Staying connected these days is pretty easy. A quick check of our phone gives us access to numerous social channels that help us stay connected to friends, family and the brands we love. We can stay up to date by the minute on our favorite sports team, companies, topics – whatever we are into, we can get access to it.
This smartphone world we live in is actually kind of amazing. Having the amount of access we have is staggering, but it can also hurt our abilities for growth if we are not careful. It becomes so addicting to have instant access to info, to instantly respond, to feel like we are engaging and getting stuff done – when actually we are really face-down in a phone, ignoring the world that’s right in front of us.
I do a lot of work on my social media channels, and I do my best to stay on task. It’s a challenge sometimes – i can’t tell you how many times I head down a rabbit hole on something and an hour later I pick my head up and am amazed and annoyed at how relentlessly I pursued some meaningless something or another.
These smartphones and the information that is available can very easily steal so many real moments from you.The little stuff, the stuff that matters. While these phones can provide you every answer – they are also a huge source of anxiety and stress and if not properly managed, can lead to depression and more.
Let’s get this straight before we continue: I get the irony that you are reading this on a social feed somehow – I’m not telling you to “stop”, only suggesting that we all need to find a balance with this new addition to our lives that’s only growing stronger.
I’ve always made conscious efforts to do things from time to time that require the phone to be turned off – or go to areas where it doesn’t work at all. Leaving the phone off as I have morning coffee with a book, or an occasional afternoon offshore fishing trip where the phone can’t find a signal – these short times have always been enough to balance out the stress.
Lately, however I took a week to go to the my family’s hunting Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our camp is pretty remote and the trip to get there is an adventure by itself. Once you are there – real life begins.
Life without electricity. Life without running water. No plumbing. And yep – you guessed it, no phone service or wifi.
All that and a foot of snow on the ground and 2 degree lows. Life gets pretty real up there.
The sense of calm I felt when we got there was familiar. I’d felt it before on my quick afternoon trips without being connected. It was a couple days in when it really started to settle in.
I stopped looking for my phone. I stopped waiting for the dings, or grabbing for it to kill the time. After a couple days I had completely forgot about its capabilities and started calling it my “expensive camera”.
I lived in the moment. I connected with the hunt, with my family, my surroundings. I got into it 100%. And I loved it.
When I got back to the Detroit Airport for the flight home is when I knew it had really affected me this time. Airport bartender looked dead at me and said – “you’ve been in the woods for a while haven’t you?” To that all I could say was “yes ma’am – I’ve been hunting for the better portion of week”.
She replied – “You don’t have that nervous, twitchy, anxious, hustle and bustle that all these other travelers have – my brother was hunter, he would come home with that look too after a week in the woods”.
“Maam – I’ll take that as a compliment”.
I came home refreshed and reset. It was like a switch went off and my primal self got to run shit for a while. I feel like that’s important.
It’s very important if we want to live in this new world, with this new technology. Sometimes you are going to have to shut it off and reconnect. Reconnect to your base self – your primal self. Strip away the trappings of society and just be in the moment.
I don’t think you have to travel to do it – but it sure makes it more interesting.
This technology isn’t going away – as much as some of us would like it to. Finding a way to always use it to your advantage – and not let it control you is key to a better future. Turning it all off works for me – I hope you get an opportunity to see if it works for you too.