How we can use our phones as a tool to brings us more experiences, instead of take them from us

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The horrifying sound of the alarm clock roughly woke him up. He turned around and sat up. Pressed the snooze button and lay back down. He looked at her. She was still vastly asleep. Her nose gently moving up and down as she breathed. Her head barely poking out of the blankets. He smiled. So purely that he felt the joy rushing through his body. Warming his stomach and heart. He lay down his head on his pillow again and gently lifted her blanket. Getting his body closer to hers until he was touching hers. He wrapped his arms around her and placed his lips gently on hers. “Goodmorning sunshine” he softly said. Slowly she opened her eyes, delighted by his wide smile. She couldn’t help but smile. As if she had no control. She too now felt a rush of joy through her body. She loosened her grip on the blanket and wrapped it around the two of them. Their bodies warm and barely woken up now close together. Touching each other. The alarm clock rang again. “A few more minutes please,” she said smiling with joy. He nodded and snoozed the alarm clock again. Quickly going back under the blanket again. These are the mornings he appreciated most.

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Four legs and a lot of joy

The grass was still wet. Droplets of water splashing everywhere as he ran through it. His head bouncing up and down with his long floppy cheeks dangling and shaking all over the place. It was hard to see but his tail wiggled as he ran across the field. He suddenly turned around and looked at them. His tongue hanging out of his face and a sparkle in his eyes. A sparkle. They never thought these were real. It felt like something a poet would say, but it’s real. They knew it because he showed them. His furry black body stood there, waiting for them to come closer. He was full of excitement. It was contagious because now the boy started running towards him. As he did that the dog started to rush towards him. Then suddenly changing directions and running along with side him. The two of them ran all across the field until the boy was exhausted and he stopped running. They all laughed together and continued their walk.

A table for seven

“The foods ready!” She said with a happy and loud voice. The room had already been filled with the most amazing scents. Ranging from sweet to salty and spicy. A colorful feast waited for them on the table. Seven plates were laid down on the brown table cloth. They all placed down their glasses and took a seat. It smelled wonderful. The steam was dancing up into the air as the lids were raised. They all let out an “ahhh” of excitement and surprise. As soon as they all sat down the feast began. Everyone filling their plates with everything they liked. There was music gently playing in the back. Barely audible in the noise of the laughter, but that was a good sign. The diner was followed by a dessert just as delicious as all the previous food. And the evening was finished with a cup of coffee, all relaxing. Not saying much and just listened to the music coming from the speakers. Most of them had their eyes closed out of enjoyment. They felt peaceful and joyful at the same time.

The click of a button

He turned on his screen. A beep sounded from his controller and a blue light started to radiate. He placed his headphones over his head and waited for a few minutes. Another beep sounded, indicating his Playstation had just finished booting up. A notification appeared on his screen letting him know his friends were already online. He clicked a few buttons and the sound of their voices entered his ears. “HEEEEEE” they all shouted out of pure excitement and silliness. “How are you?” They all asked at once making it very awkward, so none of them really answered the question and just started laughing. He smiled, alone in his room. Yet his body was filled with joyful from hearing their voices.

Hearing, smelling, feeling, being

Your significant other, your dog, your family, and your friends. Have you appreciated them as much as you could? Have you heard their voices, their laughs? Have you felt their hugs and bodies? In short have you ‘been’. Have you experienced the moment with them?

I would want to say I have. But I haven’t. I ain’t a saint or yogi. I am a human being. That has thoughts and is drawn to his device often. It’s so tempting to use your phone. There is always something new to see there. But is it worth it? Is it worth to look at your phone at these moments? I thought it was. With the excuse that I was working for TIL. Doing research, reading, and commenting to people. But I wasn’t. To be honest all I did was scroll through my feed and with every image I saw I was pulled further away from the truth, from the now, from the experience right in front of me.

Over the past week, I’ve been aware of this. I’ve noticed how it was consuming my relationship with my girlfriend. How it was taking away from my time with friends and family. Yes, these stories I wrote at the beginning are about my life. Experiences that I have had without my phone. Putting it face down. Or simply not close to me. Just that simple act made me so much more attentive. Present in the moment. I found myself laughing so much more. Smiling and enjoying so much more. So am I saying this phone is bad? After all, I am participating in it by uploading blog posts, sending emails, and doing social media. No, I am not saying phones are bad.

The phone really helps us connect with those not close to us. They can help us and support us.

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” ~ Steve Jobs

This is a quote by Steve Jobs. One that I magically came across in a book the other day. As if it was meant to happen. Technology on itself is nothing. It’s empty. But we think it is real because it draws us in. Seduces us with likes and notifications. That doesn’t make it bad. That makes us weak for not using it correctly. We should have faith in people as Jobs says. Giving them tools that help them do wonderful things. Not make things that seduce them and keep them from their life and work. This changed my perspective. All of a sudden the idea that I was using my phone all the time for ‘work’ was obliterated. It wasn’t a tool anymore. It was taking control over me, using me as a tool. It took away my thoughts and my experiences. It took away most of the experiences with people. If I want to sit in a room all alone and scroll social media that would be my own choice. But doing it whilst others are there also ruins the experience for them.

We are social animals and that is why phones work so well. But don’t we forget to experience the social moments right in front of us? I have been lessening my time with my phone over the last two weeks. My productivity has increased, my experience of life has changed and I have become more and more aware. I use my phone as a tool. A tool that brings me more experiences instead of taking from me.

Don’t let your phone take experiences, let it give you more

I must say making a more active choice on what to do with my phone has given me more than it has taken from me. Yesterday night I played some video games with friends and instead of grabbing my phone all the time in between rounds I just sat there. Listening to them. I am so ashamed of all the times I played video games with them and I was taking every chance I had to watch my phone. It felt like an obsession, a real addiction. I am so thankful that I now see how I can use it for the good.

I still don’t see phones as something bad, as with every new technology we should think about how we can use it. How we can make it work for us instead of the other way around. Let your phone give you more experiences than that it takes from you. Leave it in your pocket or on the other side of the room. Make an active decision in your mind before you grab it because once you hold it, it will trigger the addicted behavior in your mind.

Look up and appreciate those around you. All your friends, family, loved ones, dogs, cats, everyone. Sometimes we forget to love those around us. But it is loving them and the moments with them that makes life so much more rich and beautiful. So don’t let something so hollow take the color out of your experience. Use it as a tool. After all, all these moments I described at the beginning of this story are worth your attention. These are what makes us come alive. These are what we appreciate. Appreciate the time with those close to you, appreciate their love, and love them back.

Today I Lived

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