About a year and a half ago, I wrote about switching from my convenient, engaging iPhone to a simple Nokia. What's happened in the last year and a half?
Well, it was great for the first thirty days. It was not the first time that I had done a thirty day smartphone fast, so it was what I expected. Sometimes I got lost without the convenience of Waze, sometimes I had to wait to check on an important email, sometimes I just couldn't google some random thing. Al in all, I've always found these technology fasts manageable. Well, except for once.
Flashback Summer 2015: I'm driving to IKEA with four kids because what a great way to spend a day of Chofesh HaGadol, (aka Summer Vacation)! IKEA is about an hour away from my house, an easy drive. Or so I thought.
Without Waze directing my route, I took the wrong exit and ended up somewhere approximately where I was supposed to be, but not quite... No worries! I've developed a personal GPS system that works great in Israel. Roll down the driver's side window, get the attention of the car in the next lane by waving or "politely" honking, and yell "Slichah- eh-fo IKEA?" (Excuse me, where is IKEA?).
It's a really effective method and usually works seamlessly.
This day was different. I rolled down my window and asked the driver next to me for directions. Yet, a half an hour later,, I was still lost. Repeat GPS. Repeat a few more times. Oops. I'm lost and my kiddies are hungry and not enjoying our lovely tour of Rishon HaTzion. Okay, one more attempt at the personal GPS. Repeat roll down, honking, and broken Hebrew.
The driver I was honking at looked at me. And burst out laughing. And then he put his car in park so that he could laugh some more. Ok. That's not nice! Waaaait a minute-
It was the same driver that I had asked for directions the first moment that I realized that I was lost...over an hour before! I broke out laughing as well because, well, what else is there to do when you've been driving in circles for over an hour with a brood of bored kiddies in the back?
I honestly can say that I didn't regret not having my iPhone and Waze that day. We survived. I made some guy laugh so hard that he held up traffic.
Fortunately, as enjoyable as that whole debacle was, technology has made it possible that I can have my cake and eat it too. A few months ago, I switched to a phone that has WhatsApp and Waze, but without the distracting Internet or endless app possibilities. This is my attempt to support my mindfulness practice and make sure that when I am online, that it is from a conscious place. I'm not married to my phone, I'm not always plugged into a podcast, and I get my news from my one-time-a-week purchase of Hamodia. It really helps me stay focused. It helps me to be aware of what I choose to bring into my life. It works for me and perhaps, it could work for you.