that my phone really has been a handy tool.
It enables me to have a camera handy almost all the time.
It enables me to keep in close contact with Tony, even if he's out in his office working.
With it, I can look up things online at any whim.
It has allowed me to stay closely up-to-date with far-away friends and family through messaging and social media.
All these things have been steadily possible throughout my days with my smart phone, because you see, at first though it sat neatly in my purse like my old flip-phone, it soon found a place in my jeans pocket. On my person. Most of the time. Talk about a distraction!
There are times that I cringe at my response to my littles, "Just a minute…Mommy's working on the phone." This makes me cringe even though during those times, I really am accomplishing necessary work. All in all, I feel like I've done a good job of remaining fully-present with my people, and not forsaking face-to-face time for screen time. However, I also find that lately I am constantly dealing with the pull or temptation to check this message or that voice mail, to email so-and-so, or to check the price of such-and-such online. I'm often inclined to check the weather here or where my family and friends live, or the wildfire update, or to research prospective new chiropractic clinics. You see? In essence, it has created a complicated distraction in my life, and quite frankly, I have enough complication and distraction in my life without my phone vying for my attention. I don't want to put the constant effort into choosing to ignore this distraction in order to choose what is better. So some additional boundaries are going into place. In short, this mama needs some room to breathe. Just as I continually need wide-open spaces physically, I also need it for my mind and soul.