Screenless Sabbath: An Update

screenless phone

Here’s a progress report on my Screenless Sabbath adventure. If you’re just tuning in, basically I’m fasting from screens (laptop, computer, phone, tablet etc.) on Saturdays in order to curb my addiction to said screens.

Saturday 1 – The day got off to a pretty good start with a trip to the Farmer’s Market and a light lunch with my wife Lorie. By midday though I was feeling withdrawals and felt like I desperately needed to check my phone. I heard phantom vibrations coming from my bedroom nightstand, where I had left my phone. Lesson #1: it’s probably a good idea to turn off my phone on Saturdays. The rest of the world goes on while I am trying to get away from it and the pings and vibrations from that world are much too tempting for me. I did get through a hard first Saturday but I did find that the first thing I did Sunday morning was reach for my phone and start browsing social media. One step forward, two steps back.

Saturday 2 – On this Saturday I failed right out the gate. I woke up brewed a coffee and sat back to check the “twittershpere”. After about five minutes in I realized what I was doing and threw down my phone. Later that day, out of necessity I found myself in a texting conversation with my wife. She needed to reach me and that’s her typical way. Lesson #2: I’m learning just how much I and those around me rely on our screens for every day communication. Lesson #3: I’m beginning to see just how much time I spend on my phone, and it ain’t pretty. I went to bed that night feeling like a part of me was missing.

Saturday 3 – I’m almost embarrassed to say what happened on my third Saturday in. It is only in the spirit of public service that I tell that on Saturday #3 I completely forgot about my Screenless Sabbath commitment. That’s right, I spent the entire day staring at my screens, oblivious to my Sabbath. It wasn’t until I lay in bed that night that I remembered my Screenless Sabbath. Oh, miserable sinner that I am!! who will save me from these screens of death??

A tad melodramatic yes, but another incident later in the week showed just how deep my addiction runs. I was staring blankly into my phone one day after work, sitting at the kitchen table when my wife said, “You spend a lot of time on that phone.” An accurate observation on her part, but to me it was like a courtroom accusation. It struck a nerve and kindled a knee jerk response: “oh your one to talk. You spend just as much time on your phone. Actually, no, you spend more time on your phone. We should keep track of how much time we spend over a week. I bet you spend more. Yeah that’s a great idea, a bet. Scared?? You know I’m right.” Lesson #4: I can be a real ass sometimes. Lesson #5: I’m just a little sensitive when confronted with my addiction to screens. I sent her a text later that day to apologize; yes I see the irony.

Saturday 4 – This Saturday was actually quite enjoyable. I hardly felt the urge to look at my phone at all. I felt very relaxed. When we went out I, gasp, left my phone at home. There was no urge to check Twitter or Facebook. The only time I looked at my phone was to check the time. Lesson #6: buy a wristwatch.

I even noticed that when I woke up Sunday morning I didn’t rush to check my phone. I’m also paying more attention to the time I spend on my phone during the week and consciously trying to lessen it. Lesson #7: my phone is the real culprit. Because my phone is my alarm clock, literally the first thing I do is reach for my phone. Lesson #8: I need to buy an alarm clock.

Am I making progress? Stay tuned.

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