Sea Changes, Part One

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.
 

-Shakespeare, The Tempest

 

Leave it to Shakespeare to come up with a perfect idiom for internal alteration. 

I am undergoing a metamorphosis of my own these days. My change is not wrought by the sea, per se, but it is of my own microcosm. 

It’s no secret I am a fan of minimalism. This bleeds into my life in interesting, and mostly productive, ways. Inbox Zero, for example. When there are more than 20 emails in my inbox, I start getting a strange, itchy feeling between my shoulder blades, which won’t go away until I’ve cleared out my inbox. Amy always teases me that my procrastination results in productive things, like blogs (ahem) and business attended to.

So what is this sea change of which I speak?

I’ve stopped taking my iPad to bed.

My normal evening/morning involves reading before I go to sleep, then waking up, immediately grabbing my iPad, and reading the news. Inevitably, this means I’m doing email at 11 p.m., and at 8 a.m. And playing on Facebook and Twitter. I have a designed format I follow, site to site to site, news to social media to email (which, if I’m feeling rebellious, I flip, and go from email to Twitter to the news…) but it means I am always plugged in. Always.

I read this piece last week, and it really affected my thinking about how I’m using my devices — or, how they’re using me. Lent is coming soon, and with it, my annual social media sabbatical. The six weeks I spend off the socials is always a psychological boon to me, simply because I allow myself to focus my energies elsewhere without guilt. 

I’ve always been rather proud of the fact that my phone stays plugged in on the kitchen counter by the door when I come home. I don’t carry it around the house with me. If someone calls, they’ll leave a message. If a text comes in, I’ll deal with it when I get to it. 

And then I realized I’m a complete and total hypocrite, because my iPad is simply taking the phone’s place. I have an unhealthy habit of having my iPad attached to me at all times. I’ve started leaving it in the kitchen during my work day so I’m not tempted to look for things, check email, and the like. That’s helped. My January felt more peaceful and settled, absolutely.

But I realized the moment the workday ends, I’m just trading one screen for another. When my laptop goes off, my iPad comes out. And stays in my hand the whole evening, until I literally fall asleep with it in my hands.

So over the weekend, I left it downstairs. I read on my Kindle. That worked just fine. What I love about the Kindle is the ability to fix fonts to my liking, turn down the backlight, and read in the dark, so I don’t disturb hubby with the bedside lamp. 

I wasn’t able to access the news, my email, Facebook, etc. And when I woke up… I got up. The cats weren’t happy, but my day suddenly felt longer. I combined the news reading with breakfast. And I was writing by 10, instead of noon.

I’m several days in to this new habit, and it feels more and more comfortable every day. We’ll see if the cats agree, they aren’t happy they don’t have the warm cuddles in the morning. 

I realized immediately this should equal more words per day, one of my biggest goals for 2017. And that’s good news for EVERYONE!