LOW BATTERY. “Exactly what I don’t want to see on my iPhone’s screen right now,” I thought when I was leaving campus after a long day of classes. My iPhone was dead, and I had a solid twenty-minute bus ride ahead of me. I pondered, what am I going to do for the rest of the ride home? Normally I’d browse through my Facebook or Instagram feed to see what other people were up to, or view the latest cute cat picture of my friend’s pet. Now, I felt completely lost and bored. I also felt anxious since I was on my own. I couldn’t send any messages, and if someone called me, I couldn’t answer. I was not connected with the rest of the world and that felt just-- well, wrong.
There I was, on the bus without any connectivity to the outside world, and surrounded by other students who were all focused on their smartphones. Almost everyone was listening to music with their headphones, or watching videos, and I saw that no one was really there; if you know what I mean. All those people were sitting on the bus, and no one was really there. But I was.
“THIS FEELS REALLY WEIRD,” I thought, how social media, web browsing and our smartphones have almost completely taken over our lives. For me, an hour doesn’t go by without reaching for my smartphone. When I was younger, I remember people were napping, thinking, reading, or doing something relaxing during the bus ride. My middle school bus rides are a sharp contrast to the ones I have in college, not just because of the age difference, but in what we do with our time. Bus rides used to be a great excuse for doing absolutely nothing, but because of our phones, we feel the pressure to be productive all the time, even on a bus ride home. I think this hinders our ability to clear our head and replenish our energy to be productive when we need it most.
TMI! It’s also weird how it’s so important for us to share every moment of our lives. When that Facebook acquaintance starts posting about their sex life, it’s a problem, but there are other things, too. When my boyfriend and I went hiking, I kept taking photos for Instagram and Snap Chat. While I hate to admit this, it was a distraction for me because I wasn’t able to enjoy my time as much as I would have without the pressure of taking beautiful photos and impressing others.
SO… what’s the solution? How about this for a New Year’s resolution.
TAKE A BREAK. For a New Year’s resolution, set a 15-30 minute period of time each day to “disconnect”. In this busy world we live in, we need some breaks when we disconnect from our smartphones and do nothing. You know, some time to relax, even if that time is only a short bus ride from campus to home. Have a Happy New Year!
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