I tried to measure a bunch of things yesterday. I marked down every time I logged onto Facebook (eight). I took a made mental note of every time I did two things with my phone (i.e. listening to podcasts and doing something else.) And I was mindful of completing things before I retreated to watch the couch to watch Workaholics.
I’ve been inspired by the Andrew Sullivan article. I loved the Louis C.K. line that he quotes:
“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away,” he said. “Underneath in your life there’s that thing … that forever empty … that knowledge that it’s all for nothing and you’re alone … That’s why we text and drive … because we don’t want to be alone for a second.”
We don’t want to be alone for one second. I repeated that to myself multiple times yesterday. It’s so true. Even in the bathroom. We don’t want to be alone even while we’re on the toilet. (Don’t lie, you do it too.) That’s my big goal for the week. Don’t use your phone while you are on the toilet. On the top of the fact that it’s unsanitary, it’s also kind of sad. You need validation and to feel an empty space even while you’re pooping? Seriously.
I also tried to be more cognizant of what I am listening to while I’m doing other things. I have to ask myself: Am I doing this because it brings me joy, or am I doing this to fill the quiet? I would say about sixty percent of the time, it’s something that brings me joy. I love listening to the Men in Blazers podcast. I should make sure I’m not doing anything else while I’m listening to it. There are also another handful of podcasts that I try to catch every week: This American Life, Hang up and Listen, NPR Politics, Modern Love, and Pop Culture Happy Hour. There are a few that I enjoy on an A la carte basis: New Yorker Radio Hour, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and Howler’s Dummy. I figure that if I can’t find anything to entertain myself in those podcasts, I should probably just put my phone away.
It’s sort of the same way with dating. Do I need to be constantly swiping? That’s not even fun anymore. It’s just mindless judging from far away. Lately, I’ve just been doing a lot of swipe rights just to deepen the pool. There have been more than a few connections that I’ve let lapse because I really didn’t want to go out with them. I just wanted the affirmation of a connection. My new goal is to at least make an effort with every person I connect with on a dating app. Don’t be the person you hate.
Reducing my time stumbling through my digital life has cleared things up a little bit. It’s more difficult without the internet’s never ending conveyor belt of distraction. I’ll give it more time though.