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I was on the treadmill this morning when the alert flashed on my phone.  I was expecting a few texts in return from my regular early morning texts (or rants) about the 2000 ideas I considered in the middle of the night.  I was also awaiting a call from my daughter to do our regular “download” on her game from the previous day.  So I was a bit surprised that the alert was actually my “weekly report” on my screen time.  I did not break my slow stride when I picked up the phone but after I read the alert I stopped dead in my tracks — I averaged 5 hours and 15 minutes of screen time a day this week.  

 This. Was. Horrifying.  

I am the first to preach to my children about the dangers of being addicted to your cell phone and any other electronics, for that matter.  We don’t have a television in our house and all video games are relegated to the barn and used only on weekends.  I am a voracious reader, a regular meditator, a devout exerciser and a healthy eater – all lifestyle choices to help me reach my goal of living a healthy and abundant life.  So, how could I possibly negate my healthy lifestyle habits by logging 5 hours and 15 minutes a day of screen time?

 Just a week ago I used a prompt as a journal exercise for our Monday night journal and meditation.  I asked the group (of mostly teens) to consider a quote from Anne Lamotts’ book, Almost Everything, and write about what unplugging means and what it looks like for them.  Lamott writes, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”  I shared with the group that my family was brutally and honestly telling me that for the month of January they felt I was glued to my phone.  I was offended, of course and retreated to my room to read.  I picked up Anne Lamott’s book and read that quote by ironic and timely coincidence.  

I have a million and one reasons or excuses why my daily screen time was so high this week.  I used my phone on the flight to Florida and back when I traveled to see my daughter, Maddi’s lacrosse games.  I was replying to emails while in the waiting room for my son’s orthodontist appointment on my phone.  I was trying out a new and exciting app, YING, which I believe will be a game-changer for all of us in how we view currency and our own talents and trades! So, in honesty, I have some very good reasons and some pathetic excuses for this screen time, but regardless, the alert this morning only reinforced what my family shared with me last week. I am spending too much time on my phone.

I am creating another new year’s intention for 2019 as we approach March. Not only will I relish in simplicity, which was the new year’s intention I arrived at after a beautiful new year’s intention workshop with Jennifer Schelter, but I will also find ways to disconnect more often, and quite simply spend less time on my phone.  

Next Tuesday, Jennifer Schelter will be leading another amazing workshop at B Inspired at 7:30.  If you strive to find ways to find calm, quiet or your inner wisdom and voice, or start (or in my case, end) a new habit please join us next Tuesday!  I intend to use that time to reflect and construct ways to make this new revelation an important reality in 2019.

Liz Harris

Kaitlyn Renzi