My phone has broken a bit. It won’t receive emails. At first, I was frustrated and a bit annoyed. It’s not the first problem I’ve had with this phone – it keeps telling me it is full and yet won’t let me delete any documents I have downloaded. Grrr.
Actually, it’s been a bit of a revelation. When I got this phone my husband asked me how I wanted him to set up the emails (because, of course, I can’t figure it out myself – I used to be good at this sort of thing before I got married, but that’s a whole other story). He wondered if I might like to receive emails when I accessed the phone myself, rather than them coming in all of the time. Is he mad? I wondered to myself. I might miss something!
I might miss something
It is only now that I am not receiving emails the instant they are sent that I realise he might have been right. Grrr again. I have quite enjoyed being out of the loop! For one thing, I have been able to relax more. I appreciate that had I been bidding on something on eBay while I was out of the house, I may not have felt the same!
It’s not just emails, it is phone calls and text messages that make us instantly available to everyone around us. And as for Facebook, if we don’t look as soon as we hear the beep or feel the buzz, there might be something crucial happening that we are not aware of. Because the rest of the people we know are available for action at all times, many of us feel that we need to be so, too. It can be hard to step out of the mould and take control of our lives in a different way.
The other day, my daughter said to me, “You’re ALWAYS on Facebook!” Granted, at the time I was trying to sort out a particularly complex social engagement that required my full attention, but I was surprised to hear her say that because in my own mind I had been making an effort to keep my phone at bay when the children were around.
You’re ALWAYS on Facebook
I did point out to her that some evenings she messes around so much while I am waiting to hear her read, I go on Facebook to restrain myself from committing some sort of bodily harm. I use it to calm myself down when otherwise I would be really cross with her. But is this a justifiable reason? Could I talk to her instead, asking about her day, rather than just waiting for her to be ready?
Do I go on Facebook during other times of the day when I am tired and it is easier to read what other people have been up to than it is to connect with those around me? Am I using it as an escape? My husband was out with the lads the other night. He saw a sign in a put that said, “Apologies – our WiFi is broken. You’ll just have to talk to each other.” I wonder if that sums it up?
One year, I gave up Facebook for lent. Like my current situation, it was a challenge at first, but then quite refreshing to realise I could spend time on other things. My brain didn’t need to be in constant access-mode. I could just be me, and I could be more present with my children.
Taking control back
I am going to have to either get this phone fixed, or cave in and buy another one. When I do, I am going to think long and hard about whether I need to use the email function. On my working days, I can check them on the computer. When I am not working, I don’t need to know. If someone needs me that badly, they can send me a text, which I can choose whether to act upon.
I am hoping that my stress levels will come down. I am hoping that when I am with my husband and children, I will be with them in mind as well as body. I am going to take some control back.
Have you given up an aspect of your live that you feel has been taking over?
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