Posts Tagged ‘life’

The week without a smartphone, part 2.

Read part 1 here.

My phone was still utterly and completely dead after we took it out of the rice and charged it on that Sunday. No amount of coaxing would bring it back to life.

We decided to order me a refurbished phone. But in the meantime, I was still phoneless.

While I had access to internet at our new place, where we moved into that Saturday, I did not have access to a phone in the following situations:

•  Waiting for the cleaning people to arrive at our apartment for a move-out cleaning. If there were any scheduling issues or changes, I wouldn’t know about them unless my husband drove back to tell me about them. In the end, it all went smoothly.

•  Using maps for directions as I drove to a new medical specialist’s office. I looked up directions beforehand and wrote a note to myself about which street to turn onto. Luckily, it turned out to be fairly easy to find.

•  Receiving e-mail notifications from my clients about possible new transcripts to proofread while I was away from home. I have notifications set on my phone so I can respond to them soon after I receive their message, no matter where I am at the time. Sometimes not responding immediately (especially if it’s a new client) can mean losing out on a job. While this could have been an issue at another time, it wasn’t this particular week.

•  Driving anywhere in my car. Now, I didn’t actually need my phone for this purpose, but I realized that I feel more secure having my phone with me in case my car suddenly broke down, etc.

•  Double-checking digital coupons in the grocery store. I often use the store’s app to reference these when we shop. Instead, I had to go off our list and what I remembered.

Despite some minor inconveniences, I also felt relieved and more free without my phone. When we went out to eat, I didn’t have a phone to distract me while we waited for our order. During meals in and outside our home, my husband and I make more eye contact and connected more with each other. When I didn’t have a phone that I could get out, he used his less.

For the past while, I’ve been receiving what I assume are spam phone calls. They rarely leave messages. When they do, it’s usually pitching a business loan or something along those lines. I didn’t miss the buzzing of my phone, only to discover it wasn’t a phone call I wanted to take anyway.

Without a smartphone, I didn’t have much inclination to check my e-mail or look at my Facebook feed or browse Yelp. When waiting for my husband to return the moving truck on Saturday, I sat in my car and just listened to a CD. With more of my attention focused on the music, the lyrics seemed crisper and clearer than ever before.

That is one thing to say about smartphones: they’re not terribly helpful for mindfulness. Aside from mindfulness or meditation apps, many of the functions often pull me out of the present moment.

My new phone arrived on Thursday, and we got service on it on Friday. It’s nice to know that I can now reach people and people can reach me if needed.

There was also a certain freedom to having space where I was away from internet and a phone, unreachable. I felt more present with myself than I usually am.

So now that we’re settling in our new place and I have a new phone, I am trying a new thing: to charge and keep my phone in a different room at night.

I also want to be more conscious of how I use my phone in general. It’s just not necessary to be connected all the time.

Not having a smartphone for a week was a good reminder for me to look up, to look around, to keep my phone out of view (or even out of reach) when I want to be present and connect more with myself and the people around me. Yes, it’s convenient to have a smartphone. But there’s so much more to life than having access to phone calls, messages, and the internet at all times.

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The week without a smartphone, part 1.

I wrote this last Friday, June 22, 2018.

I’m at the apartment. We officially move tomorrow, so I am taking care of the odds and ends.

We turned in our modem for our apartment and exchanged it for one for the condo, our new home. My computer has no wireless connection here.

My phone is out of service, at least for the time being, because my water bottle leaked in my purse this morning. It is currently sitting in a bag of rice for the next two days or so.

I am disconnected from the internet entirely. I am out of contact, out of reach.

On one hand, it’s nice. There’s a certain quiet I feel when I don’t have internet access. It’s like I’ve shut off all outside voices, ones that are often incessantly on even when I’m physically alone – unless I choose to unplug.

This feeling of quiet definitely helps me regulate after being overstimulated by the morning’s events of taking stuff over to the condo, discovering my phone wouldn’t work, and the stress of moving in general. It’s a lot to take in. I really don’t need to add any more outside stimulation.

I don’t currently have any transcripts to proofread. I have an out-of-office reply on my business e-mail for the next two days.

Other than missing the ability to communicate with my spouse, I really don’t need to be connected. I can pack, clean, do laundry, read, do Nia – all without an internet connection.

Yes, there were days before smartphones, and the time before that I would text. But really, the last time I didn’t have access to instant phone communication of some sort (aside from a few camping trip) was before I graduated from college, before I got my first cell phone in 2005. Compared with many of my college classmates, I was a late cell phone adopter. I remember my ex complaining that she couldn’t reach me easily, that it was annoying and inconvenient to have to leave a message on my landline voicemail and wait until I returned to my dorm room to get the message. I remember the freedom of traveling abroad and being connected only when I went to an internet café or library.

