Off the Grid

IMG_1729As I was driving to work today, I started thinking about who I am…what defines me…(because I have been trying to complete my personal value statement for a class task I was given weeks ago). The first thing that came to mind was that I am a “behind the scenes, T-shirt & jeans” kind of girl.

Then I got distracted…

I went to grab my phone to check out my number of steps on the @fitbit app (I was planning to unlawfully get on my phone while at a red light only 2 blocks away from my house…this was as far as I got before succumbing to the need to look at my phone!). Forgetting that I left my phone at home because I didn’t want it melting in the car while I was in teaching in the prison, I momentarily was paralyzed with the thought of, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have my phone!”

The cognitive distortions started.

  • What if I get in an accident?
  • What if I’m going to be late, how will I let them know?
  • What if the people I’m working with are late?
  • How are we going to communicate?…the answer to that question is WE’RE NOT!

So then my mind just went crazy…How am I going to find out the score on the Nats/Phillies game I bet on this morning?

And then I had the thought to blog about this experience (I seem to think a little more when I’m not candy crushing on my phone). I happened to have a tablet and pen sitting on the passenger seat so I grabbed those and started writing. Then I wished that I had my phone so I could dictate my thoughts (at this point I’m thinking I may rely on my phone for more than just texting and talking a little too much).

Anyway, as I’m driving around the 215, writing illegibly, thinking this can’t be any safer than texting and driving, I managed to get a few pages written (and that’s the chicken scratch pictured above). Had I not left my phone at home, I wouldn’t have been motivated to think for a few minutes about myself and who I am. Because our phones are such a part of our lives these days, I decided to use this opportunity to find out what my phone says about me. I felt a little anxious about not having it but in actuality, I also thought that maybe I should leave my phone at home more often.

@mlbatbat scores, @facebook updates from close friends, and calls/texts from people I had plans with Saturday afternoon/evening were all things I wanted to check as soon as I could “slide to unlock.” Having no instant gratification was a little difficult for me to accept, but I knew I would make it through this trial.

I arrived safely at the prison (the first of the three of us that were going in and only 1 minute late). So, those earlier worries were a little unnecessary.  As soon as my staff member arrived she mentioned that our boss had texted and told us to go in without her.  Not too unexpected (and we would have done that anyway since it was about time for class to start).

The first 45 minutes being away from my phone were turning out to be okay, the world was not ending

We conducted our class and as we were walking out of the prison, things were getting a little more tense. Plans were being made to meet quick for lunch.

But wait…we need to make a decision about where we’re going before we get in our cars because I don’t have my phone with me today!

Okay, down the street to @FarmerBoys it is.  I can do this…right?

Get there and stand at the counter waiting for someone to take my order and I start to have a minute panic attack…oh no! I don’t have my phone to open the app to see if there are any coupons.  I’ll have to save my receipt (somewhere safe) in order to log my earned points (and it has to be done sometime in the next 2 days). Okay, now it’s starting to be a little more problematic not having that smart device with me .

Sit down to eat and the conversation lends itself to the recent controversial supreme court decision regarding gay marriage. Boss asks me if I read her brother’s post about it on Facebook.  I answered that I had and then she asked that I show it to my staff member sitting next to me.  For the second time today, I went to grab my phone from where it should have been sitting on the table.

“I can’t, I don’t have my phone on me today,” I said.

Finish eating, feeling very fortunate for wearing a watch today.  I had not expected to do lunch after work (thought I would be going straight home to change and then pick my mom up for a baby shower and then head to a @LasVegas51s baseball game for @4H night). Had less than an hour to make it to my mom’s house…

How am I going to let her know that I may be a little late?  What if she changed her mind about going to the baby shower? Did I win my baseball bet?  Is there a plan in place for getting to the game tonight? My mind is going into slight overdrive…it’s only been three and half hours since I’ve been “off the grid”!

Managed to make it home without incident and take a few minutes to check the mail before picking up my phone.  From today’s little experiment, I learned a few things about myself:

  1. I can spend an hour in the car without talking to anyone – it’s a great opportunity to think, pray or just enjoy what the drive has to offer (and also pay more attention to the road and other drivers)
  2. When I’m pressed for time, I’m not as worried about checking in (whether it be Facebook, my sports betting account, @CandyCrushSoda, @triviacrack, @WordsWithFrie or a couple other games)
  3. Being off the grid can lead to productivity – spend time doing other activities that I have not done much of lately (reading, spending time outside, working out, cleaning house, helping my mom with her business and many other things)
  4. I rely a little too much on my phone, along with wasting way too many hours using it each week – I think I need to break up with my phone 🙂

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