Tag Archives: cell phones

Giving Up My Addictions in Middle Age

cell phone addiction

cell phone addictionI stopped using my cell phone for several weeks last summer. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. What I really did was to stop checking my phone incessantly.

I didn’t do this voluntarily. My house was burgled and they took all of our phones save one. Which meant that for a couple of months  – while we waited for the insurance claim to come through – I shared my phone with my two teenaged children.

Sharing your telephone with two adolescents is worthy of a blog post of its own. If not ten. But that’s not what captured my attention most during that period. What’s really struck me was how amazingly freeing it was to not be tethered to my phone all the time, because someone else was using it.

This shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve read Andrew Sullivan’s amazing account of what it was like when he cut himself off from technology for a year, including a stint meditating in the wilderness. I’m familiar with all the studies detailing why digital addiction is a real thing and exactly how it works. Just this morning, I heard a report on the BBC about the fact that theaverage British adult checks his or her smartphone every 12 minutes.

I’ve always smugly considered myself to be above that fray. When I write, for example, I keep the phone in another room. I can go hours without checking it. When my family goes to bed, none of us brings a phone upstairs. (Hence, the robbery…cough. They didn’t even need to leave our living room to make off with plenty of bounty).

But still, it’s been instructive to realize just how often I check my phone and how much happier – and relaxed I am – when I’m not on it.

Which got me thinking – pre-new years resolution season – about what else I might usefully abandon – or at least curtail – in the interest of personal wellness.

Read the rest of this post over on Better After 50

Image: Rawpixel via Pixabay

The Gift That Says (and does!) It All

Via the fabulous website, Very Short List, I came across this incredibly clever faux-advertisement for a new invention in phone-ware: The Pomegranate (be patient: this website takes a while to load, but trust me, it’s worth it).

Please drop whatever you are doing right now and spend 3 minutes surfing this website. The Pomegranate is not just a phone…it’s an entire lifestyle. And that’s not because you can do email/watch a movie/listen to music/take a photo or any of the other features that are now standard on most mobile phones. No. In addition to all those pedestrian i-functions, this phone also pours you a cup of coffee, shaves you, and has a built-in harmonica. I half expected a woman to jump out and do a lap-dance by the time I was done examining this creature.

It reminded me of those ads for “The Ginsu” when I was young (anyone??): “But wait! There’s more! It slices…It dices…”

I’ll admit to being initially conned by this ad (it’s actually an ad for Nova Scotia, but never mind.) I finally copped on when, looking at the built-in voice translator feature, someone orders garlic fingers in Farsi  (yes, despite the PhD, I’m a bit slow at times…). But I think what’s really great about the ad – Nova Scotia or no – is that it plays into our fantasy that life would be so fantastic if we could just have everything at our fingertips. Even if you didn’t believe that the lovely blonde lady was actually brewing a fresh cup of Colombian coffee in 30 seconds out of the bottom of her mobile phone, for a second, didn’t you just wish she could?

It reminded me of a friend of mine whose boyfriend once gave her a room full of all of her favorite things for her birthday. At first, it seemed like the most thoughtful gift on earth:  all of her favorite foods, soaps, gadgets, chocolates etc were all laid out in some cottage, just waiting for her.  What’s not to like? But then we sort of scratched our heads and thought: there’s something wrong with this picture.

After all, what’s the point of growing up if everything is easy? Part of the challenge of adulthood is what I call multi-sourcing:  figuring out how to meet your different needs, learning how to get things from different places,  balancing the different strands of your life even when they collide. When we cease learning, we cease growing up. And what fun is that?

I’m sure the Pomegranate folks were just out to showcase the innovative talents of their small, relatively under-noticed province and not to offer some deeper existential commentary, as I’m tenuously trying to do here. But seriously, folks, nestled inside this ad (right behind the movie projector) is a message. (And I think I can safely say many of us are guilty as charged.)

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