Week four-I will switch off all digital notifications this week.
Since moving house to an even more rural location last year I have had no mobile signal when I am at home-nothing. Not until I drive half a mile either side of the village do I get a flurry of messages making me jump. At first I felt a bit panicky about being out of contact, but I adjusted. A couple of family members seemed quite cross with me for not having a phone signal. I was perplexed. They bandied round words like ‘ridiculous’ that they couldn’t get hold of me, we had just lost Dad so ‘getting hold’ of someone urgently had been an issue for us as a family, but as I pointed out I did have a house phone. I was generally in the habit of responding immediately to text messages but now it could take a couple of days especially at the weekend. Their response was hurtful like I was deliberately ignoring them but it has made me think a lot about our reliance on being able to contact anyone at any time since the emergence of mobile telephones. This isn’t a good thing, surely? This immediate response has become the norm. But what does this do to people fraying nerves? Just sometimes it is a requirement that we all go ‘off grid’ just for a while so we can we can quieten the mind and just breathe. My close friends have adjusted too – we use an app that works like a text message only over wi-fi. We no longer need or perhaps want long phone conversations to stay in touch but I would argue sometimes this hasn’t been a good development to those feeling isolated. Nothing really beats hearing the warmth in someone's voice and just shooting the breeze. Everyone I am in contact with now has a variety of ways of getting hold of me.
But I digress!
This experiment is a mixed bag for me. On one hand I am used to not hearing from anyone for a while however my work is based around email communication so it wasn’t an option to switch off these notifications unless I took a week off, but that said I have recognised moments in the past when being constantly interrupted with a deluge of emails when you are trying to work on a particular project can lead to temporary insanity. If I am working on a particular time dependant project I will close mail down so I can concentrate on the task in hand.
I rarely check my home emails (this has changed slightly since joining this adventure.) I dip in and out of social media and rely on a good friend to update me on anything of interest I might have missed!
All this said, I am not as relaxed about this as I make out. I don’t know if this is normal – I live with a constant feeling of low level anxiety that something bad will happen to my loved ones. I live in fear of my son not coming home after a night out – I would never stop him enjoying and living his life but he will never know how hard I act at trying to be cool about it and how relieved I am when he comes home. The same goes for Mam, she is so precious to me. To lose one parent is horrible, but I think to lose both would be unbearable, but most of us will face this at some point. So I cannot relax without knowing these two people can contact me at any time. So I can be stressed if I get too many notifications and stressed if I can’t get any. Bring on the next challenge please I don’t want to think about this one anymore.
Mam, me and Cai x