Some days I wake up and it’s like, yes. I got this. Today is going to be a great day. I remind myself that my mind is in control of the way I see everything. I have the ability to see, interpret and react to anything however I wish. No one or thing is in control of me. It is all rainbows and butterflies for me...for about 30 seconds every morning. And then real life starts. Like turning on my phone and suddenly seeing a flood of over 6,000 emails. And no, I did not suddenly go viral in a good way.
I like to pretend I do not need my phone. That I can go back to a life where I rode my bike all day and no one knew where I was, but when no one cared either. A time when my mom did not worry about me unless it had been more than 24 hours since she last heard from me. I kid you not, I will never forget my sophomore year in high school when I was going to homecoming with a group of show choir friends. Yes, show choir. I am not ashamed to admit, it was the best time in my life and I had the best of friends. I mean how could people who sang and danced on stage in sequins, red lipstick, and wore Vaseline on their teeth so their smile did not dry out, be anything but wonderful? They were wonderful. And we spent our Friday nights singing and playing piano and any board game that made us laugh. Yes, I was an athlete, and a much better athlete than a singer, but I loved my show choir friends. Well, anyway. This one dance I didn’t know what I would be doing after the dance. So I told my mom I would call her once I figured out our plan. She was a waitress at a nice restaurant in town, so she would be out late too. A late night phone call was not going to be a problem. But as the night went on and we finally made our plans to stay at a friend’s house watching movies and drinking soda all night, I forgot to call my mom. I woke up in a panic the next morning. Oh. My. God. I never called my mom. After frantically dialing a landline phone to reach my mother and apologize, she calmly stated “It’s ok. I saw you came home to get your pillow so I knew you must be ok.”
Are you f*ing kidding me? I wasn’t even in the slightest trouble and she didn’t even worry about me? Awesome! Now, replay that scenario today. And maybe take away the fact that I spent my Friday nights singing with show choir friends. If you are a parent and your teenager did not contact you for over 12 hours, you couldn’t track their last post on social media or find their GPS location on their cell phone, would you search their room to see if their pillow was missing?! Likely not. I’m sure the cops would have been called or every mother in your child’s peer group at minimum. In any case, I liked those days. No, I loved those days. I literally hate carrying a phone with me all the time. Especially now that I have a son.
I like to be engaged with people. Real people. Face to face with conversations that do not have a time delay. I crave the ability to ride my bike everywhere I need to go, including the grocery store or taking my son to school. Unfortunately, in the world of instant access, I have fallen prey to whatever is easiest and fastest, as well what has the best reviews. Amazon. Grocery store pick up. The smartest of smart phones. Tablets. Laptops. The best Montessori school no matter if it is a 30 minute drive to get there or not. All of it. So when I looked at my phone and saw this tremendous issue, I figured I could just delete the mail app off of my phone and not see the problem. Problem solved! Problem not solved.
A few days later, which brings me to today, I decide to actually reopen this email and notice I am now at over 11,000 emails with a new email coming in literally every minute. Ugh. Another problem with technology that I guess I need to fix. Luckily I was able to get help from GoDaddy to stop the virus, but that didn’t change the fact that I now have 11,000+ emails I am told I have to manually delete in order to be able to see and find any real emails in between the mess. I am polite to the gentleman on the phone as I wish him a good day and remind him I’ll be listening to music and drinking coffee as I start to manually delete more messages than I can even comprehend. I think he was appreciative of my positive outlook, but truly this was something I did not care to do.
I write all of this to say, would the world be better without even having email to deal with? Could so much of the stress we face today be minimized if we didn’t have Amazon to order from, phones to stare at, emails to waste time with, tablets to keep our kids occupied at restaurants? I know, I know, there are so many intelligent people out there who are going to tell me all the reasons why technology is so great for us. We just need to control how we use. Like here I am writing and posting my thoughts for today to anyone who is willing to read them. Yet, 90% of me still longs for nights like homecoming where I dress up, dance with friends all night, forget a phone even exists, watch movies and drink soda...and for Friday nights singing with carefree, beautiful people who make me laugh until I cry without the need for alcohol or Facebook. Is there anyway to get that time back for our next generation? Well, until I find a way I will at least be the mom at the park on a 50 degree day, letting my son have uninterrupted play, while I follow him around with my phone to take adorable photos to show off to the world.