I am writing this on a screen (by necessity) to tell you that I was so maxed out on screens by the end of this holiday weekend.
At one point, I was sitting in my dad’s living room on my laptop doing some online shopping while everyone else was watching football on the T.V. Not that unusual, right? Bored of the shopping, I picked up my phone to check Instagram. And there I was – in a triple screen moment. Phone, laptop, T.V., all at once. I looked around. Everyone in the room was either on a phone or laptop while watching the game, too. Conversations were stilted because people were distracted.
image (c) kicker studio
Sick of football, I went to a movie. Oh the luxury of just one screen, everything else quiet for two whole hours. A forced break from my little blipping phone.
It wasn’t like I was on the couch all weekend. I was out and about, walking, running, doing errands. But almost all my down moments involved a screen.
After dinner last night, B and I put the new Broad City. It was hilarious. When it was over, I picked up my phone to scroll through Instagram and Facebook and check my email. And I suddenly just felt gross. Like one does after any overindulgence. Ick. Enough. I deleted Facebook from my phone. Maybe this will prevent the mindless scrolling that really does nothing for my mental state except occasionally make me feel bad about myself because I don’t have a baby or make me judgy of people I barely know. Point. Less.
I crawled into bed even though it was only 8. I couldn’t look at a screen for another minute. I didn’t have the energy to start a new book. I just wanted to lie in the quiet dark and watch the streetlight out the window. B wanted to watch part of a documentary on his laptop in bed before falling asleep. And that’s when I realized how impossible it is to really escape screens. I wasn’t going to stop him; I understood. Plus, it’s his bed, too. So, I turned off my phone, shoved my earplugs in, and squeezed my eyes shut. I paid attention to my breathing and let my mind dance wherever it wanted until I fell asleep.
Now I’m up, blogging before I go to work to sit in front of a screen all day! I mean, I know this isn’t breaking news to anyone. But the screen stuff – it’s gotten really bad. I spent two days with my family this weekend and for most of that time at least one person had their face in a screen – or two. I woke up depressed. I worry my eyes will stop being able to see far distances. Ha. But seriously. What is this doing to us?
I need to cut back. Once something starts making you unhappy, you have to make a change, quick. Work is necessary. Reading blogs and online news and writing is necessary (for me). Totally unnecessary:
- Commute. On groggy days, I can pass my 40 minute commute scrolling through social media and silly articles. On my good days, I read a book or listen to a podcast instead. That’s 40 minutes each way – plenty of time to actually learn something valuable or make a dent in a book. New rule: no screens on commute.
- Apps. Having Facebook on my phone means I pick it up and check it to kill time. I’m never really interested in it. It’s just there. Taking it off my phone will take away the stupid temptation. I’m leaving Instagram on for now. But will limit myself to checking three times a day – morning, lunch, and evening. No need to check it every 30 minutes!
- TV. With Hulu and Netflix, it’s so easy to get sucked into a show and watch a bunch in a row. When you’re hooked, of course you want more – and all you have to do is sit there and the next one will play. As a kid, we had to wait a whole week for the next episode of Party of Five or Dawson’s Creek. I’ll watch three episodes of The Good Wife before even realizing what happened. Must make an effort to limit binge watching. It’s become such a normal way to consume television.
I’ll start there. The funny thing is, I’m really not that sedentary (as this post may imply). I do a lot with my days. I just think this level of screen consumption is kind of the norm, at least in San Francisco. What do you think? Do you ever feel totally maxed on screens? What are some ways you try to keep it in check? I could use some more ideas. . .