A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 1)

Woman tossing into the air a leather diary and Smartphone

Love may have been in the air this weekend but not necessarily between me and my android Smartphone. Yes, I’ve been shoved into the noisy techno world of oncoming traffic, reluctantly but necessarily if I want to be able to function in this world.

My motto of “Don’t jump in if you don’t want to jump out,” safeguarded me for awhile. Doing what everyone else does “because that’s what everyone else is doing” is not me. Such reasoning conjures up images of Guyana Kool-Aid, the Hale-Bopp Comet deaths, and sheep blindly following sheep…to the slaughter house rather than sweet dreams. Years of friends chuckling at my dinosaur flip phone mattered little to me. I didn’t have a monthly cell bill, and my landline and answering machine worked just fine. Yes, I did say, “answering machine.” Digital at least. Not cassette…

But now, now I’ve re-entered the Smartphone arena that feels like bulls charging me from all sides. I say “re-entered” because I had my first date with a Smartphone nine months ago. I needed a phone I could use while traveling in Scotland. TracFone couldn’t do that so I invested in a Mobal phone with 30-day risk-free UK plan to give it a go. Here’s how it went:

May 23, 2019 – First Date, First Impressions

“This is going to make your trip so awesome,” friends said.

I nodded my head in agreement while silently hiding my suspicion.

Downloading, typing, typing, typing.

 “If you have a few minutes, could you show me how to….?”

“There’s no standardization. All phones are different.”

“Oh.”

Researching how to this, how to that, how to, how to…

Downloading, specifying, protecting, not understanding, flashing

ads

all the time.

No wonder so many are on anti-anxiety or anti-depressant meds. My blood pressure is up a good 10 points.

Downloading, warning, memory low on resources, black

frozen screen.

Now what do I do?

Worrying, fretting, exhausted. Too much to lose.

I always thought why would I trust a device to hold ALL of my vitals?

Tech support (via landline).

Deleting, deleting, uninstalling, removing. “Is it safe?”

Oh, this has not been a pleasant first experience.

Is it really going to get better after this?

Day 2 or is it the second week…or how long have I had this thing?

This intrusive device had to be silenced so I could get some sleep.

Do I really need this?

I haven’t even taken this to Scotland or put it to real use. Already I need to clear my head.

Outside.

Person walking on leaf-strewn path in the forest
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Birds sing.

An owl hoots in the distance. Or, is he echoing from this end?

I hear whinnying like a horse. I walk closer to see if I can see it, otherwise, I’ll have to ask Google

The magnificent hawk glides through the sun rays of this happy blue sky.

I feel free.

I feel in the moment.

There is no tension in my being

just the push and pull as I stride up the hill

and delight

to be OUTSIDE.

June 5, 2019 – We’re Not Getting Along

I call a Scotland Lyft. No availability.

I pick up the landline. A Black Cab arrives.

Getting off the train platform in Stirling, which way to go?

The font is tiny. I cannot read the directions.

Thank goodness for my printed copies of Mapquest

and the helpful elderly woman who guides me to a local breakfast joint.

e-mail arrives. The sitter reports my beloved dog Bess is walking around the pond, playing, eating, doing okay.

June 6, 2019 – Ceased and Deceased

5-hour European time delays. No communication.

11PM e-mail arrives. My dog is dead. She’s been euthanized.

Trying to make contact, the Mobal phone is also dead.

Did I forget to charge it?

Returning home, the phone goes back in the box. Service ceased.

And so has my involvement with a Smartphone. I think.

How Do You Do?

In gearing up for the National Day of Unplugging, which may soon become my favorite holiday, I’m reflecting on my Smartphone transition thus far. Being a gardener and feeling alive when outdoors and in nature, I’ve resisted using a device particularly when observing how vastly it is changing our lives, our vocabulary, our thoughts, communication, lifestyle and even human physical attributes (think eyesight, thumbs, memory, and prefrontal cortex).

Green leaves and handwritten sentiment "How we live is what makes us real"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This concerns me. And while I’ve resisted, it grows increasingly difficult to operate without a device. Do you “consciously” think about Smartphone use  — for yourself and the world at large? How do you spend your time, are you more at ease, more productive with it? Have you found the benefits (aka “conveniences”) outweigh the intrusion? I’d love to know how you manage your device, or if it controls you.

