I often hear people speak of technology dependence and write about it and how technology actually controls us instead of us controlling it. Some people have a true and serious problem either bordering on addiction or actually being a full-blown technology addiction of some sort that may require professional treatment.
But even many of us who do not have actual addiction still have some degree of emotional dependence on or attachment to it.
I never wanted to admit that about myself. I wanted to believe and claim that I just love it and use it because it’s there and it’s so helpful, fun, and just amazing. I wanted to tell myself and everyone else that I would be perfectly ok without it for a while, I would miss it and mourn it to some degree but that’s all.
Then one day recently I had a rude awakening. My dad drove me to work and I got out to open and I left all of my most cherished possessions in his car. My phone, my books, my bag, my iced coffee… I told him I would be right back for them, he said ok, and that quickly he forgot and drove off taking all of my stuff with him.
All my stuff- gone. My initial emotional reaction was anger. “How could he have been SO STUPID?!!?”. “How can he do this to me??!!”. “WTF?!”. Then came the fear, then the shock, then panic, then grief and mourning. Trembling hands and even chills. Then a kind of sickness dwelling in my chest. I always knew my books and my phone are a significant part of my life. But at this moment I realized just how much a part of me they are. How intertwined I am with them. My phone goes everywhere I go and so do my books. Sometimes I hold them even when I’m not currently using them. Even when I cannot pay my phone bill and my phone service is temporarily discontinued I still have my memos, my music, my pictures, everything else and I know it will eventually be back on. I never even really got my phone for the phone part or text part anyway. I wanted it for the handheld internet and other aspects of it. I don’t literally use my phone every waking second but I know it’s at my fingertips whenever I want it.
But that day at work my phone was gone. All of my writings, my passwords, my quotes, my songs, and pictures, my books, and I had no way of contacting my dad because I don’t know his number, it’s in my phone contacts, and he lost his phone recently.
I was sorry all of that stuff was gone but it wasn’t just about that. It’s something that runs deeper than that. I couldn’t pick up my phone or my books when I wanted and the thought of that frightened me. It was unusual, outside my comfort zone. For a few hours at least I was going to have to live outside my comfort zone, the life I knew before and move into a new zone I am not used to. I don’t always have a problem adjusting to change, especially when it’s positive change but this revelation was shocking at first! I was going out of my head, headed for an emotional meltdown.
Thoughts raced through my head. “What if I literally go insane?”. “What if I get bored out of my mind if it’s slow today even though I don’t usually get bored?”. “What if I have an amazing idea and cannot write it into my phone?”. “What if I cannot handle just not having the stuff that is constantly with me?”
Anyone would be disappointed, to say the least, about their stuff being missing and not having all of their info. Anymore. But these thoughts and reactions I was experiencing, to me, seem like signs of a somewhat unhealthy habit or emotional dependence, maybe a kind of insecurity. As soon as the thought of emotional dependence and insecurity crept into my head, I lied to myself right away. I told myself I was just afraid someone would break my dad’s window and steal my stuff. And I would be disappointed, that’s all.
I told myself I was disappointed, just a little bit unhappy about the whole thing, that’s all. I did not want to admit it but there was no getting around the truth. It was beyond disappointment. It was beyond mere unhappiness. It was a nightmare. I have been unconsciously viewing certain inanimate objects of mine, such as my phone, as an extension of myself. “Not just my phone, part of ME!!”. Partially because all my writings and helpful quotes are on there. I admitted it. Hard as it was. But they are not me. I am me. I am whole without my phone, even without my writings. To lose that is painful but I will survive.
This experience introduced me more intimately to a deeper part of myself. I realized I had unhealthy habits that were scary and I was able to admit that after a while and be strong and am able to overcome. To prevail.
I don’t have a severe, full-blown addiction like some people so for me it was easier to handle and overcome it. Not everyone can do this without some sort of help.
I realized I have to examine myself more to see what I am too attached to, what I am viewing as extensions of me that are in fact, not me but external objects of mine.
I realized so much of me revolves around objects that can easily be lost. I use my phone to write my ideas and share them with people. To store pass words and info that connects me with people. I use my books to read and to better myself. But I can and will be ok, even amazing without my stuff. That’s all it is. Stuff.
I can come up with more great ideas even though the ones I may lose are irreplaceable. My brain can generate more greatness. Phones and books can be replaced, they can help but they are not required. And I don’t need them to live. To breathe. To be.
There are moments I will want to and be so tempted to lie to myself about scary and unpleasant aspects of myself. But I must resist that urge and be truthful and admit so I can work on those potentially detrimental parts of me.
I must accept, change, and heal. This I can do. This I will do. I will continue to use my stuff and love it but I will control it and my thoughts. It will not control me. This experience taught me to look even deeper within me and observe, analyze, and admit parts of myself that I may deny or neglect. I am grateful for this awakening. It brought me closer to me. Quickly made me stronger when I came to realize I am all I need.
The only one, the only thing I can count on to make me whole and always be with me is myself and I am enough.
Also this experience pushed me outside of my routine ways. At work when I’m not busy, I usually read my own books and use my phone. But because that stuff wasn’t there then, I decided to explore the books and magazines my manager has there. I found really great stuff! In one magazine I found:
Love Letters Cares
An organization that gives people the opportunity to make positive, uplifting, and inspirational cards for kids with life-threatening illnesses. I’m so happy I found this and I will make cards. Every kid deserves an uplifting card to make him/her happy and show someone cares!
This taught me to go out of my way more to try new things. I love trying new things and learning new things but I don’t always go out of my way as much to actually look for opportunities to find something new. I often just take the chance when I see it but I will be searching more now to see what I can find! I love it when a seemingly negative experience turns out to be a beautiful thing!
Xox0 Kim ❤ 🙂 😀
P.S. I got all my stuff back at the end of my work shift! It was still a great day without it!