Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How my iPhone ruined my life

I remember the day I got my phone. When they handed me that little white box it was like they were handing me the world. Life will start now, I thought, as I cracked back the lid and saw the perfect 4.8 by 2.3 inch screen. Resting neatly into the palm of my hand, it felt so right--ready at any moment to connect me with the world. The possibilities were endless.
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When I turned it on, I dreamed of the places we would go, my phone and I. Now I would never get lost. Now I would never forget anything. But most importantly,  I would never be bored. I'd already made a list of apps I wanted to download, in order to ensure the best experience between me and my device. My fiance and I went to a coffee shop right after and downloaded our entire lives into our phones, fitting them neatly into the iPhone's tiny four ounce body. Lighter then a cup of coffee--and able to juggle appointments, birthdays, calls, messages, and buy clothes, listen to songs--even record our dreams in perfect HD video.

I won't lie, things were great. I never got lost (expect for that one time on the parkway when there was no cell reception) and I never forgot anything (except for that time when I left my phone at home before going shopping). And I was never bored. Breaks between work were spent hunched over the 4-inch retina display, playing Plants vs. Zombies, or surfing Twitter and Facebook. Stopped at a red light? Maybe someone texted me. Waiting for an appointment? I'm glad Vine is here to entertain me. What did I ever do before? 

And lets not forget the hype. The hype I felt because I was somebody now. I mean, my iPhone clearly made me an elite member of a the special Smart Phone club. We went everywhere together. We saw everything together. People who didn't have a smart phone, well they wanted one. They knew they were living in the dark age, as present-day neanderthals, with their phones--their "phones" that only took calls. I remember my friends all marveling at my iPhone. So cool. I only have this crappy brick, they'd say, asking to see it, to push the buttons. They only wished they were me.

Because, clearly I was living life to the fullest. My phone clearly enabled me to have better life experiences. Now, I could tell the world that I was currently eating ice cream with the boy, complete with a 140 character twitter message and corresponding selfie. Everyone can now see where I am. And more importantly; what I am eating. Don't you wish you were eating it to?

And now, I can google an infinite number of questions--whenever I want--satisfying my curiosity within a blink of an eye, fixing my problem or concern almost before I'd even realized it existed.

When did I notice that I had a problem?

Perhaps it was when 5 out of the 7 days a week I woke up to my husband on his iPhone, laying next to me, the bright light illuminating our small bedroom, his eyes glued to the screen.  

Perhaps it was when I realized I spend most my evenings at home, playing a game. Or even when I go out, I spend the time waiting for food to arrive, playing a game. Or as we are driving to another place, I mostly just sit next to my husband, and play a game.

Perhaps it was when one day I clocked my phone time and it was over three hours. Over four hours.

It was definitely when I realized I couldn't go anywhere without my phone. Leave it at home? No, it had to be with me, connected to my person. I might miss something.

And it was when I saw myself spending more time on my phone then reading my bible. More time on my phone then sewing. More time sitting next to my husband in bed, both of us on our phones, then engaged in conversation.

We used to talk to each other.

I used to wake up and read my bible, not, first thing in the morning, look at my phone.

And then I begin asking some hard questions.

What is this lie that I've bought into? This lie that this little white phone can make my life better, that instant connection to twitter and instagram and tagging myself and tweeting about my breakfast--how is that helping me become a better person, how is this helping me worship the Holy God?

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When is anything uploaded to Facebook ever a clear representation of my life? When did I start to care about how my life looked online, more then cultivating the personal relationships I have with my friends? When has anything I've done online opened doors to a deeper, more intimate experience with anyone? 

When did I let my iPhone take over my time, and reorder my priorities? 

This week I've decided that I'm done.

I'm sad to say I regret my choice to purchase a smart phone, a choice I will not make again.

Because instead of adding to my life, my phone has become a burden and a stumbling block to me and to those around me.

I came to the realization that the iPhone, and other smart phones, were made to catch your attention. They are made to entertain you: with games and facts and easy photo apps. And, the more time they keep you on the phone, the more money they make, either from running advertisements or from you purchasing apps. My phone is constantly telling me, through commercials and advertisements, that this product will make me happier, and that my life will be, and is, better--just because I own one. This belief will keep their consumers coming back and back to purchase only the phone, but also the experience attached to it. An experience that can ruin lives.

They say its more convenient. They say you need it. Do you?

Yes, I know, it is my decision to spend so much on my phone, my decision to be swept away by the easy entertainment that rests just inches from my fingertips. But I can't seem to make the right decision, the decision to put the phone down and do something else. I'm hooked on iPhone. It's my drug of choice.

Am I the only one? I don't think so.

So I ask you this.

How much time do you spend on your phone? If you want to know, there is an app that clocks it for you. This question, and it's subsequent answer will define how you live your life. Or if you live your life.

As for me, I've had my husband install an app on my phone that allows me to access it for only one hour a day. We will see how this goes. Baring relapse, I will totally get rid of my phone. I will not become a slave to it again. 

What will you do?
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