My point is this: I became so preoccupied staying up to date with everyone else in this world that I stopped connecting with the people living in my own home. Sadly, my kids became the distraction and not the other way around. I realized that the majority of our family time was sitting in the same room in front of different screens. We began to eat meals together less often and when we did it was rarely without someone being on their phone. We started staying up ridiculously late watching TV or posting to Facebook. Both my 4 year old and my 1 year old learned how to unlock my iPhone and watch cartoons, and even while driving my oldest can’t go longer than a few minutes without asking to watch a movie on the DVD player. We simply stopped living.
I have been pondering this remarkable change for the past few months and I have come up with some tragic lessons that the world has taught me:
- If it’s not on facebook, it didn’t really happen.
- If you don’t reach a certain number of likes or comments on your status updates, you are not good enough.
- Pinning is as good as doing.
- A picture cannot be considered a memory unless it has an instagram filter applied to it.
- Hashtags make words important.
- No one likes those people who only check social media a few times a week because they are “impossible” to get ahold of.
- Whether it is checking your facebook while watching TV, or texting while listening to your spouse, multitasking is an essential life skill.
- We should be grateful to live in a world where our children can be so easily occupied.
I have been in denial about this problem for a long time. I have excused myself, accepting that we live in a different world now. Everybody lives this way. But then I heard a voice--Tom Hanks’ voice actually. I was flipping mindlessly through the hundreds of channels that Dish Network streams into my living room and suddenly he appeared on my screen--Joe Fox typing an email to Shopgirl. His voice started narrating the message as he asked her, “Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself?”
Without even realizing it, I answered “Yes.”
That was it. Now most of you are hopefully jumping to my defense in your minds right now, about to comment with flowery compliments and inspirational quotes. Save yourself the time though. I don’t think I’m a horrible person. I just finally have to be honest with myself. All the years of feeling like I had hit rock bottom, then seeming to find a jackhammer and make a basement for rock bottom... those moments were my fault. I had done it to myself by making everything else more important than what really matters: my family, my faith, and myself. Nothing that I know about, say to, or do for others will matter much if those three things fall apart.
So here’s the drastic plan. Effective in one week I am:
- Canceling our current internet provider and switching to a mobile plan that Joe can carry with him for work. I will no longer have internet during the day.
- Canceling our television service.
- Selling my iPhone and replacing it with a “dumb” phone.
- Shutting down my facebook account. (For posterity’s sake I will finally be updating my blog again... obviously less often since I won’t always have internet.)
(I’ll let you know how it goes... if I find the time.)