Today I realized something about myself. You know the people who don’t respond to emails, texts, messages, voicemails, tweets, and comments right away? Those people drive me crazy. Especially if you know they received and read your message, but fail to respond in a “timely” manner. Gosh darn it, even as I write about them it gets my blood boiling. Especially because…I am now one of those people.
These last few weeks have been completely and utterly exhausting. I wake up at 5 am and don’t pull in the driveway until 8:30 at night. While I glance at my phone and read messages from time to time, I rarely reply right away. Sometimes I don’t reply at all. By the time I get home, I usually only have enough energy to eat a quick snack and pack my lunch for the next day. Then it’s an early bedtime so I’m prepared to get up and do it all over again the next day.
So I’ve convinced myself that it’s ok. It’s ok that I fail to reply to texts, return phone calls, and comment and pictures and posts. During the week, that is. I’m a busy working woman. But I should be making up for it on the weekends, right?
Wrong. You see, there’s been a sense of freedom that has come from being too busy as a result of this semi-out-of-control life. It’s taught me that it’s ok to leave the phone in another room. Not every text needs to be answered (at least not right away). It’s not necessary to read every post in your newsfeed. You don’t need to send a personal message to every person who follows you on Twitter. The sun sets at night and it rises the next morning. Your friends are still there and most of your readers haven’t lost interest in what you have to say.
Right now I’m a slave to my schedule more than a slave to my phone. Things should be letting up soon schedule wise. These marathon days are catching up with me, but I’m hopeful that things will be returning to “normal” within the next few weeks. But–in a way–I’m hesitant to return to normal. I don’t want to return to the way things were. I want to take the lessons I’ve learned while running this marathon and live my life in a better way.
The truth is this: I don’t have to be a slave to anything. Not my schedule. Not my phone. And I’m ok with being one of those people. While my response time will most likely improve once my schedule lets up, I intend to maintain my identity apart from my phone. I think we confuse relationship with texting. Friends with follows. Fellowship with an lol. While technology can enhance relationships, it can also deceive us into thinking we have something that we’re missing.
I have a new appreciation for those people. The ones who can separate the important from the mundane. Who can have a fun time without checking Facebook every 5 minutes. Who are confident that their relationships don’t hinge on how quickly they respond to texts. Who are free from the anxiety that an unreturned phone call can sometimes bring.
In all honesty, I hope to become more like one of those people. And I’m thankful for the circumstances that brought me to a place of clarity; a place where I can finally see this characteristic as a virtue rather than a flaw.
What are you unintentionally slave to?
P.S. None of this changes the fact that I love my phone. Technology is not evil and neither are iPhones. Life is a balancing act, folks.