Monday, February 20, 2017

Stressed out by technology




The other day I went out for a spot of shopping. Since I’ve become a SAHM/WFHM going out is a bit of a treat. I look forward to it. So the plan was I’d finish the chores then sit at a cafe and watch the world over a cup pf coffee. The kids don't get back home till 3 pm so I have plenty of time.

I left the house at about 11am. Half an hour later I realised I'd left my phone at home. And that was it. Just like that my trip was ruined. I rushed through the chores, getting impatient at slacking salesmen, worry clouding my mind.

What if something happens at the children’s school and they need to contact me?
What if the Husband calls?
What if my parents need me?
What if? What if? What if?

One part of my brain kept telling me I was being ridiculous, that nothing could go wrong in the space of two hours. And yet I couldn’t shake off the worry. The coffee, of course, was abandoned. I came home with a throbbing head only to find the phone lying innocently on my dresser with just the usual, inane, WhatsApp messages crowding it.

It might have something to do with the fact that the Husband is out of town. Being the sole person responsible for the kids makes me continuously anxious, perhaps. 

Or is it just that I am over-dependent on the phone? That I have fallen in the habit of checking it ever so often? That I need the content reassurance that all is well? I do know the kids are safe at school. How else would I let them spend the better part of their day there? That's what the rational part of me tells me. And yet the worry doesn't leave.

Our parents were happier ..
My sister and I went to a school some 10kms away, which by our small-town standards, was really really far. The bus stop was over a km away and we walked, on our own. We didn’t have a phone at home, not even a landline. My dad could be contacted in office of course, but that was it. And we survived.

The thought then was, ‘The girls are at school, what can happen?’ 
All I think now is. ‘So what if they are at school, anything can happen.’

That, when schools today are better equipped to handle emergencies, with full-fledged sick-bays and well trained staff.

Technology, I am sure was made to reassure us, instead it has made us so much more anxious. Maybe we simply need to put our phones away and learn to get used to it, to give up the urge to check them constantly, almost like we were expecting bad news.

Do you do this too? Do you check your phone often? Do you also feel insecure if you're separated from it?

Linking up with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.


                                                

24 comments:

  1. Oh I agree completely, Tulika. I'm so disenchanted with technology these days, especially the phone. It makes us anxious as you rightly pointed. And more than that being on social media through it constantly is another headache. It's just too much. I miss the simpler times really.

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    1. Sometimes its's just nicer to not have technology around us. Yeah those were simpler times.

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  2. It's encouraging to see more people see smartphones as an obstacle instead of a way of life. Now all we have to do is to find alternate (and more meaningful) tasks to fill our time with, and we will be able to take control of our lives again soon.

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    1. I read your piece on this Vishal and loved it. It's not that we aren't busy enough, it's just some unnamed fear that makes me reach out to check and re-check my phone.

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  3. Thankfully, I am not. My phone even when close to me is often lying here and there. I always keep the wifi switched off and hence am not in the habit of checking every WhatsApp message or update. It's a standing joke in the family that I am the last one to see a message. :) I do keep checking my mails on laptop as I work but otherwise I am not much dependent on the phone. There have been times when I have left the phone behind at home and gone out. Definitely, it is a great way in which we can stay in touch and I understand your anxiety about kids. But yes, these phones are such a nuisance. Everywhere I go, I see people hunched over theirs and it's somehow quite annoying.

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    1. Oh yes watching people messaging away or reading those messages on whatsapp is so annoying, specially when we're out in a group. Totally defeats the purpose of the outing.

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  4. Yes I too wonder sometimes how did we not feel any stress or tension of not knowing where our loved ones were before the cell phone era! I remember the days when people used to take 2-3-day-long journeys by train and there won't be any news about them till they reached their destination (and even then sometimes we had to wait for a postcard/letter, since out-of-town phone calls were expensive!). And still life went on smoothly, people traveled, things got done etc. These days too much interconnectedness via cell phones etc has certainly added to our anxiety levels. This need to frequently check in with our loved ones when they are out traveling or somewhere far is a constant stressbuilder, I suppose.

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    1. You're right. When I first left home for work I had no cell phone. I wonder how my parents were brave enough to let me go. Not that I'm not grateful but I wonder if I could ever do that. I'd worry myself sick.

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  5. I'd panic, for sure. Only because I wouldn't be able to get in touch with my husband. Otherwise I'm pretty happy being away from the phone. Mails and updates can wait :)

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    1. That was my worry exactly. Not being able to get in touch with the kids. When I'm with them I don't much care where my phone is.

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  6. I would be lost too Tulika!!!...I am hugely addicted to my phone and don't like it if don't have my phone around...Now with this post I am tempted to switch off my phone for a while and see what happens....

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    1. Oh yes you must try it. In fact I find if I simply switch off the data life becomes more peaceful - phone calls and smses aren't much of a bother.

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  7. That's the thing with technology! They make us feel handicapped and snatch away our peace. There have been instances where I've left the phone at home and was successful in not fretting over the number of calls I may have missed. Also, hardly anyone was going to call me :P

    Cheers
    Geets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not that anyone calls me either - and it's been only once or maybe twice that I've got a call from the kids' school but the worry stays.

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  8. I think you were being a Mum. Mums do get worried but think if children were at home with your husband, and you had left your phone behind - would you have been so worried? Technology has disturbed the usual peace of mind but at the same time, times have changed. There are crimes now we hadn't heard of when we were growing up. Isn't it?
    So, okay to be worried as a mum but don't be too worried that it ruins your me-time. :)

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    1. You do have a point there. I really wouldn't have been worried if I was sure the kids are safe. But I should feel they're at school, isn't it? You're right about the crime rates too. We're so much more insecure now.

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  9. I totally agree. Sometimes I stress out because I have the baby and an elderly parent.

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    1. Yeah I can imagine how that would be.

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  10. This technology is indirectly eating away our peace.

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  11. Yes to all of this. I once left the phone at home, and I felt like I was tempting fate to have something happen while I was unreachable. Yet my parents were sometimes unreachable and probably never gave it a second thought since there wasn't another option if you walked out of the house.

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    1. It's not having an option that made them okay with it, I guess.

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  12. I am glad I can live without my phone. I forget my phone and its a happy day! I dont miss it at all. Sometimes, I deliberately leave it home, to be disconnected.

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    1. Kudos Sampada, you're a rare one. It's a good idea to deliberately disconnect for sometimes.

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