Yes, my affair. The significant other that has seemingly been more of a priority than my beloved husband and four precious children these last few years. Certainly, I am not the only one guilty of giving in to this tempting transgression. One that began with good intentions but slowly took over my attention; inundating my daily schedule, insisting on coming first.
And so, an unhealthy relationship was formed between us, under the radar. Amazingly enough, I ignored the warning signs and the not-so-subtle jabs from my family members, jealous of my patronizing relationship with my new love: my iPhone.
It wasn’t until I put some distance between us that I finally realized how debilitating the relationship had become, sucking my energy from those I had already committed to loving. As commonplace and as widely accepted as my transgression may be, I realized the implications were serious: I had somehow allowed my marriage, my four children, and my friends and family to come in second. All for 4G and round-the-clock reachability.
How did it all begin? It really wasn’t my fault. I had never wanted a fancy phone with too many bells and whistles — email capability, simplified texting, millions of apps, and more. But my husband encouraged it, and assured me that I would save so much time not having to always hop on my computer for things like bill paying and email checking.
I reluctantly conceded and thus, the affair began.
Within 24 hours, I was hooked. No longer was I 100 percent available while my children played on the sand pile; dumped water cups in the tub; pretended to cook in their little kitchen. I was still physically present, of course, but emotionally, I was engaging with a convincing foe. Throughout the day, I would give my mind permission to escape for 10, 15, 20 minutes at a clip.
And then of course, those small blocks of time gave way to something much more.
It was all rather innocent at first; yet the more I partook, the more I craved. Newer, better, bigger, faster — all in the name of ease, simplification, and convenience.
I was in love with technology; and soon, I found myself drowning in my own obsession. I ignored the nagging feelings of betrayal and guilt, because truthfully, I didn’t know how to break it off. How could I even begin to untangle myself from this other life that I had inadvertently chosen? How could I say goodbye to my loyal, ever-present companion? One who’d brought me such joy?
It would have to be done cold turkey, I decided. It’s the only thing that’s ever worked for me in the past with these matters. Food … cigarettes … alcohol … you name it, the cold turkey method has always been the best strategy for my addictive personality and needy soul, clearly desperate to fill a void that has proven over and over to be unquenchable.
I committed myself to a week away, shut off from the world. Unplugged.
And to my surprise, it was amazing — my mind suddenly felt far more accurate than it had been in years. My memory was sharper; my attention span greater. It occurred to me then that perhaps I had relied on the device too heavily for too many things. I soon found that, just maybe, I was actually suffering less from “mommy brain” and more from “technology brain.”
Silly as it may sound, I now wholeheartedly believe that an innocent little phone had been a temptress I could not escape. Yes, a sleek, pocket-sized smart phone — aptly named for the fruit that Eve could not resist and the luscious fruit that plummeted Snow White into a deep sleep — had been my downfall.
Like smoking, my era with technology has come to an end. And I sure hope my children see the difference. My increased availability to talk at soccer games; my willingness to mingle at school events; my new habit of putting it away when we’re having lunch.
Of course, it will never be completely over; the love is still there; and some necessities will never cease. I will still use my phone to take pictures and to check email twice a day, but that will be all.
Goodbye Facebook, Minecraft, and Atomic Fart (my sons’ games), and the many blogs I have been following like a woman obsessed. Life has been flying past me while I stared down at you, and the subject matter I crave has been right in front of my eyes all along — those same eyes that have been hyper-focused on nothing more than a plastic, metal, and glass rectangle. The object of my affections had offered nothing real in return and unbeknownst to me, ensured that I would lose more than I could ever hope to gain. My family is no longer for sale and my memories with them would be created more vibrantly with me in their midst.
Goodbye, iPhone. It was a sweet love while it lasted.