“Space, the Final Frontier”
On Friday I had a particularly long journey to make.
From where I live, between two buses plus the wait (they are ALWAYS late in Ireland), the journey one way was two and a half hours and the same back home in the evening.
Whenever I commute or travel, I listen to music, usually on Spotify, on my phone.
On Friday I wasn’t on my first bus when my phone pinged. Some sort of crisis had landed in my inbox.
There was nothing I could do because I was busy and so I decided to do the reasonable and mindful thing, the thing I would advise anyone else to do, I ignored it.
If it hadn’t resolved itself by that evening (which it did), it would still be there for me to deal with when I got home.
If that were the case I wouldn’t be telling you this now, would I?
There were phone calls, there was anxiety and there were almost tears; then it sorted itself out, but by then I was stressed.
All I wanted was to listen to my music!
I found myself later that day in a shop looking at second-hand phones, wondering if I could afford to buy a second phone, crazy right?
Such a dramatic solution to a simple problem; I needed some space.
Can you the lovely reader relate?
“If Only We Had a Time Machine”
It occurs to me that once upon a time there would have been a simpler solution.
While clearing out a box of stuff last week I came across my old iPod.
When I was at school, I had an iPod Nano in purple.
It was simple, it was beautiful and more than anything it did not ping!
I will say it again in bold it did not ping!
Image by Shannon Sweeney
Yes, there was once a time in the history of technology when you could switch off your phone and still be able to listen to music.
The humble iPod was perfect.
You could listen to music, you could take a photo and watch a video.
If it connected to the internet, I don’t remember, but it probably didn’t do it well enough, so you didn’t bother.
It did not listen to you like a creepy little spy in your pocket so it could advertise at you, crap you don’t want or need.
It was perfect peace in a purple case!
Can you tell, I loved my iPod?
On Friday I wished so much to have it again, working.
Of course, it doesn’t and Apple has changed the charger since and so it never will again.
It had downsides, lack of internet meant no streaming and you had to buy music, but nobody could contact you on it.
It was stress-free entertainment.
We NEED this in our lives right now.
Still not convinced it could work? I have more.
They were small, so while they are not on your phone, they were not an inconvenience to carry either.
Itunes still sells music and I’m pretty sure you can still get the software on a computer.
Do you actually have to have it all on your phone?
I would certainly like the choice.
I am not saying that an iPod is a cure for anxiety.
But for me personally, my phone causes me a lot of anxiety and the reason it does is that it is nearly always in my hand.
Am I wrong?
I truly believe the humble iPod to potentially be an amazing self-care tool.
It turns out you can still buy an iPod Touch, but unfortunately it connects to the internet and receives messages.
So many people rely on music to help them through stress and anxiety, but how do you balance that good with the anxiety provoked by the modern music player?
“If Wishes Were Pennies”
So now that I have had a good moan, and I have no doubt you are totally convinced, what’s my solution if there are no iPod nano anymore?
To go back in time, much further back before the internet.
Does anyone remember Walkmans and CDs?
I do and guess what, I found my old one.
And guess what?
It still works!
All Joking Aside.
The technology revolution didn’t happen suddenly and without warning. it was a slowish development and eventually, almost all aspects of our lives became housed in our phones.
This was supposed to be efficient and make our lives easier. It was supposed to give us control, but it’s taken it away.
A casualty of this revolution was space. You’ve heard it before called privacy. I believe that the invasion of our privacy is simply one way our space is invaded.
It is not always the case that our space is invaded by a company or an organization, but sometimes it’s by our personal relationships, work life or another aspect of life you really care about.
At college this year I had three group projects and all of those projects had a group chat. Sometimes I would go to sleep at night and there would be new messages in a group chat and there would be more when I woke up.
Sometimes the buzzing would wake me up if I forgot to put my phone on Do Not Disturb.
Constant access to you is not a good thing.
Some people advocate having little to do with technology, others advocate time unplugged.
I think the second is more practical in reality, but I think it doesn’t solve the problem of the anxiety caused by 24/7 lives For me, I get a break and then all my anxiety is just waiting for me to pick it back up.
So I have three final suggestions to make.
- This is not one you do just for yourself but practice for others and yourself. Think before you pick up the phone. Do I need to know the answer right now? Could I google it? I’m seeing that person later, do I need to text them now?
- If you are not the asker but the asked, think do I need to answer that right now? Will the world end if I ignore that call or text. Is what I am doing be it a work or college assignment or spending time with family or friends more important?
- And finally consider separating some aspects of your life like your music player, journal, or tv from your phone.
Number 3 is the point I’ve been trying to make in this post. I was only half joking when I said I suggested the Walkman.
I truly am considering using it. It’s not a complete unplug, it is just enough technology to make me happy and it would give me some space from my phone.
It is self-care.
Sure, my iPod would be easier and more efficient, but it was a needless sacrifice for the position phones now occupy.
I do hope I walk into a shop one day and there’s one advertised as an internet free- device, doesn’t it sound lovely?
Obsolete technology should still have a place, the current rate our personal technology is moving at is expansion not necessarily progression.
Do yourself a self-care favour and invest in some obsolete technology.
Until next time,
First title: quote from Star trek.