My alarm rings. I slap my hand on my phone to stop the annoying ode to morning. Once it rings maybe two (or three) more times, I pick up my phone and spend about ten minutes scrolling through social media to see what I’ve missed overnight.
This is my routine: scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling.
Before I go to bed at night, I set the same alarm before spending another ten minutes scrolling away. I look across the room to my roommate in her bed doing the same thing. Both of us lie awake silently. The only light in the room is the illumination from our phones, pressed up to our noses.
It’s funny how I spend my first and last moments of each day doing the same thing: looking at a screen. Actually, I spend many moments in between my morning and evening continuing to stare at my screen…
The obsessive need to check my phone isn’t so funny after all.
I’ve become preoccupied with the fear of missing out so I feel the need to be constantly connected.
With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to virtually experience every minute of someone else’s life, even the most insignificant (and boring) details. Consequently, this allows me to be under the illusion that I’m never missing out, when in fact I’m missing more than ever.
I know it’s not just me. When I walk around, I see people staring at their phones. A few people have even walked right into me. I think to myself, “Um hello, can’t you see me? Of course not, you’re too busy staring at a screen.”
Even when I go out to eat with friends, we’re all glued to our screens. You wouldn’t be able to tell we’re actually friends if you sat at the neighboring table. We spend more time staring at the small screens in front of us than we do making eye contact.
I have noticed this time and time again in the moments that I have decided to put away my own phone only to look up and realize that my peers are glued to theirs.
What happened to face-to-face conversation? What happened to living in the moment and being present? What happened to genuine, meaningful connection?
I’m tired of feeling like I can’t enjoy a moment because I’m too preoccupied with framing it for the internet.
Last summer I was in Colorado with my family and my boyfriend. We were coming down from a hike and the scenery was beautiful. My phone was dead, but I really wanted to “capture” the moment, so I grabbed my boyfriend’s phone and took a picture.
I wanted to post the picture on my Instagram account since I took it, but since it was on his phone he wanted to post it. It turned into one of our dumbest, most unnecessary fights.
The picture didn’t do the mountains justice anyway, and the silly fight ruined the moment. If I could go back to that day, I would have been present and relished the moment instead.
Looking back at all the times I’ve chosen my phone over reality, I’ve realized that it’s better to take a look at the world and the people around us than it is to see the world solely from a 5-by-3 inch screen.
It’s time I embrace reality and grasp the moment rather than my iPhone. Detoxing from screen time might be just what I need in order to appreciate the nooks and crannies of life.