Sometimes I do let the connection drop. I leave most of the screens at home, and lock whatever ones I've brought with me into a small safe. I walk outside with no phone, no tablet, no laptop. I climb a mountain or get in a kayak. I meditate. Eat a great meal. Practice some yoga.
It takes a few days to disconnect. Well, in literal terms, it only takes 2 seconds to disconnect. Click, and the phone is off. But that pull… the pull to remain part of the flows of conversations. The hunger to check again, and again — that takes a day or two to subside.
What's there when the drive to stay connected in gone? Usually, I first I discover how I feel… what it really going on for me these days. As if I didn't have enough space even alone to remember how I truly feel until the screens are gone.
But that sounds so neat and tidy. The moral of this story: turn off your phone.
I don't like overly convenient tidy stories. Let's be real. This space is my life. For some crazy reason, people who spend all this time starting at screens, we are really valuable. We know things. We can do things. We are in demand. People will pay us a lot of money to keep staring at the screens.
Plus, we are connected here. Friends, family, people we would otherwise not be connected to at all. That old friend from 20 years ago who you found again. Your husband / wife / girlfriend / son / mother / best friend. It's so nice to keep in touch so easily, all through the day. These are real people from real life. Real loves. Real humans. Little persistent connections are compelling. We need to be connected.
For some of us, this is the only way to be connected. Or the primary way. You hate to admit it, but perhaps this has become the major source of human connection for you. Sick at home, working alone, not wanting to go out because of bad weather, living in a place you hate around people who don't get you… it's easy to be stuck. And the glass is a magic window through which you can reach a tribe. Or at least the closest thing to a tribe that you can find right now.
These people are your people. You want to connect. So you stare at the screen. Again and again.
I find myself looking at this glass. I find myself wanting to remember how to feel, even without disconnecting.