By Janice Beetle
I am aware that I have an addiction to my iPhone.
At the end of a weekday, it is difficult (sometimes impossible) to separate from work with my iPhone close at hand, announcing, with its bloops and bleeps, each new email and voice mail. I tend to check it the way a new mother checks an infant, searching for the answer to the question, “Is everything okay?” or “It’s been five minutes, have I missed anything important?”
While driving, I’ve been known to toss my iPhone in the back seat because I know I can’t resist the urge to check my inbox.
This is unhealthy. I know.
I am also aware of the deterioration that technology—hand-held devices in particular—is wreaking on our society and how these devices are barriers in our real-time family and friend communications. It actually frightens me.
I saw a video on television recently in which a 2-year-old greeted her mom at the end of the day not with a hug and kiss and a “Welcome home mommy” but with intense whining to use her mommy’s iPad: “iPad mommy? iPad? iPad? Please mommy?”
The show I saw this video on presented it as humorous. I thought it was downright scary.
Still, when I went on a Carnival cruise a month or so ago, I was terrified to learn I would not be able to use my iPhone to text, email or receive calls while away. I learned I also could not email or go online on my laptop.
I tried to embrace this realization with excitement and relief, but I was only anxious about what I would miss. I had FOMA, as my daughter would say: Fear of Missing Out.
I pictured my octogenarian parents, my older daughter and my boyfriend unable to reach me in an emergency. I pictured clients who needed assistance, unable to connect.
I pictured anarchy.
So I caved, and I bought Verizon’s international package for the one week I would be away, but the representative failed to tell me the addition of this global plan meant I could turn roaming on once I hit San Juan, Puerto Rico. So, I didn’t turn it on, and, thus, I did not have the ability to connect.
There was no wifi in San Juan, and when the Carnival cruise ship I was on came into port in St. Thomas on our first day, I was surprised there was, again, no solid wifi connection. Then on day three, when there was no wifi on Barbados, I was forced to accept the truth: I was unplugged.
It took a few hours, and then I was thrilled, and for the remaining five days, the lack of technology was bliss.
It was so relaxing to have no choice in the matter, to be unable to check email and respond. I had given my family the Carnival number in case of emergency, so I settled in to a world where the iPhone did not get turned on and did not need to be charged at night.
What a beautiful thing.
Believe it or not, no clients suffered as a result. No family members were traumatized, and I came home far more energized than I’ve been since I bought my first laptop in 2010.
I highly recommend a tech break, and it is summer, after all. When you go on your next vacation, leave your tech toys and tools behind. You will come back feeling so much better!