We spend so much time on our phones, we forget to look up and enjoy what's going on right in front of us.
During my time in Florida I had this long drive to Tampa with a friend of my dad's. He has an $8 phone, which I think is very inspiring, most of us spend at least $800. To quote him:
"It's a tool, not your life"
One of the reasons I love vacations is that I'm disconnected from the online world and it really is freeing. I'm not saying I hate the online world, but it can get pretty frustrating. It's true. Our phones give us a way to communicate with those that are far away, but it shouldn't completely take over our lives.
My phone is my biggest distraction. The smallest buzz makes me drop everything and check it immediately. I sometimes just go on my phone, because I think I need to check something, but I don't. Checking my phone is the first thing I do every morning, which is a bad habit, but a lot of us do it. So worried we missed something while we were sleeping and when your notification screen is empty, you feel empty, but it's not supposed to feel empty. Our phones gives us a way to not have to talk to people or give us an escape from reality.
Social Media also has a big impact on our lives. I don't hate Social Media. In fact I met tons of friends online. But it has gotten too easy to bully people online. I've talked to plenty of people, people with mental health issues, supporting them when they had been going through hard times, because I knew how it felt. I knew what it was like to feel like you're not good enough, not pretty enough, like you should end it, because you wouldn't be missed. Even though I didn't know them, I felt compassion for them and tried to show them that there are so many people who care. Sometimes people even open up to you if they don't have anyone else. In a way this really makes my heart ache. I really hope all these people I've talked to, are doing okay. So, my phone gave me a way to help people out. A way to talk to them when they had nobody else. A way to show them the good parts of life. A way to give them hope that they were going to be okay.
A good friend taught me: Never judge someone before you get to know them. Everybody deserves a chance.
A chance to prove themselves. A chance to show they're more than their Instagram pictures or their photos on Facebook. A chance to show who they are and what they stand for.
For an experiment I turned off all my notifications for a month. I noticed I checked my phone a lot, because I had this idea in my head, I was missing out. Nowadays, we even have a name for it: FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. However, if I don't have my phone with me, I don't miss it. I dare you to lock your phone in a drawer for a week, who knows, maybe it will change your life.
So, I spent a day with my dad's friend and I've gotten a few really inspiring thoughts from him that I would like to share.
"There is 24 hours in a day. 8 hours of sleep, 10 hours of work, why would you spend your only free time on a device?"
He's right. Why would we spend the only time we have left in a day with our eyes glued to a screen? If we stopped worrying so much about what other people thought of us or that we had to update our status, we would be able to spend so much more time being here, now.
"That's why people freak out when they lose their phone. It's their life"
I have to admit I would freak out a little too if I lost my phone. Ever since I started doing photography I learned that you need to backup everything. So if I lose my phone, yes I would lose all of my pictures except the ones from my camera and I would lose all of my text messages. I would lose all that and somehow feel empty. We spend so much time on our phones, we forget what it's like to actually live, put your phone away and have some fun with your family or friends.
My best and worst moments in life never included a phone or social media. It included people. The best people I know, seriously they are amazing.
Too many funerals, too fast, made me realise your life could be over, just like that. I for one, wouldn't want to reflect on my life and wished I hadn't spent so much time behind a screen. I would want to reflect on my life and think back on all of the wonderful times I spent with my friends and family. All of the memories we made. All of the hugs we exchanged. All of the love we had for each other. It would be something meaningful and not filled with regrets. It's never too late to make a change and sometimes change is good. I know that, because I learned from something that happened in the past. I changed and everything just became better over time.
So, get off that screen your eyes are glued to all day, off the couch, live a little and start getting rid of that addiction.