It’s 7pm on April 30th and I’m approaching the end of my iPhone detox. Surely you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the results of such a ludicrous experiment. I gotta say, not such a big deal really. Even Sean adapted quicker than I would have expected and had a mostly alright attitude about it the whole time. I did take a 3-day hiatus mid-month when Sean threw his back out, but other than that I stayed the course and resisted the temptations of that evil temptress, Siri. I was grateful to not be tied to work 24/7, that’s for sure, and I certainly don’t think I lost any sales from not responding to customer emails in my normal turnaround time of two and a half minutes. I quite liked not being reachable by anyone at times and while at first I felt some guilt at this, I really embraced it by the second or third week. Imagine going on a hike for two hours without feeling the nagging anxiety over a missed text or email – amazing! I felt more connected to my children as well and didn’t mind their endless questions and chatter nearly as much because I wasn’t being pulled away by something or someone I perceived as more pressing. That being said, to anyone considering a tech detox of their own, be warned: you will instantly start hating everyone else around you who’s using a cell phone. It was exactly like when I quit smoking. One day I was outside 2-3 times a day getting my fix and the next my inner dialogue sounded more like this: “I cannot believe someone would even think about smoking a cigarette this early in the morning. I mean, does this guy not realize that other people have to share the sidewalk on their walk to work and maybe I don’t particularly feel like breathing and smelling his Camel Light right now??” Such is what it’s like to put down your cell phone for an extended period of time. It’s a bit disconcerting to feel suddenly like no one is paying any attention to you (or to anyone else for that matter). Just because I put my phone away doesn’t mean anyone else did. On the other hand, since April was also my birthday month, it’s important to note that a few friends went out of their way to reach me sans phone by sending cards or flowers – thank you, lovelies! All in all, it was a good run. I enjoyed feeling like I had some privacy back that I had been missing for years, but I certainly missed things like Google Maps, ITunes and my CorePower yoga app. Oh, and of course I was a much safer driver. That is one thing I’m really going to put my best foot forward on by keeping my phone out of reach while driving.
A new idea that came to me during this month of no IPhone was turning this one-time, month-long experiment into something I could prolong into more and more blog fodder. Maybe not every single month (because I have to leave myself a way out), but at least here and there I thought it might be fun to play around with other month-long experiments. Not only would these exercises in discipline give me writing material, but they could also help me learn and grow as a person (and keep me from getting bored, which I do easily). The idea I came up with for May came straight out of a book I’m reading right now called “The Buddha Walks Into A Bar” which is a modern day “guide” for anyone interested in more mindful living. One of the suggestions the author gives for bringing the practice of meditation into your life outside of sitting down and actually meditating is by following a practice he refers to as “not saying no.” As I’ve said in an earlier post, while I understand and admire the benefits of actual meditation, I’m not ready for it yet. But alternatives like yoga (often referred to as moving meditation) and now this interesting (and horrifyingly scary) idea are intriguing. The problem, and therefore the need for a month-long dedication to such a practice, is that I say no all the time. It’s kind of my thing. Just ask my husband. Generally, I’m not good at taking risks, I need to have my expectations managed at all times and I am a control freak. Oh, and I have naughty kids. All of this equals a lot of “no.” In addition to saying no all the time, I can also be very closed-minded through my lack of action. I resist new experiences (exception: travel) at every turn and am often regretful after the fact. I have a comfort zone that is very…well, comfy. And so I’m proposing a month of not saying no and of not resisting new experiences. This one is going to be much more challenging for me than the phone detox, so I’ve already started practicing a little bit in the last week. In just a few days I’ve already learned that by simply letting go of the rules I have in place for myself and others, life gets better. Somewhere along the way I made up a rule that there would be no more drinks in bed for the kids. Why? I have no idea. I probably got tired of washing sippy cups. But lately the whole bedtime routine has been hellacious from start to finish. So I let up on my rule and now we let Kathryn have milk at bedtime every night. Problem solved! 45 minutes of demands and tears gone! Today at the park, Kellan was throwing an epic tantrum about the particular park I chose to take them to. So Sean gave him a cookie. Tantrum over! Magic! I know, I know, I know. No, I’m not advocating for rewarding children for asshole behavior; I’m just lightening up a bit. Or opening up a bit. Or maybe I’m just saying “fuck it” for a month. Why not?