DO you ever get overwhelmed by the little WhatsApp icon on your phone, especially when it keeps lighting up from the different group chats you’re in (I belong to at least 50).
Sometimes I get panic attacks when I hear my email notification “bing”, heart palpitations when my phone rings while I’m in the bathroom, headaches when I don’t get 3G signals and cold sweats when my phone is running on one per cent battery when it’s only 10.30am with no charging options in sight.
I base the things I do on my smartphone’s battery life; if it’s fully charged, I get to watch movies and YouTube. If it’s not, I’m forced to do something nonelectronic and I’m usually not happy about that.
At work, I am facing a computer most of the time. My life involves sitting in a chair, replying to emails, organising with groups, negotiating via WhatsApp, brainstorming and planning in my GDrive (shout out to GDrive for being the best invention, ever. EVER!).
When I go home, my husband and I spend time together sitting next to each other on the couch, tapping away at our phones or playing PS4 (him, not me).
This is not the life we’re meant for! I don’t want to break down every time my phone doesn’t have an Internet connection! I hate the fact that the first thing I look for in the morning is my phone and not my husband (I’m a cuddler, LOL).
Why is it that my immediate reaction to silence is “I need to turn on Spotify”? How have our lives become so digitised that we are uncomfortable with silence?
It’s really sad.
I decided to take a break from technology. No phones, no television, no laptops, nothing electronic, digital or technology related!
I decided that baby steps would be a good way to start. A weekend sounded do-able — you might think, “Girl, two days isn’t going to make a difference” — but that’s where you’re wrong.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove to the gym in silence — no unnecessary noise and random chatter from the radio (I actually cannot stand radio shows, their prank calls are the bane of my existence). When I got home, I read a huge chunk from a book that I had been wanting to get a start on but just never had the time. I didn’t have the “time” because I chose to spend my time on YouTube. But not this weekend!
My husband and I visited our families. Instead of posting hilarious Instastory boomerangs of our nephews, I took the time to talk and play with them. I let them drool on me, I laughed when they walked into walls and taught them not to wipe their noses on their T-shirts. Usually I’d be egging them on to do something funny so I could post it on the ‘gram, but this time I just enjoyed being their stand-in pony and human pillow.
I’ve heard from friends who have shared stories about their children begging them to put away their devices and pay attention to them (the children). We don’t have children of our own, but I sort of understand what they are asking for because I feel that way when my husband is scrolling through 9Gag and not giving me his utmost attention.
Granted, I usually only feel this way when I myself am done scrolling through Instagram and I’m done with my phone time before he’s done with his — #hypocrite
However this was the no-technology weekend so my phone, Instagram, texts and everything that came with it were sitting silently at the bottom of my underwear drawer while I continued to enjoy a beepless break.
I cleaned the apartment, decluttered our kitchen (bye-bye MSG and white flour!) and downsized my wardrobe. I even had time to refold my pants, T-shirts and dUCk scarves. I ended Saturday on a high with a newly organised wardrobe and a fulfilled heart (I’d been wanting to get rid of those boxes of cookies and asam for the longest time!)
Heading into Sunday, I wasn’t sure what else I was going to do with my time. I had already done my housekeeping and finished my book. Other things on my to-do list involved my computer (write next week’s Imandatory, answer emails, upload Imandatory articles up onto my blog, delete unneeded photos from my iPhoto library) and there was no way I was going to relent and give in!
This generation gives in to technology too easily. It’s hard not to, that’s how we were brought up! But it’s important to strip back down to the basics once in a while. To go through a few days without having our eyes on the screen and fingers on the keyboard.
We were not built to fill our days in front of the television or tethered to an invisible connection, but instead to take a walk outside, and experience real-life human connections instead of ones via the phone.
Perhaps we should all take a weekend away from our phones, tablets, computers, televisions, consoles, Gameboys (does anyone even use those anymore?) and social media.
We are too connected these days and sometimes a “pause” button won’t work. You need to “switch off” and you may even find your battery full after a few days of silence.
Journalism graduate Iman Azman continues to navigate her way through the creative industry as a member of The dUCk Group’s marketing team. Here, she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it ’s like diving in head first into new experiences and opportunities. Follow her journey on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/iman_azman/