On the other hand, I found myself almost immediately wanting to reach for my phone, to check something, to check anything. Messages? Social media? E-mail? Yelp? Sometimes it actually doesn’t seem to matter what as long as it’s there. Maybe that’s the addictive nature of social media and technology: once you have access, it’s hard to consciously choose to stop. Yes, there are definitely things that I need to check on and keep up with. But how many e-mails do I actually get that are relevant each day? A few. How many times do I need to check social media? Maybe once or twice, maybe more if I’m looking for an answer to a question in one of my proofreading groups. How many times do I need to check the news to stay informed? Maybe twice a day or so, although there’s part of me that balks at that. I don’t need to be informed all the time, but I like to know what’s going on.

I do feel cut off. And it’s nice and freeing and it’s a bit disorienting.

The daily news cycle lately has been even more distressing. While I think it’s important for me to know what’s going on locally, nationally, globally, I don’t think keeping up on every detail constantly is necessarily healthy. I end up feeling distressed, frustrated, somewhat hopeless. More information on how to donate or help in some way adds some purpose and relief. But it’s important to be mindful of how much information to take in, what to do with it, and when to take a break.

I am relieved that I can shut it off for a little bit. Yes, I could go to the condo or Starbucks if I needed to get access to the internet. But I have things to do here.  And I definitely need the time to just be here and do what I need to do. There are certainly fewer distractions this way.

And this is a good reminder that I can consciously choose to step away, to disconnect, and unplug. The internet, with all its benefits and disadvantages, will be there when I need it. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet.

Disappointment, acceptance, begin again.

Last Tuesday morning, I was ready:  ready to write a blog entry about May Day, ready to begin teaching a new Nia class the next day.

And then the sharp, shooting pain started, enough that at one point I curled up in a fetal position on the floor. After hours in urgent care, the verdict was kidney stones, which I’d never had before in my life. If I have any say in the matter, I’d greatly prefer not to experience that kind of pain ever again.

That blog post still sits in my drafts folder, but is now outdated, irrelevant.

I had to call that next morning to say I couldn’t teach that Nia class that day, and hoped to start the next week (today). But largely due to past disappointments about someone else not making it to teach numerous times, people ended up losing interest. They weren’t willing to go again. The studio owner called me today to cancel the classes. Completely out of my control, all of it.

Having the kidney stones knocked me down for several days; the pain gradually receded to a dull soreness and exhaustion. Each day, I’ve gotten a little more energy. Now, I don’t feel quite 100% yet, but I’m getting closer.

Part of me thinks: this is a lesson in acceptance. Sometimes things happen and other things happen as a result. I did not hold control or blame in having kidney stones or losing the class. I also cannot pretend that it would have been helpful in any way to try to teach a first Nia class somewhere while that depleted and in pain.

I used to hate when my ex would say, “It is what it is,” but that’s true sometimes (Granted, I used to think that she said it in a way that really meant, “Life sucks, so just suck it up and deal with it.” I don’t mean it like that). Sometimes things happen, and they can be unfortunate and disappointing and invoke all kinds of emotional responses.

Earlier, I had a moment where I wanted to say to the people who wouldn’t try going to another Nia class to give me a chance. But I don’t know them. They don’t know me. My health issues aren’t personal to them. They don’t know that I would only miss teaching a class if I absolutely had to; they do know of the others who weren’t there to teach and disappointed them.

I can reason and rationalize and say that it was a huge unknown anyway, that it was a risk, that I didn’t know how it would go. And that’s true. But meant to be or not meant to be, that class isn’t happening anymore due to circumstances beyond my control. And maybe there is a better opportunity. Perhaps there will be another opportunity. For the moment, maybe not. In the meantime, I’m still teaching my one class per week, learning more routines, and continuing to practice Nia in my living room.

And I can allow myself to be disappointed, to let unfulfilled anticipation slowly ebb away in its own natural time. It’s a new beginning, a new activity that did not come to fruition. I need to step back for a moment before planting new seeds.

Whatever else is true, I have to have a kernel of faith here that my next ongoing class, wherever I teach it, will work out. Faith and hope are crucial for trying again. So maybe at some point,  I’ll reach out to another place, and see how it goes from there. Even in the midst of disappointment, other potential new beginnings are out there.

My spouse and produce shopping.

A moment at Smith’s this weekend:

I’m coming back to the produce section after grabbing a few items from the aisles. I find my husband explaining to to several people why and how he’s been tapping on apples to determine their crispness:

“If it sounds like a ‘thump’ when you tap it with your finger, it’ll be less crisp. If it sounds like a ‘ping,’ or a brighter sound, then it’ll be a crisp. Of course, this doesn’t apply golden delicious apples because they’re not crisp by nature.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve come back to find him in mid-explanation after people expressed curiosity about what exactly he was doing by holding and tapping individual apples. I’m sure it won’t be the last, either.

After the moment is over and the people have gone back to their shopping, I smile at him and give him a hug. “I love you,” I say. After all, how many people can say that their spouse gives produce-picking advice at grocery stores?

