Archives for posts with tag: put down the phone

Let’s overlook how often I simply choose not to go out to some event, or show, or whatever I thought I’d talked myself into – because that’s a thing I totally do (and I highly recommend it, myself, since I think forcing myself to attend events I don’t feel up to for whatever reason is a rather stupid use of my time, generally). I do like “doing stuff”, going places, seeing sights, hearing music, hiking trails, exploring the world and getting to know its bizarre inhabitants; I love all that. Mostly. Sometimes.

I live alone. Which I also like. Sure, I have a committed and adoring partner. Sometimes there’s a lover in the picture. I have friends. Associates. Assorted hangers-on of one variety or another. A tribe. A social circle. A scene. I live my life in the company of other humans living their lives. Excellent stuff for keeping good company – and I recommend that, too; we are social creatures. Our lurking ever-present need for intimacy, connection, and contact doesn’t somehow dissipate over time spent in solitude. I definitely enjoy the company of others. I don’t always have it. So, okay… what to do in the context of being alone, and wanting to do stuff…?

Go do stuff.

No kidding. It’s that simple. Farmer’s markets excite you? Go to those. Have a determined passion for growing lovely flowers? Go to places where flowers grow, where plants are sold, where gardens are planned – obviously. Maybe art is your thing? Lots of museums, galleries, and art shows to attend! Antiques more your thing? Cars? Beaches? Surfing? Concerts? Travel? Exotic dining? No problem; the world is vast and entertaining, and all the options exist. Do the verbs. Go to the places you dream of.

Alone?!

…Why not alone?

After my break up with my most recent ex I sort of… stopped doing things I enjoyed for some time. I’d pulled the same bullshit maneuver within a short while of being with the ex prior to that one, too. I was just… fuck it. Ennui. I trudged through my experience, supporting my then-partner’s desires to go and do and be, and tolerating the full-time discouragement of my own interests. I didn’t know how to do differently. The relationship before that one… was worse. Over time, learned helplessness crept in, and I failed myself in a rather large way. <shrugs> So okay, fast forward to this great relationship… still carrying these bad habits, and a total lack of skilled self-care. In a practical sense, one reason I made the choice to live alone was to sort some of this shit out. Learning good self-care was a much higher priority than museums, coffee houses, poetry readings, open mic nights, picnics in parks, small venue concerts… surviving was a bit more important, it seemed then, than thriving.

I was wrong though. I was incorrect about the importance and relative value of doing the things I love. Oh, not in a monstrous or malicious or hateful way. I just didn’t understand what living well could look like, built on my own choices; there were verbs I just wasn’t using. I didn’t understand that those things I personally thrive on might help me along my way, even help me sort out some of the chaos and damage, as well as provide opportunities for new connections with other humans.

I live alone. That’s just one characteristic about my life. I enjoy a lovely brunch out with friends. I also enjoy brunch alone. I enjoy brunch. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy music, and the events and artists I want to see represent my own taste – sometimes going alone makes for a very special evening, since I won’t spend any of it wondering if the person attending with me actually enjoys it, or is just being polite in their silent misery. I like the things I like whether I am alone or not.

I’m just saying – take time to do the things that excite and interest you, whether you do them with someone else, or alone. They are still the things that excite and interest you. You will still grow from those new experiences. They subtract nothing from your experience to do them alone. It is your journey. Your experience.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

…Clearly ballroom dancing will be easier to enjoy with a partner, but… yeah. In general. Go do the stuff you love. Yes, and alone, also – why the fuck not? lol

My calendar for the autumn and upcoming winter months has filled out nicely. I’ve got tickets for a couple of concerts I’m excited to see. A couple trips down to see my Traveling Partner. Quiet weekends in the studio, or out on the trail (while the weather holds up)… brunch… farmer’s markets… I’ve got a lot to look forward to, which I enjoy rather a lot just by itself. The anticipation, I mean. Choices and verbs. And planning. And living.

