i grew up like most kids. rules, curfews, expectations.
one specific rule my mom had was we, meaning me & my brother, could only be on the house phone for 20 minutes each night.
now, to tell an adolescent GIRL that she can only talk on the phone for 20 minutes is practically social suicide. & don’t even get me started on the rules for the computer . . . the max was like 30 minutes. ridiculous.
now, for my brother who
is was the opposite of a social butterfly, this 20 minute phone rule was a breeze. he didn’t have any desire to talk on the phone unless it was with a girl, & it that case, he kept it pretty short & simple.
me? i needed to debrief every second of the day with not just one person, but at least three. you can’t do that in 20 minutes. you just can’t.
i would get going into a conversation with one of my best friends & i’d just be getting to the juicy part like “& then he passed her the note & she read it & then she . . . ”
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK
mom: “alicia, it’s been 20 minutes . . . ”
me: “COME ON MOM!!!!”
mom: “alicia . . . ”
& then, just like every night before, i would have to explain to my friend that i would talk to her tomorrow for our next 20 minute session.
nowadays – i pray before each phone call i make or receive that it will ONLY be 20 minutes. or hopefully less.
yes, yes . . . times have changed. looking back though, i see the value in the rule my mom implemented. although my disagreement in the rule caused MANY fights, it taught me balance & the art of talking fast, getting to the point & the beauty of writing letters.
i typically would supplement my limited phone access with letters. it’s how i was able to record all the details from the day. like i’m sure most of you, my friends & i had notebook upon notebook FULL of letters. decorated to the max. passed from locker to locker with the expectation it WILL be written in before 8th period.
so what does this little trip down memory lane have to do with today?
well, it has to do with my phone. my trusty iPhone. lately, it’s been acting up. snapchat has been closing unexpectedly, candy crush won’t load, my wifi refuses to connect. it’s straight throwing a two-year old tantrum on me. & it’s frustrating. i tend to have my phone by my side at all times. i watch tv with it in my hand; i’m writing this blog with it sitting next to me blasting etta james. it’s my little child. so you can imagine the frustration i feel when it doesn’t obey my commands.
i’ve been putting my phone in timeout the past couple of days, hoping it will magically fix itself. (this is how i deal with most problems, ps btw.)
so today i spent the day with my dad & grandmom.
i wanted to be fully present & enjoy my time with them, so my phone went into timeout (aka locked in the car, hiding in my purse)
we went to the doctor’s office for an appointment. it was a typical office; lots of chairs, magazines, a tv.
i sat there, phoneless, chatting with my grandmom about life & kim & kayne’s wedding, like you do.
the nurse called her back & now my dad & i started chatting about my life, my career, my goals, like you do in a doctor’s office. as we chatted, plenty of people came & went. all different ages. but one thing was certain. almost every single person had their phone glued to their face.
this would have been me, had my phone not been acting a fool.
i noticed the one girl sitting beside me was playing candy crush. doing good too. the candy crush addict inside me was ready to ask her if i could play (i’m going on like 3 days of withdrawal . . .)
a minute later, i looked at the door to the office & saw an adorable older lady struggling to get inside. she had a walker & of course you can’t balance & roll your walker & open the door all at the same time. it’s just a plain mess.
i jumped up, grabbed the door, looked the lady straight in the eyes as she said, ‘thank you so much.’ i said ‘of course! i love your earrings!’ & we chatted a little bit as i helped her to the welcome desk.
as i sat back down, i was sad.
i normally miss those moments. i sit in public places all the time & stare at my phone. whether i’m checking in on the girl i had math class with 10 years ago, trying to get to the next level of candy crush, swiping & liking every picture of hundreds of people i’ve never even met. sigh.
since i’ve been home from my vacation to cabo, i’ve noticed a deep desire to talk to the people around me. when you’re on vacation, in a fun, tropical place, where the smiles abound, the friendliness overflows, the excitement penetrates every moment, you talk to EVERYONE. at least i tried to. i wanted to meet everyone, get to the know them, ask them questions, find out the best bars to go to, find the yummiest food places. i wanted to talk. i wanted to connect. & i did. every chance i got.
i left cabo with a list of people’s names to add as friends on facebook. ha. i made lifelong connections.
so my point. oh my point.
today in that doctor’s office, i could have missed the moment to help that lady. i’m sure i’ve missed thousands of opportunities. that’s just life.
but now . . . now i want to put my phone in timeout more often. especially when i’m out. there are great people all around us, just a conversation away from a connection that could last a lifetime.
i mean think about it, you think you’re pretty cool, right? most people would be lucky to know you. i don’t wanna miss out on that bc i’m stuck on whether the Smith’s had their baby yet, or George proposed, or Sally had sushi for lunch. it entertains, i get it.
posting our lives is fun. i love sharing my life with people. i just want to start doing it face-to-face with the people i’m around as well.
it doesn’t get any better; you’re in the same place, at the same time as someone else. it’s never an accident. it’s for a purpose.
yes, sometimes it’s awkward to not have a phone distraction. it’s super awkward actually. but let’s start a trend. let’s annoy the crap outta the people we sit next to on the bus until they talk to us. haha
i’m just kidding. i get it. our culture is different. we can slowly start to be more present – be more aware. baby steps.
maybe we could take a lesson from the book of “mom’s ridiculous rules” & put a 20 minute limit on using our phones?
thanks for reading. xoxo