2017.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s time for my year-end retrospective.

In 2017…

My love and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and our tenth dating anniversary. We continue to grow and deepen our relationship. I love how can be silly and laugh together while also opening to new depths of connection.

I started teaching Nia classes in Las Vegas. After occasionally subbing and attempting to introduce Nia at a new space, I took over another Nia teacher’s classes in October. I now have a small group of regulars. While I miss my Albuquerque Nia community, I’m grateful to be teaching here…and to have space in my living room to dance!

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. It’s comforting and gratifying to occasionally return to one of my Nia homes and connect with people who speak the language of Nia. I’m also really grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques — and new ways to look at what I already know. transcript proofreading

I completed an online transcript proofreading course. This course included lessons as well as 50 practice transcripts; it was a lot of work but worth the investment of time, energy, and money. I started my own proofreading business and am now contributing a small (but helpfully significant) amount to our household income. It’s been gratifying to make money again.

My husband and I started taking Tai Chi and Aikido classes with a local teacher who teaches informally, on a loose schedule without belts. It has really helped my spouse be more in his body. Sampling these martial arts forms has also improved my Nia practice: I’m much more aware of weight shifts, where I put my feet, and how to be in the flow of my own energy.

I experienced what it is like to live in a city that has had a mass shooting tragedy. It was scary and horrifying to wake up on October 2nd and realize what had happened. While I did not personally know or lose anyone who was at the Route 91 concert, I felt and witnessed the ripples of the tragedy. I also witnessed how the community came together in the aftermath, and continues to do so.

10.1.17

At the memorial garden downtown, October 2017

Trips: Visited Albuquerque in May, June, and November. Visiting my hometown and home state often helps ground me.

Albuquerque scene

Traveled with family up to the Durango, Colorado, area as part of the June trip.

 

Went to Sedona, Arizona, for our third annual holiday trip this December. It’s been so nice to have a relatively close place to travel for the holidays, especially one that is so beautiful and dynamic.

Locally:

Visited the Strip for the first time in January when my friends were in town. We went to the Bellagio.

Went on a day trip in February, visiting a goddess temple and labyrinth on the way.

Temple Labyrinth

Went to Mt. Charleston to see the changing leaves in September. We went to Valley of Fire State Park (about an hour outside of Vegas) when Luke’s friends from San Diego visited in December.

 

This place definitely feels more like home than it did a year ago. I have settled more into my life this year. I’ve met new people and started a new business. I continue to work towards creating a life that works for me, keeping my sensory and emotional needs in mind. Aside from stress about politics, finances, and the everyday kinds of challenges, I am generally content.

 

Update in pictures

Aside from the link roundups, I haven’t posted much lately. I thought I’d use a few photos to give a glimpse into my life currently. Maybe I’ll do this on a regular basis.

proofreading books

My proofreading reference books. I spent about half this year gradually going through an online course on how to proofread transcripts for court reporters. I finished the course in July and started marketing in the later part of last month. So far, I’ve had a few jobs and two clients. I’m definitely feeling the freelancing life out. In the long run, I hope it picks up; in the meantime, I’m glad that I’ve started.

morning light

I love the soft light in the mornings. Also, the temperatures in the mornings — and in general — are getting cooler. We also turned our air conditioning off (at least for the time being)! Yay!

tree of life earrings

I was at a networking and vendor event on Tuesday, and a customer asked if I could turn these pendants into earrings. This is the result, and I really like how they turned out.

The power of sharing my own experience.

A conversation with friend from earlier this week:

“You probably haven’t had to deal with stuff like this,” she said, after describing how she’d been feeling lately.

“Depression?”

She nodded. “Well, actually, I have,” I said, and elaborated about my own experience.

Afterward, she thanked me for sharing. She knew then that I could relate to how she was feeling.

This moment allowed me to see how incredibly validating it was for me to share my personal experience — for both my friend and for me.

When I was in the midst of my most severe depressive episode, I know that I often felt very alone and isolated in my experience. I think that affirming for someone that she is not alone may have been a powerful gift. Yes, it required vulnerability. It required me to tread into topics I don’t usually touch on in everyday conversations. It gave me the opportunity to rely on my inner strength and know that I could be — and was — okay to give support in that moment.

I felt cautious with this interaction, both during and afterwards. I know I am not necessarily fragile now, but I see the darkness within myself, the potential for becoming depressed again. These kinds of interactions have the potential to be draining and triggering. But I also realize that in many ways, this gives me an opportunity to establish boundaries when needed while also providing the kind of support that only one who has been through something similar can provide. I won’t offer solutions, but I can offer my own story and share what helped me.

It helped me to share, too. Sometimes I feel like I only give people parts of my story. True, not everyone has earned my trust to hear more. But it was important for me to have a moment where I let my guard down, especially when it seemed appropriate and needed. So perhaps I received a gift in that moment as well.