Don’t wait around. This is your life. You can live it, fully, delightfully, and even beautifully – even if you’re going solo on this journey. ๐Ÿ™‚

I remember my very first smart phone. I was a little overwhelmed, and unsure I had any need for some of what it could do. Over time, I added apps that were useful to me, removed the ones that weren’t. I built bad habits that took my attention away from living people, right along with just about everyone I knew, and then many of us eased up off of that, returning to a more civil, emotionally connected life, engaging with my friends more deeply when we are together, and setting aside the distractions of devices – as much as I can figure out how. Some of us, of course, remain more fully attached to the devices that are so convenient… I did not see myself as one of those people. Then, last night my phone died. Battery ran down unattended in a busy moment during the work day, and peculiarly, efforts to revive it were… ineffective. At least initially. I got it charged, and powered it back on after work and… oh hell. My data is gone.

My data is gone. Well… shit.

Now, frankly, a calm adult “well, shit…” is not how that went down last night. There was a moment of pure panic, some agitated troubleshooting, and then… well, I fought off hysteria and tears, sort of, and vented over email to my traveling partner. That sounds grown-up-ish… right? He phoned immediately; he knows me. The sound of his reassuring voice undid my resolve to hold back the wave of strong emotion, and I fell completely apart – my data is gone!! It felt… personal. It felt terrifying. I felt… unrecognized by my phone. Only… that sounds kind of silly, and it didn’t feel at all silly. It felt entirely terrifying… two weeks of fitness progress… that was what stung most in the moment. He talked me down. Reminded me, rationally, calmly, that the progress itself isn’t in the phone, or the tracker, or a spreadsheet. He talked me through calming breaths. I was okay, and it wasn’t a disaster – however disastrous it felt – and it would be okay. I would just have to start over.

Oh. Right. Begin again. Just begin again. Okay… I can do that. I know to do that. It’s a thing I do. And breathe. I’ll breathe, too, that helps. It helps a lot, the panicked infrequent gulps of air I was surviving on weren’t really helping.

I set up my phone, again, frustrated that wouldn’t restore from the backup, either. My phone is not enjoying the Marshmallow upgrade. It is what it is. Each time I open another app I rely on, and find that my password isn’t saved, my data isn’t there, and the app is functionally fairly useless without being set up all over again I experience another wave of frustration… and grief… and then anger that I’m grieving over data. Then, finally, I let all that go, and let myself sleep.

This morning my phone is just a phone. There are no tears. The anger, the hysteria, the sense that all is lost, have dissipated in the night. It’s convenient to have a phone that has GPS and email. This one is no longer my ‘back up brain’ and I am once more painfully aware why there is still value in hardbound books, handwritten letters, and moments of conversation with friends face to face; data lacks substance. Data is easily lost. Data can be destroyed. Data is not memory. Data is not living. Data, most importantly, is not identity. Hell… much of what I consider to identify me, doesn’t really. So much of it is changeable or arbitrary. I find myself back to the question lingering in my thoughts recently, “who am I?”… I know one thing with fair certainty, I am not a phone. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m still irritated every time I look at the fucking thing. (This too will pass.)

I sip my coffee thinking, for a time, of all the ways in which I may suffer if suddenly – for example – there were a global power failure, and just… nothing that operates on electricity. Well, that’s the most catastrophic loss of data I can imagine, honestly, so that’s where my thoughts go. I’d be okay, for most values of okay, and the data itself would be far from my first concern. When did our data become so important? When did my phone become such a powerful presence in my experience – hell, for that matter, when did it become a fucking “presence”?? There are things to consider here, and one of them is untethering my self from my phone more completely. Maybe starting with my camera… It’s something to consider.

Some of life’s curriculum is disruptive and painful. (Some of it only feels that way.) ย Only a very small portion is catastrophic, and few of us ever know real catastrophe, and then only rarely – my phone’s untimely demise definitely does not count among life’s catastrophic events. I woke feeling grateful for a supportive partner, willing and able to help me keep things in perspective. I woke feeling grateful to be working again, and forย the resources to repair or replace things of value when they fail. I woke feeling grateful that my own fleeting memory, however it may fail me, is “built-in” and doing a pretty splendid job, generally. I woke feeling grateful that my experience is still my experience, and feeling grateful to be without pain. I am okay right now… and a phone is just a phone.

Well, sure. This.

Well, sure. This.

Today is a good day for perspective, and a good day for gratitude. Today is a good day to put down the phone. ๐Ÿ™‚