Surely, I’m not the only one getting into the tech game at this late stage. I wonder, did you have a similar experience to mine, or did you jump right in and swim? (I can float but water over my head is not relaxing and probably tied to my HSP tendencies.) Was there ever a time in your life when you didn’t have a Smartphone and can you recall what that felt like? Are you a Digital Diva, growing up with a Smartphone in your hand…or like me, from the mountainous countryside where life is quiet, simple, and maybe 10 years behind the times?


Here’s a worthy alert for your phone on March 6, 2020. Beginning at sundown on the first Friday in March, the annual National Day of Unplugging will run 24 hours until sundown on March 7th. Try it. See how you feel… Truly, I’d love to hear if it makes a difference in your being.


 

 

Feature photo by Jason Tharsiman on Unsplash

 

Mother Nature Made my Lunch Today

I made this salad for lunch. Well, actually Mother Nature made it for me, I simply chose to partake of her delectable edibles that nourish me in boundless ways when I choose to look her way.

Convenience or Necessity — Which is it and What Matters Most?
Too often, I grabbed a bag or box of processed food because I thought it was quicker, easier. But, digging deeper I asked what am I trading off for this “convenience”? Being sold on “convenience,” I’ve found is often a cover up for something that is actually not so healthy like the increased health risks from Fitbit or extended cell phone use.

At one time I bought into the “fast” food trap, thinking it would save me time in meal prep. But when I noticed the long drive-through lines and realized I could prepare a steak, vegetable and salad within 20 minutes — AND relax at my table to consume it, rather than behind the steering wheel at a red light — I began to change my ways. It didn’t make sense to be handed a bag of virtually dead food tainted with GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and any other nasty ingredient that deteriorates good health when I could choose more wholesome and satisfying real “food.”

Thinking Behind the Goods
My thinking was lazy. Naively trusting big business and government I thought if products are allowed on the market they must be safe, right? Right. When the money trail of lobbyists controlling government, health and essentially our lives uncovered that fallacy, my thinking turned circumspect.


Think those chicken nuggets are simply “breaded “chicken”? If you knew a chicken nugget is “made from” 38 ingredients with nearly half of them derived from corn, or that they contain TBHQ which is derived from petroleum, would you still eat them? You may want to think twice before ordering again, or feeding them to your kids for Heaven’s sake.


Taking Time for All of You
There’s truth in the time-tested saying, “If you don’t have your good health, you don’t have anything.” I had to decide what’s more important — rushing to a class or making a deadline by quickly eating bad food, or nourishing body, mind and spirit through Mother Nature’s generous offerings for vitality and vigor? The answer seems obvious, but those “self-imposed” time constraints often get in the way.

Think you’re too busy to grocery shop for fresh produce? To rinse the spinach, red oak lettuce and red raspberries? Not enough time to chop some red bell pepper, and slice golden beets to roast? Too overloaded you say to whisk some strawberry balsamic vinegar with light olive oil while toasting the pecans…then dabbing some Chevre cheese on top and adorning with dried tart cherries? Think again. The benefits exceed the eye.

Creating a salad like this satisfies more than the belly, while a box or bag of processed food harms it. (No coincidence that shelves are flooded with probiotics and OTC remedies for stomach distress these days.) Rampant busyness robs downtime, a necessity for mind and body regeneration.


Still think you don’t have time to support your well-being?

This salad is loaded with fiber, antioxidants, protein, and nutrients through vitamins and minerals like A, B6, boron, C, calcium, copper, E, folate, folic acid, iron, K, lycopene, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, quercitin, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

Additionally, pecans which are high in healthy unsaturated fat, help lower “bad” cholesterol. Golden beets also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, decrease heart disease risk, help prevent various cancers, and cleanse the kidneys. Tart cherries contain melatonin and tryptophan which can promote better sleep. Goat cheese offers anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and contains healthy fats, including medium-chain fatty acids that can improve satiety and benefit weight loss. These are only some of the “physical” benefits. 


Selecting ingredients I thought would work together tapped into my creativity, while preparing the produce was an in-the-moment meditative experience. How divine to then taste each layer of color, flavor and texture. Raspberries and cheese melting in my mouth under the ying-yang, sweet-tart balsamic dressing and crunch of spinach and roasted pecans was far more pleasing — and nutritious too — than any bag of processed whatever I could pick-up. Mother Nature endows us with her riches. It’s simply up to us to accept the gift.


 

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This photo: Pixabay