In the mid-2011, I was gifted an Android smartphone. Back then, this new intoxicating technology comes handy in my leisure period, with just spending some hours with it I can reach friends and family both far and near. All of a sudden I turned to a photographer taking the shot of every step, posture, moment and event.
Years over years, different upgrade has been made on devices to follow each trend of every year. I had become horribly, toxically, inextricably chained to smartphone universe. My Smartphone becomes my companion, most trusted partner and confider, no one knows me than my smartphone, at times, I ask myself, do I even know my self-more than my phone?.
Fast-forward years later, my love for my phone cannot be comprehended. Basically, most of us have fallen for someone or something in our lives. Be it was puppy love, serious love or a total mistake, we know what it means to be a little obsessed. Love is part of what makes us human and it’s why so many of us end up on dating websites or perusing through ex-lovers on social media.
It’s hard to decipher when, during these past years, the love and joy I felt for my smartphone get to this level. Now, I fall asleep to my phone every night and wake to it each morning. I check my notifications first thing every morning before I choose how to even dress for the day. I rely on Google Maps to help me navigate the road I pass mostly every week. I update my social media status every time I pick my phone up (which is so frequent, it’s embarrassing). I don’t even need to be near my Television to watch programmes or movies since I can easily stream them online. The smart device that once acted as a useful tool and a creative outlet slowly became an addiction.
Just like with any addiction, my phone obsession began to impact the more personal areas of my life. In fact, my phone began to take the place of my interpersonal relationships. While spending time with family, I’d stare into a small screen on my hand instead of been impactful like I always do years back I become the listener, though not listening per-say. At work, my productivity levels dropped dramatically due to the constant distraction my phone provided. It was only a matter of time before it came after my romantic relationship too.
The point at which I realized just how addicted to my phone I was, it was too late cos, my spouse is nowhere to be found, he left me with my phone. A relationship, a dedicated life of more than three years ended while I was busy bonding with my phone. This was sudden though, there were signs that I had ignored. Months before my breakup, my partner expressed feeling increasingly sad and concerned that I spent all my time and energy talking to everyone but him, I thought he was just been jealous because I talk to everyone including my Ex-boyfriend.
I believe I did nothing wrong, it not like I went to his apartment to visit him, and it not like am visiting everyone, in fact, I don’t know how to keep friends cos, I don’t like visiting, so all is do is just send messages be it Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or just wave them on social media, however, if they chat me up i answer them wish i believe is ethical. Unknown to me, I was so preoccupied with flinging every last ounce of my mental space into the corners of the technological universe, I had nothing left for him. This created intimacy issues, insecurity, jealousy and distrust, which at times were perhaps a byproduct of his personal struggles, but many other times were fully and undoubtedly brought on by my addiction.
Eventually, the problems in our relationship came to a head and we called it quits. In the aftermath, I was left with years of memories and a smartphone that couldn’t provide enjoyable company across a dinner table, share in the joys of experiencing a concert or a none stop goodnight calls and kiss before bed, all these things I had previously taken for granted simply because I was too preoccupied looking for fulfillment from a screen, i tell him am tired and can’t talk for long only to have him cut the call and go back to my phone. Numerous time he checks on my online to confirm his suspicion and there he finds me still online after claiming am tired.
Now, I think through my life and I see I have given importance to the unnecessary, though my device could have come out handy and useful I made it so useless by using it for the wrong reason. I could have used my phone for better and beneficial things and at the same time manage my personal and relationship life better.
I now focus on doing right with my time, training my mind to stay present, though, it has not been easy but it is important to start somewhere. In a small span of time following my newfound state of single, I’ve honed in on what actually feels important to me versus what’s distracting, shallow or generally lacking in substance. I no longer want my phone to get in the way of fostering meaningful relationships.
I hope you will take a deep look at your own phone habits and reevaluate how important a role you are letting it have in your life. Whether or not you’ve reached a place in your life where your screen time feels problematic, there’s no harm in mindfully giving your current practices some thought. Take a moment to assess whether, perhaps, you’re also giving too much of yourself away to a screen.