My new iPhone arrived yesterday. Wrapped in characteristically delicious packaging, I immediately wondered what took me so long - as I simultaneously knew that I was drinking one more sip of the Apple Kool Aid.
I am a slow consumer of electronics.
Buying a new phone takes me months. Occasionally years. I hung on to my red flip phone until four years ago and then let it go only because its carrier did not have a cell tower in Mexico and I could get a smartphone for .99 with a new carrier’s contract. The new phone was tiny, it was yellow, it was sweet and we packed some hours together. I learned to text. When it became time to say goodbye, I purchased its little cousin - blue this time - from a teenage friend for $50. I am guessing he was moving on to bigger apps.
Over the last couple of years, my little blue buddy and I - and its yellow cousin as emergency back up - traveled many places together. We sent texts from Spain, Italy, Switzerland. It allowed me to enjoy work Skype meetings from sidewalks in Paris, get me out of a jam in Tuscany (see photo) and to find my way through mazes of tiny streets in Morocco. I lent it to refugee friends in Greece and it supported many, many coaching calls. When I was sick in Rome, it read me my first Audiobook from under the covers.
Lately, I kept getting the feeling (along with gentle suggestions from my team) that it would be wise to consider moving on in order to preserve the efficacy of my work. There were times when it would take a little nap instead of responding. Some of its apps were no longer in vogue. When my bank “upgraded” its system, I was not able to make deposits by phone anymore, and since the closest branch is 45 minutes away, I have been mailing checks for months now, with a little Sprinkling card each time. I thought it was ok, not that big a deal, kind of sweet, actually. When I mentioned that to my oldest son last week, he asked me if a dinosaur delivered the envelopes.
So yes, it was time and I just needed to make the jump.
My new electronic companion arrived last night and my son was here to set it up for me and as importantly, to celebrate my hipness.
There were uncomfortable moments, such as the second I realized that I had somehow very possibly broadcasted my fingerprint to some giant data base. There were a whole lot of questions to answer to make it “just mine.” There was a whole laugh of loud laughter, too.
When my son left, feeling that I was respectably outfitted, I decided to play with this thing a little bit.
Two hours later, I was sending my friends ridiculous photos of me as a cartoon character, recording goodnight videos and doing some late - and odd - Instagram posting. Thank god I stay away from Twitter. There is a lesson here.
This morning, I reached for my shiny new toy way earlier than I usually do. BEFORE doing my Morning Pages, which is usually a big no-no for me. In fact … I have not done my Morning Pages today. Instead, I played with Settings and Apps.
Mid yoga, I realized that something was off and that for all the buttons I had pushed (or caressed, really. I think I have some sort of fancy sensitive touch option set up), I was not feeling very connected. Not connected to my morning, nor to myself. Under the pretense of upping my connection ability, I had temporarily given away the one that matters the most.
Full of this awareness and feeling a little strange, I picked up my new phone to turn it off for a while. In doing so, I found a gift, right there: a really cool setting, called “Do Not Disturb.” Quietly, I was able to ask my phone to not talk to me between 9 pm and 7 am, ever. Unless a few specific people needed my attention.
Boundaries. We are invited to explore so many boundaries, each day. Especially with our electronic “connections.”
This morning, this is what I come up with: no matter how entertaining our phones are, no matter how convenient - and for sure, they are - and no matter how much they allow us to connect with each other … THEY WILL NEVER LOVE US BACK.
Today, I invite you to enjoy the heck out of all the convenience we are privileged to experience, and to remember that every step of the way, we have the choice of saying “yes to this” and “no that.” Whether it beeps or flashes at us.