Every night, billions of people across the planet close their eyes and drift into their very own dreamland. For many, this realm of the night is a relaxing refuge, for others it's a playground unleashed from the laws of physics, for few still, a nightmare which can't end soon enough. With no two dreams alike, the variety is staggering - an infinite array of dreams playing out across trillions of synapses. But somehow upon waking, the majority of these dreamers all perform the same action: they roll over and reach for their phone.
It pains me to think of how this transition between sleep and wakefulness is being treated. This moment, where we can look back across the threshold into our mind's unfettered creativity, where we can still see the threads of thought swirling about from our subconscious unchained. It might take grasping just one of those threads and bringing it across the liminal boundary to solve that pesky problem that's been bothering us.
Instead, these threads all turn to ash when our phone screen flickers on, a handheld sun whose rising scorches our mindscape - those delicate tendrils of thought never to be seen again. Ahh, but not to worry, we have an Instagram notification right here to make up for it.
While the moment after waking up obviously holds a certain poetic gravity for me, if that's not the case with you, fret not! If you are the "average American," you will have 95 other times during the day for your to phone to potentially ruin a special moment. Maybe it's that time your child came to you with a question or for advice, but saw you were glued to your phone. Or perhaps during a meal with a loved one, the moment lost when you looked at your phone out of habit. Feel free to pick one.
Oh and just to note, that average of 96 times a day includes your tech-inept relatives. If you are young like me (31 is still young, right? RIGHT!?), your number is probably much higher.
Now that we've spoken about how cellphones can ruin the quality of a moment, let's look at the gross amount of time truly incinerated by these things. The average American we spoke about earlier averages a mind boggling 3 hours and 6 minutes.
Think on that. Three hours. Every. Single. Day.
Let's break that down a bit:
- 3 hours per day
- 21 hours per week
- 90 hours per month (3.75 days)
- 1,095 hours per year (45 days)
Pick whichever of those time frames speak to you. Now, a take moment and answer these three questions:
- What's a skill you've always wanted to cultivate?
- Do you have a yet unrealized goal that lingers in the back of your mind?
- How long have you wanted this to accomplish this skill or goal?
Finally, take whatever time frame above that speaks to you the most - day, week, month, or year - and ask:
Had I used the time I spend on my phone working towards my goals instead, how much closer would I be?
For a lot of us, if wouldn't even be a question of how much closer, but rather "can I even see those completed goals in my rearview mirror anymore?"
These devices are robbing us of our dreams. They are robbing our loved ones of our time. If anything ever deserved to be driven out to the desert and beaten to pieces a'la Office Space, it would be your phone. (If anyone does in fact do this, please film it and put it to the Geto Boys song as is tradition.)
So throw that fucking phone in the closet, the drawer, put it somewhere out of reach. Our lives aren't on that device you're holding, so stop scrolling and get busy knocking your life out of the fucking park!