A week or so ago, I got rid of my iPad. It started last year, when I turfed the iPhone. Remember I mentioned that I never used it? Initially, I think the house fire changed us for the worse. We did without a lot of basic things for a couple of weeks. Then the contents payout came. We got maximum payout, and BAM! The frustration of doing without, the feelings of loss, the grief of losing most of our baby photos, all came to a head.
Yes, we first bought all the things we needed. We replaced our clothes, our chest freezer, wardrobes, towels, bed linen, and so much more. Now, being the good little bargain shoppers we are, we had quite a lot of money left over. When you have a lot of self-pity about your situation and a large wad of money, that’s a recipe for disaster. It’s all too easy to tell yourself, ‘we’ve been through so much, poor us! We deserve to treat ourselves.’ I still don’t think it’s a bad thing to treat yourself anytime, but yeah, I still believe we deserved some happiness after the fire.
But buying things is such a short lived way to make yourself happy. When we first started replacing our basic need items, it made us feel really good, as I think it would for anyone. The trouble is, once all our things were replaced, we just kept on going, to enjoy that feeling over and over again. Some Prada sunglasses here, some designer handbags there. An upgraded iPhone, an iPad. We bought the kids a lot of toys, and fun things, because they’d lost so many in the fire. My eldest daughter lost most of her special things, including birthday presents. But then we just kept going.
When you’re buying so many things in quick succession (and I will point out all these things were bought with our bargain shopping mindset intact), it’s like this constant rush. I won’t lie; it’s nice to have bought a few things we don’t necessarily need just for the enjoyment of it. But a lot of it was just stuff. Stuff which takes up too much space. Stuff which makes it harder to find other stuff. Stuff you have to clean around and trip over.
For me, the technology stuff was the biggest lesson. The iPad was cool. It still impresses me as to the things it can do, the convenience. The problem is for me, it was a little too convenient. I, like most people I’d imagine, have a lot of things to do during any given day. I do my best to get them done. I was realising a few weeks ago, though, just how easy it is to grab an iPad ‘for a second’ or ‘a few minutes’ simply because I could. I didn’t have to wait for the computer to start, I could just quickly look at facebook, twitter and my favourite sites.
I’d run a bath. Now, being an old house, running a bath for someone can take a long time. So, I’d say to myself, ‘well, while I’m waiting, I’ll just have a look at the iPad’. Never mind that there are a gazillion other things I could be getting done during that time. I’d go sit outside to enjoy the picturesque views of the mountains, and guess what I’d do? ‘Oh well, since I’m sitting down, I’ll look at my iPad.’ My partner would want to talk to me, and I’d tell him to be quiet because I was reading. Charming.
It kept building up like that. A minute here, a minute there, still getting some things done, but running around like a headless chook to do them, with this messed up perception that I had no time to do them all. I do have time. It’s just that all those seconds, those minutes grabbed on the go, well, they add up.
It was easy to get rid of the iPhone, given I rarely to never used it. The iPad was different, obviously because I was using it regularly. But I came to a point where I felt that this wasn’t what I wanted from my life. This wasn’t how I wanted my kids to think life is lived. That we need to check in with the net every once in a while. No one will ever convince me the internet is evil. I love it. I benefit from it greatly everyday. I just think now, that I needed to put the internet for me, in its rightful place. It’s great to be connected to the rest of the world in such an instant way. It’s just that now I’m learning it’s not healthy for it to be so constant. I’d always justify it by telling myself I wasn’t on there for hours. That’s true, I wasn’t. By telling myself, ‘just a sec,’ I could convince myself I was limiting my usage. Thing is, when it’s so portable and doesn’t even take time to load up, you can be connected constantly without even realising it.
I see so many people of all different ages, doing the thumb shuffle on their smart phones. It’s depressing to look at. I felt so smug; that’s not me. I was using my smart phone so little I got rid of it! See how wonderful I am? Are you impressed with my self control? I’ve come to realise that the only reason I didn’t get so hooked on my smart phone is because I hate squinting at the small screen. I was using my iPad the same way others use their smart phones. Maybe I wasn’t taking it down the street with me because it’s not as small. It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to feel like some sort of a twisted little cyborg anymore.
I’m still connected, and always plan to be. I’m still learning to curb my internet usage. I’ll probably always need to find ways to tame the urge. Now, though, it’s different. I’m loving having to wait for the laptop to start up. I’m loving being able to tell myself, ‘it’s not worth stopping what you’re doing right now to wait for that thing to load,’ then getting on with living my life. Doing the things I thought I had to rush around to do because of my perceived lack of time.
I mentioned just the other day how I’ve started enjoying Keek. My partner and I very nearly agreed that because I finally had a use for a smart phone, maybe I should just get a cheap one? It bugged me for a while, then I realised, my partner has a smart phone. He shares it with me anytime I ask, and I don’t ask often. Why is our first thought to go out and buy a second one?
I think I’m just so tired of the waste. My wasteful thinking, trying to shake wasteful spending habits and watching the waste go on all around me in this world. I’m just going to share my partner’s phone.
I think I’m slowly waking up. Waking up from this electronic stupor.