What did we do before mobile phones?!

Walking towards the escalator at a tube station, having just got off my tube, I spotted a lady standing at the bottom of it, just waiting. It got me remembering…

I remembered the days in my teens, when I had no mobile phone. In fact nobody I knew had one yet, little did I know in one or two years I’d get my first ‘brick’. In those days I used to call up friends on the landline, and actually spend more than 30 seconds talking to them about life and stuff; I miss those random conversations! Then I’d say ‘I’ll tell you the rest when we meet’ and we’d arrange a meeting at xyz station at the bottom of the escalators, or on platform 123.

You knew you had to turn up, or call at least a few hours in advance to cancel, or you’d stand your friend up. The best part? When you met up, you actually gave each other the time of day, your undivided attention, because there was no mobile phone to check your e-mails, texts, missed calls, whatsapp’s, bbm’s, voicemails, facebook, twitter, linked in, diary etc. with. There was just you, the people or person you were meeting, and the world outside of that could wait till you were done.

That meant you made more effort, and were more absorbed in the moment, and in who you were with. If you really think about it, today we are all predominantly, highly rude and disrespectful people (I mean no disrespect to anyone out there reading this:-)) We may not see ourselves that way; I certainly didn’t see myself that way, but the fact of the matter and the ugly truth is, that I have at some time or another, been disrespectful with my mobile phone. Facing up to this and seeing that I have joined the ‘controlled by my mobile phone’ gang, has made me want to make some positive changes.

So pardon me for sounding harsh, but think about it for a second, how many of us have done the following:

  • Nodded along to what someone is saying (pretending to listen) while clicking away on your mobile and not giving eye contact.
  • Gone to meet friends and sat anti-socially  playing with your mobile while they’re chatting.
  • Been out to dinner with a loved one and spent half the time chatting to other people on your mobile, rather than the person right in front of your face (pet hate, can you tell?)
  • Slept with your mobile on your pillow.
  • Taken your mobile into the bathroom while showering/bathing/number two-ing.
  • Walked along the pavement messaging and narrowly missing dog poo, lampposts and people.

There’s more but you get the gist.

It’s disrespectful to those in our lives that should have our attention, especially if we have made arrangements with them, or if they want to chat to us about something and have taken time and energy out of their day to be in our presence.

It’s disrespectful to ourselves, the culprits, because we are not allowing ourselves to be in the moment, or to connect fully with others…and then we wonder why we feel lonely and why ‘time flies’ so fast.

It’s disrespectful to our bodies and minds, I mean, not even our sacred sleep, sacred bathing times and sacred poops are ours any more; we take the whole world everywhere with us 24/7 and become slaves to our mobiles.

If you’ve smarted at the idea of being a slave to your mobile, try not having it for the day…feel a bit naked and like you’re missing out on something, or like someone must surely be trying to get hold of you? Yep, you’re a slave to it. Completely and utterly controlled. Here’s a thought…life and the world would carry on whether you’re around or not. That doesn’t mean you’re not important, it just means don’t flatter yourself so much. There are bigger things out there than our mobiles and the illusion of being totally indispensable.

It’s really made me think about my own rudeness, and about why many of us often feel like we can’t talk to people. There are people out there who are depressed or suicidal, and you know when someone takes their own life and everybody goes ‘I wish they’d talked to me/said something’? Yeah, people like that don’t want to talk to people who don’t seem interested in listening to them, and that are always disconnected…too busy trying to get ‘connected’ to everything and everyone but those right in front of them that matter. That’s partly why I signed up to be a voluntary depression mentor, I have been feeling the worlds ‘disconnection’ for some time now as you can probably tell from previous posts, so it makes sense to offer people a listening ear and a space where they feel they can actually speak freely and someone will actually pay attention without expressing judgements or ignoring them.

I bet back in the day my brain wasn’t just quicker and more efficient because I was younger, but more than likely because I could focus better on one thing at a time and give things better quality of attention.

So I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to start doing the following myself, as an experiment to see what a difference it will make. Join me if you dare!

  • Mobile phone goes OFF at night (shock horror yes OFF, off)
  • No checking stuff until after shower, breakfast etc. My morning time will be all mine.
  • Allocated times throughout the day to check messages and all the rest on work days.
  • On days off the phone will be used like a landline used to, on loud for any calls, and check messages a handful of times throughout the day.
  • The flashing LED light does not mean emergency!! Some things can wait, whats with all this desperate rushing to answer and to get answers?! If there’s an emergency people can call.

My initial thought is, what happens when I’m more connected to the here and now and am able to give people the time of day, but everyone around me is still oblivious and distracted? Will I feel horribly isolated? I think not actually, something tells me that’s not going to be a worry, because those on my wavelength will gravitate towards me and vice versa, and the rest can…you finish the sentence!


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